© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.The 30 October 2020 Samos earthquake (Mw 7.0) ruptured an east–west striking, north dipping normal fault located offshore the northern coast of Samos Island, previously inferred from the bathymetry and regional tectonics. This fault, reported in the fault-databases as the North Samos and/or Kaystrios Fault, ruptured with almost pure dip-slip motion, in a region where both active extension and strike-slip deformation coexist. Historical information for the area confirms that similar ~ Mw7 events had also occurred in the broader Samos area, though none of the recent (last ~ 300 years) mainshocks appears to have ruptured the same fault. The spatial and temporal distribution of relocated aftershocks indicates triggering of nearby strike-slip and normal fault segments, situated in the areas where static stress has increased due to the mainshock generation. The relocated aftershocks and the slip model indicate that the sequence ruptured the upper crust (mainly the depth range 3–15 km). The top of the rupture plane nearly reached the sea bottom, located at a depth of < 1 km. Slip is confined in mainly two asperities, both located up-dip from the hypocenter and at shallow depths. The average displacement is ~ 1 m and the peak slip is ~ 3.5 m for a shear modulus of 3.2e10 N/m2. While it is difficult to constrain the rupture velocity in the inversions, the model suggests a slow rupture speed of the order of 2.2 km/s. The resolved source duration is ~ 16 s, compatible with the ~ 32 km length of the fault that ruptured.