Lesvos travel guide. Attractions of the region.

Lesvos (Mytilini)

The Aegean island of Lesvos)

The island of Lesvos is a legendary land, washed by the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, neighboring the group of North Aegean Islands. Lesvos is one of the great islands of the sunny Greece. The Greeks dubbed the land of Lesvos the “Island of Sappho”, which holds many secrets, mysteries, legends and myths that intrigue us to this day.

It is on the lands of Lesvos where the legendary poetess was born, glorifying it in her works and revealing its greatness in all its beauty. As legend has it, Sappho led a community of girls in the heart of Lesvos, Mytilini, in 600 BC. The community is also of interest to contemporaries, because in that ancient period, thanks to Sappho, girls comprehended all their femininity, learned to accept their own nature, grew versatile and discovered their potential in literature, religion, art. Such freedom contrasted sharply with the conservatism of other islanders, so Sappho has forever gone down in history as a true revolutionary and freethinker, who put the freedom and independence of women first.

The romanticization and intrigue of the historical past breaks down into facts that reveal all the centuries-old heroism of the lands of Lesvos. The history of the island of Lesbos has been unfolding since the distant 3rd millennium B.C. The prosperous land was gaining power, independence and grandiose proportions over the centuries. Such wealth entailed a succession of epic wars in the Middle Ages, where Greek Lesvos passed into the hands of the Genoese Gattilusio dynasty. But the tragic events did not end there, for as early as 1462 there were bloody battles between the inhabitants and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. And only after the First World War the restless earths of “Safo island” again returned to the possession of Greece, having returned all their antique past.

Now it is a peaceful and fertile land, opening its doors to all travelers. Nothing reminds you of the tragic past, neither the colorful streets of Mytilini, the main port of Lesvos island in Greece, the flourishing cultural grandeur of the island, nor the blessedness of the resorts, willing to welcome all guests in their lands.

The Climate of Lesvos: the Hospitality of the Mediterranean Sun

The Greek island of Lesvos welcomes travelers with the gentleness of the Mediterranean climate. Upon stepping into this hospitable land, one will experience the contrast of the sultry air and the wholesome coolness of the wide seas. Summer is full of sunny days, among which rainy days are rare. Winter on the island also spares the locals with snowlessness and warmth. Healing effect of “Sappho Island” was noticed since the times of antiquity, as nature generously endowed this region not only with the mildness of the Mediterranean climate. Each traveler can breathe in the life-giving scent of pine in the air and the favorable climate will accompany the enjoyment of staying in the lands of Lesvos.

Leisure and excursions on the “island of Sappho

The island of Lesvos is shrouded on all sides in myths and mysteries, legends and centuries-old tales. This is what intrigues and captivates all travelers, encouraging them to discover all the historical heritage of the island. The colorfulness of Lesvos immediately throws travelers into the whirlpool of ancient art, authentic architecture and a cacophony of modernity and history. And all who wish to find themselves in the maze of these mysteries find plenty of opportunities to comprehend all the rich heritage with which the island is gifted.

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Mytilini, the main town of Lesvos, invites travelers to relax in its quiet streets with unique 19th century architecture. Byzantine churches, spacious parks, cozy cafes, all this creates a unique atmosphere, which the vacationers revel in. You can get behind the curtain of mystery and comprehend the greatness of the island on excursions.

Excursions are a fascinating part of a vacation on the island of Lesvos, which has a lot of secrets and centuries-old cultural heritage in its arsenal. The starting point of the excursions can be the heart of the “island of Sappho” – Mytilini. The picturesque valley between two hills, where the capital is settled, in itself can be considered a miracle, but travelers are taken further and introduced to the main asset of Mitilini – the Genoese Castle. The Genoese Castle proudly bears the title of the jewel in the crown of all Lesvos sights, occupying the place of honor of the largest fortresses among all the castles of the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Here vacationers will discover the uniqueness of artifacts from the ancient, medieval and alien Ottoman periods.

Excursions to the land of intriguing myths, contradictory legends and ancient myths are not possible without a visit to a legendary place – the stone forest of “Sappho Island”. This natural monument serves as a silent witness to the passing of centuries. Giant pines and cypresses encased in stone almost two million years ago. All travelers vacationing in the forest will feel awe and belonging to the majestic power of nature.

It is the confrontation of the power of nature with the interference of civilization that beckons to Lesvos, and in order to comprehend the contrast of this confrontation, all travelers are offered an excursion to Bird Island. Hiking through valleys of olive groves will unravel the mystery of the name of this unique island: reaching their destination, travelers will encounter more than 279 species of birds.

After betraying peace in the vast lands of Lesvos, all guests of the island return to mundane life, where they are immediately swept up in the maelstrom of hectic life. It certainly takes months to fully uncover the secrets of Lesvos, but you can get in touch with its rich heritage and feel a part of it through excursions.

A general sightseeing tour of the lands of Lesvos ranges from $50 to $300. To meet the great creations of centuries-old cultural history and heritage, you can arrange excursions to the Archaeological Museum, the ancient Genoese Castle, the heart of religious life – the church of Agios Ferapon or the famous Ancient Greek Port.

The main attractions of Lesvos. What is worth seeing?

The island of Lesvos is a land rich in landmarks, monuments and historical heritage, which has its roots in heroic antiquity and ends in modern times. So travelers are drawn to discover a succession of epic, illustrious sites that serve as a source of pride to the local population and the Greeks.

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All roads lead to Rome, as the proverb says, and all roads lead travelers to the Genoese Castle. Its magnificence opens to the eye as you approach its walls, as it rises majestically on a hill near the seaport of Mitilini. As the legends say, the Byzantines were the first to erect fortress walls on Lesvos, laying it on the site of the former acropolis. The Genoese castle many centuries ago served as a bulwark of protection, took on the assaults, strikes and raids of sea pirates back in the V century. Today, it has become a true symbol that embodies the spirit of the lands of Lesvos and its people. The Genoese castle often serves as a haven for spectacular musical and theatrical extravaganzas.

Following the route woven of sights, travelers are sure to come to the island’s unique archaeological site, the Thermi. This prehistoric settlement, which has carried its echoes to its contemporaries, was laid out around 3000 B.C. on a picturesque hill. Travelers will learn that the settlement was not discovered for one year, the excavations took four long years, but to this day, the lands of Thermi hold many unknowns, mysteries and unique relics.

Here is an amazing eclectic mix of historical past and present, in which even today, archaeologists are trying to understand, finding more and more unique artifacts. For all those who are curious and want to feel the spirit of antiquity, the doors are always open.

However, on the island of Lesvos there is another intriguing place, which can be safely called a time machine. A petrified forest, time stands still here and “preserves” all the once living things. This place is a recognized treasure not only on a local scale, but also on the world level. In 1985 it was given the well-deserved status of a natural monument and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here, all visitors will discover the silent frozen majesty of the giant cypresses, getting into a place where the diameter of the trees reaches three meters, one is ready to bow before the might of nature.

Excursions to the religious stronghold of Lesvos, the church of Agios Ferapon, can be no less thrilling and fascinating. The majesty of the vaults, the authentic, distinctive architecture, the luxury of the religious attributes are all worth seeing. Nothing can give the unique flavor of everyday life and the hustle and bustle of the world better than the old market in Mitilini, where all the shades of everyday life of local people, their traditions, customs, habits are revealed. Worthy of admiration and the ancient Greek port, and a unique archaeological museum, and even a dozen ancient Turkish fountains will create a complete picture called “the island of Lesvos”.

The azure shores of the “island of Sappho

Lesvos is “lulled” by the waters of the seas, so the lands of the island abound with well-kept beaches with yellow sand or nice pebbles. It is impossible to feel the spirit of Lesvos bypassing the resort beaches of this centuries-old place. That is why many holidaymakers flock there, who want to warm themselves in the rays of the scorching sun and gentle water.

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The beach of Skala Eressos is the real winner on Lesvos. This coast has everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing holiday. If you are aiming for peace and tranquility, everyone will find it on the sandy coast of Molivos, which offers a delightful panoramic view of the fortress.

The variety of Lesvos beaches allows you to enjoy not only the sand, but also the therapeutic pebbles. The beach of Eftalou can serve as a great health destination, especially due to its close proximity to the hot springs. In the epicenter of tourist life can be found on the golden sands of Skala Kaloni beach, its arrangement attracts many travelers. And discover the pristine coastline of Lesvos by visiting the wild Baloutsas beach, an intriguing place where no man has ever set foot.

The coastline of Vatera beach is truly impressive, stretching for 7 kilometers, where you can feel the grandeur of “Sappho’s Island” and discover the beauty of the panoramic view.

How to reach Lesvos

Since the island is washed on all sides by the waters of the sea, the most effective transportation is the ferry crossing. The main port of Mytilini connects many locals with the “mainland” daily, dropping them off at Athens. This convenient and comfortable means of transportation is subject to a real boom during the summer. During this season, any traveler will be able to ferry to the nearby islands of the Dodecanese.

Another versatile means of transportation, which will allow you to get to the “island of Sappho” quickly and comfortably is an airplane. The well-established Lesvos Airport has flights from Athens or Thessaloniki.

The island of Lesvos

The island of Lesvos

The island of Lesvos is situated in the North East of the Aegean Sea. It is a beautiful island with a rich history and a lot of attractions which allows to combine the pleasures with the usefulness of beach vacationing and the exploration of the antique past.

Where is the island of Lesvos on the map?

It is much closer to Turkey (1.5 hours drive) than to Greece. Among the Greek islands, it is the third largest. The total area is 1632 sq. km. According to 2001, the population is slightly more than 90 thousand. The capital of Lesvos island is the charming and green city of Mitilini which is a large port. Lesvos is famous for its fertile lands, developed agriculture and tourism. Trade and fishing is also very lucrative.

The island of Lesvos on the map

Weather on the Island

Lesvos has a Mediterranean climate, considered curative since ancient times. Summers are hot but not overly hot, while winters are mild and humid. The air temperature reaches a maximum of +34 ° C, and the sea water reaches +25 ° C. The most favorable period for a vacation is from late May to mid-September.

The history of the island of Lesvos

The area boasts a long history, because the first settlers lived here in the III millennium BC. Fertile soil, favorable location and mild climate are the guarantors of the island’s rapid prosperity. Not surprisingly, the island was a tidbit – it was conquered by the Romans, the Genoese, the Turks, and only after the First World War, Greece regained the island of Lesvos.

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It was often mentioned in the myths of ancient Greece, but the world fame of the island of Lesvos was brought by the legend of the poetess Sappho, who lived here 25 centuries ago. In her works she glorified the love between women and was the first to declare to the world the possibility of such feelings. It is not surprising that same-sex lovers often vacation on the island and even hold festivals there. Those who are conservative can rest easy: homosexual couples behave modestly and do not disturb other vacationers at all.

Mytilini is the capital of Lesvos

What is famous for Lesvos?

The island is very beautiful, and today millions of tourists rush to visit this paradise. Among the attractions of the Greek island of Lesvos are:

  1. The Genoese fortress, which stands on the hill of Mytilini, is the island’s calling card. The fort was built by the Byzantine ruler and is today the largest in the Mediterranean.
  2. The Petrified Forest of Lesvos is a place where time stood still. Over 20 million years ago huge sequoias were growing here, which volcanic eruption turned into amazing stones.
  3. The Moni Ypsilou Monastery is the most revered shrine of Lesvos. It is built in the western part of the island on top of an extinguished volcano. Visually it resembles a fortress, and not for nothing, as here are stored church relics and there is a rich ancient library.
  4. The Museum of Olive Oil demonstrates the entire production process, from the crushing of olives to the canning process. In the main building you can learn about the cultural heritage of the island and see exhibits on identity and ancient traditions.
  5. The Fermi Archaeological Site (Thermi) is a prehistoric settlement that flourished in the third millennium BC. Despite the fact that the excavations here have lasted for over 4 centuries, the land still holds many unsolved mysteries.
  6. The village of Moria is the birthplace of the Greek poetess Sappho. In the same village of preserved Roman aqueduct, which is 3 thousand years old.

What to do?

The salubrious air of the island and walks through pine forests, oak groves, and olive groves will instantly relieve fatigue and nervous tension. You can diversify your holiday on the island of Lesvos with a mass of active and pleasant entertainment. These are:

    historical sites;
  • Trips to mineral springs, springs and extinct volcanoes, hidden under the water;
  • beach vacation – surfing, yachting and other activities at sea, romantic lounge bars and tavernas, where they organize Greek evenings.

Beaches of Lesvos

The beach season on the island lasts from June to September, the water gets as warm as +25 ° C. Lesvos has a few dozen beaches, but the most popular is Skala Eressos. It has a long shoreline and a lot of bars and taverns, but is also within walking distance of the ancient ruins of Eres. However, the beach is always crowded, so tourists may consider other options:

  1. Skala Kaloni is a busy, hassle-free, all-inclusive vacation. Excellent infrastructure, clubs, restaurants, hotels and a beautiful coastline with soft sand and shallow sea.
  2. Eftalou – a relaxing holiday and the proximity of hot springs. This beach is covered with pebbles, which provides a therapeutic effect.
  3. The beaches of Campo Antissa and Vatera are suitable for tourists who want to avoid the intrusive services and are looking for privacy. Campo Antissa has some rocky areas, but this is made up for by the opportunity to watch turtles, which are abundant there.
  4. Wild Baloutsas beach is suitable for fans of extreme sports. You can get here only by off-road vehicle, but the reward is the opportunity to rest where almost no man has set foot.
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Where to stay?

On the island of Lesvos with the search of accommodation will not be a problem – there are networks of hotels, embodying the wealth and luxury, there are also economy options. When booking rooms do not be surprised that many inexpensive hotels offer a very wide range of services at a very favorable price. You can also rent a villa, either the whole or part of it. The best hotels on the island are:

Where can I eat?

Gastronomy on the island of Lesvos will not disappoint – it is an ancient tradition and Mediterranean style. The local cuisine is based on seafood, but the meat menu will please you with excellent taste. The calamari, sardine and lobster dishes are a must. Island specialties are liver in olive oil and lamb stuffed with pine nuts and raisins. The perfect cheese “Ladotiri” is a unique product of Lesvos, you must try it. Drink it all with the local drink, ouzo, an excellent brandy with aniseed extract. The most popular local establishments are:

The island of Lesvos does not have outlets and huge shopping malls, but it boasts unique locally produced goods. Tourists prefer to bring furs, jewelry, wines and leather goods from Lesvos. For something special, it’s worth a trip to the island’s shopping destinations:

  • Olive Wood House store in Mytilini – offering olive wood crafts and olive oil-based cosmetics;
  • The Feggaropetra store is for the fashionistas, offering a huge variety of clothes, accessories, bags, jewelry and bijouterie;
  • Stelios Stamatis Handmade Ceramics Workshop store – the best selection of souvenirs, from miniature vases to unique Greek amphorae;
  • Edika shopping center – a fur coat paradise, where you can buy a variety of leather accessories (jackets, belts, wallets);
  • Pailos store – farm products, meat delicacies and many others.

Most tourists move around the island on shuttle buses. You can also take a cab ($1.13 per 1 km), for out-of-town trips the rates are fixed. If you want to rent a car, you should have a driving experience (not less than 1 year) and an international license.

How to get there?

The airport of Lesvos, Odysseas Elitis, accepts flights from Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as from Rhodes, Crete, Chios and Lemnos. It is much cheaper to get to the island by boat, as all ferry companies of Greece offer a boat trip to Lesvos.

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