The perception and processing of chemical signals from the environment is essential for any living systems and is most probably the first sense developed in life. This perspective discusses the physical limits of chemoreception and gives an overview on the receptor types developed during evolution to detect chemical signals from the outside world of an organism. It discusses the interaction of chemoreceptors with downstream signaling elements, especially the interaction between electrical and chemical signaling. It is further considered how the primary chemosignal is appropriately amplified. Three examples of chemosensory systems illustrate different strategies of such amplification.