Lesvos like a local

Lesvos

Lisa Epanomatis

Situated within the North-Eastern Aegean, Lesvos is an authentic Greek island with a long history and rich tradition.

Lesvos is the third largest Greek island, after Crete and Evia, and the eighth largest in the Mediterranean Sea.

Although the island remains a strong draw for tourists, it has managed to maintain its traditional aura.

Lesvos is the ideal place to experience the real Greece. It is the perfect destination with amazing food, beautiful beaches and is dotted with many picturesque villages such as Molyvos, Agiasos and Plomari.

Due to the large size of the island, a car is recommended to drive around Lesvos and discover its hidden treasures. Beaches are usually small and secluded, even in the high season.

In addition to the quaint little villages, a drive around the island will also enable the exploration of many monuments.

From Roman aqueducts to Byzantine monasteries and castles, you will have the chance to visit sites that date back several historical periods.

Some must-visit monuments include the Medieval castles of Mytilene and Molyvos, as well as the Petrified Forest in Sigri located on the western side of the island.

Mytilene is the capital and main port of Lesvos, located on the eastern coast of the island.

Mytilene has a rich heritage and is known for its old neighbourhoods and beautiful architecture, which is described by an elaborate combination of different styles such as neoclassic, renaissance and belle epoque.

Strolling through the narrow alleys you will discover hidden gems including traditional cafes, antique shops and food markets.

Famous for ouzo, Lesvos is one of the richest gastronomic crossroads in Greece, bearing cultural traces in all its flavours.

With attention focused on meze and ouzo, local seasonal produce and passion for local taste continuously raises the standards of the Mediterranean diet.

Most seafood is caught by locals in local waters which ensures the freshest seafood is served.

Sardines, which are found all over seaside villages in Lesvos, are the most famous meze to accompany ouzo.

Places to see on Lesvos:

Castle of Molyvos (or Mithimna):

This is the most visible monument in Molyvos. Built upon the ruins of the ancient city of Mithimna, this well-preserved Byzantine castle offers spectacular views of the island and is a popular spot during sunset.

Nearly 650 years old, the Castle of Molyvos stands as a great historical monument for the island and as one of the most well-preserved castles in Eastern Mediterranean.

Lesvos

Petrified Forest:

This is Lesvos’ oldest antiquity. Situated between Sigri and Eressos and on the shores of the small island of Nissiopi, this forest is actually much larger than the more famous petrified forest in Arizona.

It is estimated this forest had been petrified about 15 to 20 million years ago due to volcanic activity, and is considered a rare geological monument.

This site remains one of the wonders of the world and should not be missed.

Lesvos petrified forest

Village of Agiasos:

The green mountain village of Agiasos is a picturesque, traditional community with cobblestone leafy alleys, old style cafes and historic buildings.

It has been described as the “small Switzerland” of Greece because of its immaculate clean streets, musical population and wood and ceramic artefact tradition.

Thermal Springs of Eftalou:

The ancient hot springs of Eftalou in Molyvos are famous for healing conditions such as arthritis and high blood pressure.

The springs, which have an average temperature of 46°C, are near the beach of Molyvos and therefore offer an idyllic location for visitors to enjoy both the healing experience and the serene surroundings. 

Beaches:

The beaches of Lesvos are the jewel of the island and include:

Tarti:

One of the most striking and popular beaches of the island, featuring crystal clear turquoise waters.

Located 34km south of Mytilene, Tarti beach is located at the foot of a lush hill on the south coast, close to the Gulf of Gera.

Agios Ermogenis:

This picturesque bay with the church of St Ermogenis is located 23km from Mytilene.

This beautiful cove with glistening waters, rocky shore, white church and vivid blue paint details on adjacent buildings creates a scene reminiscent of the Cyclades.

Agios Ermogenis Lesvos

Eresos:

Located 85km west of Mytilene, Eresos is one of the most cosmopolitan beaches the island has to offer and boasts clean crystal clear waters and sand stretching for 2.5km.

Eresos beach has received the blue flag award from the European Council as the cleanest and best cared for in Greece.

Lesvos Eresos Beach

Getting to Lesvos:

Ferries to Lesvos: You can travel to Lesvos from Athens via ferry, with ferries departing from Pireaus port around 4 to 5 times per week.

Lesvos is also connected by ferry with the port of Kavala on the northern side of the Greek mainland and with some islands, including Syros, Mykonos, Ikaria and Chios.

Flights to Lesvos:

Mytilene International Airport “Odysseas Elytis” receives flights from Athens and Thessaloniki all year round.

The flight time from Athens is around 1 hour.

During Summer, the airport also receives flights from Heraklion, Rhodes, Samos, Chios and from some European countries.

Accommodation:

Choose amongst deluxe hotels, budget apartments, traditional guesthouses and charming houses converted into “rooms to let”.

The island caters to all and prices are generally much cheaper than on the more popular Cyclades islands.

 If you love destinations with a rich history and breathtaking natural beauty, Lesvos is a must on your travel wish list!

The Tavern of Psarras: The oldest restaurant in Greece, operating since 1898

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor