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Lesbos is located very close to the Turkish coast and it is the third biggest island in the whole of Greece. On Lesbos you will find a lush nature that make this island very unique. It’s territory is divided into 3 main peninsulas that each have different characteristics: dry and desert-like landscape in the northern area, humid and warm areas in the central gulf and fabulous beaches in the southern area. Lesbos is also famous for being the birthplace of the poetess Saffo, a worldwide icon for women's rights and for sexual liberty rights.
Lesbos has a national airport that receives daily flights from Athens (the journey usually takes about 45 minutes). Lesbos can also be reached by taking a ferry from the port of Piraeus. The ferry trip lasts 9 to 15 hours according to the number of islands you are going to visit before reaching Lesbos. Lesbos also has daily ferries to the islands of Chios, Fourni, Ikaria and Lemnos.
Why choose Lesbos?
Lesbos has many attractions and natural beauties that you must see when visiting it and one week may not be enough to truly enjoy it! This land of poets is famous for it’s marvellous beaches, lush nature and magical forests (like the iconic “petrified forest”) that are home to more than 300 species of birds.
Skala Eresou is a city located in the western part of the island located in the first of the three that form the island. This was also the place where the poetess Saffo was born and for this reason each year many events that are dedicated to her are held here.
During these events you will find live music, Greek dances, sports and poetry that make the two weeks when the event is held even more magical. Behind Skala Eresou you will find one of the nicest and most mysterious landscapes in the whole of Greece.
Here you will also find the iconic “petrified forest” that gets its name from the trees that were petrified during an eruption of the volcano called “Ordymnos”. This unique part of the island has been a protected natural monument since 1985 and it is part of the UNESCO geoparks. Near the park, there is also a museum dedicated to islands volcanic activity that has modified the landscape over the years. Lesbos is also homeland to many olive trees and to the production of Ouzo.
There are two museums dedicated to olives on the island, one of which (located in the island’s central gulf) still has the old mill that was made for producing oil. There is also an Ouzo museum in Plomari (in Lesbo’s southern area) that is surrounded by many taverns and bars that are the area’s main attractions. In the southern part of the island there are also some thermal springs. In Polyhnitos there are two springs: one that gets its name from the local village and the other one called Lisvorio Spa.
The coast of Lesbos island is very long and covered by many beaches. There are two gulfs on the island (Kalloni and Gera) that make the landscape even more peculiar and unfortunately make the mapping quite difficult. Here are the main beaches of the island:
Agios Isidoros beach
Also known as Plomari this long sandy beach is surrounded by turquoise waters and located in the southern coast of the island. The beach offers many services for tourists like sunbeds and beach umbrellas to rent, bars and taverns.
Campo Antissa beach
Campo Antissa is located near the village of Antissa that is located on the side of a hill near the beach. Together with Gavatha beach it works a small port for the nearby village. The shore is very wide and covered in a mix of sand and pebbles. The seabed is covered in sand while the beach is very quiet and isolated (especially in the western part of the beach). Near Gavatha you will also find a pond with some turtles that are very entertaining.
In the northern coast carrying on west you will find eftalou, a beach covered in pebbles not very far away from the city of Molyvos. This long beach surrounded by tall trees and different hotels can be easily reached thanks to a bus line that connects Eftalou to Molyvos.
Geras is located in a gulf, from where the beach gets its name, located in the eastern coast of the island, not far away from Mytilini. This small beach is covered in sand and surrounded by pine trees besides having some of the nicest waters of the island (there are also some thermal springs that go into the sea). Nearby there are also taverns and apartments to rent.
One of the beaches covered in sand that is located in one of the northernmost parts of the island. Being on the other side of the promontory it isn’t well equipped or very crowded and this makes it the ideal destination if you are looking for bright blue waters and green trees that offer a lovely shade!
Located near a village from where the beach gets its name Melinda is surrounded by a crystal clear sea that has a green emerald sea. When visiting Melinda remember that if you are looking for a tavern or an apartment you can either visit Paleohori and Drota, two villages located north from the beach or Plomari located south.
Molyvos is covered by pebbles and located near a village from where the beach gets its name from. The beach offers any service a tourist may need, the sea is crystal clear with a bright blue colour. The seabed is very shallow and the water is usually very calm.
Mytilini beach being the closest beach to the biggest city in Lesbos is equipped with anything a tourist may need and for this reason is the only private beach on the island. The shore is covered in sand and surrounded by very clean crystal clear waters. There are beach umbrellas, sunbeds and cabins that can be rented besides some showers where to wash after a day at the sea. Unfortunately it can be very crowded sometimes.
This beach is the closest one to the town of Molyvos and also here you will find anything you may need during your day at the beach. There are even some cabins where to get changed on one side of the beach. The shore is covered in sand.
This beach has a sandy shore and calm crystal clear waters thanks to the protection offered by the gulf in front of it.
Behind it there are many green trees surrounding it, being so close to an important touristic locality it is also equipped with any service you may need.
This beach located near the small town of Petra is equipped with anything you may need for your day at the beach like beach umbrellas, sunbeds and taverns. The sea is crystal clear while the shore is covered by fine sand. Near the village of Petra there are also the two smaller beaches of Anaxos and Ampelia, both rather quiet and wild.
Skala Eresou beach
Near the village of Saffo you will find this beautiful beach that is perfect for families with children thanks to the shallow seabed. There are also different touristic structures on the beach while if you want to go to a tavern or bar you will have to go to the nearby town of Eressos.
Skala Kallonis beach
This beach is located nearby the village that gives its name both to the beach and to the gulf that surrounds it. The beach is rather famous and for this reason it is equipped with anything a tourist may need. The shore is wide and covered in sand with a shallow seabed and calm waters: a true paradise.
Skala Polyhnitou beach
At a few km north from Polyhnitou beach you will find this marvellous wide beach with fine golden sand surrounded by calm crystal clear waters with thermal springs. Near the village there are many apartments besides tavern. Unfortunately there aren’t services and the beach is completely unequipped.
Located near a village from where it gets its name, this beach is surrounded by a bay that protects it and where most hotels and taverns are located. The sea also in this area is crystal clear and usually very calm. Sigri beach is completely covered in sand and unfortunately isn’t equipped.
This is considered one of the nicest and biggest beaches on Lesbos. It is long, wide, sandy and well equipped, besides being located near the village from where it gets its name. It is also protected from the summer winds and for this reason the waters are usually very calm. The fact of offering numerous services to the tourists that visit it and having such clean and beautiful waters make sure that each year this beach receives the “blue flag” award.
Lesbos is a truly beautiful island with warm springs and the biggest petrified forest in the world. There are many monuments and natural beauties to see in Lesbos besides quite a few water sport centers. Here is a list of the main things to do on this island located in the north-eastern part of the Aegean sea.
If you are in Molyvos (Mithymna), in the northern part of the island, remember to visit the Byzantine castle located above the city. The castle dates back to the XI century and was built on the ruins of an old fortress. The fortress was used to defend the island’s inhabitants from the Turkish attacks.
The castle is built on a reddish rock platform (made of trachyte) and before accessing it you will have to pass three gates the last of which is made of heavy wood plated in metal.
With an extension of about 25 hectares Mytilene castle is one of the biggest fortresses of the Mediterranean sea. The ruins date back to the Roman domain when the emperor Giustinian was in power. During the 14th century it was known as “Queen’s tower castle” and was Francesco I Gattilusio’s residence, Lesbo’s Genoan ruler. The structure is pretty ruined but there are still some intact remains like the queen’s tower, the Byzantine water tank, the Turkish hammam and the islamic monastery (Tekke).
Bird watching in Lesbos
When you are in Kalloni gulf, near the small town of Skala Kalloni, you will find many humid areas that are perfect for birdwatching. Here you can observe one of the many rare species of birds that inhabit this island. In this particular area you can find more than 300 different species besides 50 species of butterflies and many types of frogs.
Trekking in a natural and artistic route
If you love walking there are many routes to choose from especially in the island’s southern coast. One route will take you from Melinda to Paleohori, another one will lead you to Panagia Kryfti, a church located near a thermal spring, and last but not least there is the last route that starts in Paleohori and will lead you to Rahidi a small village where the electric current only arrived in 2001.
The last place to see is Dionisio temple, not far away from Vatera, always in the south of the island. According to the legends this area was described by Homerus as being the base camp for the soldiers that fought in the battle of Troy.
Boat trips and excursions
Leaving Molyvos port (called Mithymna by the locals) you can book a boat trip that will lead you to the beaches of Skala Sykaminias and Eftalou. In this second beach there is also some thermal springs that are very popular between the locals and tourists.
There are also many centers where to practice different water sports and games. You will also have the chance to rent kayaks, windsurfs and canoes. The diving centers have a well prepared staff and the instructors will teach you everything there is to know about these sports.
Moving around Lesbos? Apart from the bus that connects the airport to the city of Mythilini on Lesbos there are also a few busses that for a very low price take tourists around the island to the main villages and towns. In some cases you will have to change bus in Kalloni (Lesbos’ center) in order to reach some of the other more distant destinations. Here are the timetables of the busses that run on the island.
Renting a car or motorbike
If you want to be a bit more independent you can choose to rent your own vehicle. On the island there are 3 car rentals and prices range from 25,00 €/day during low season to 38,00 €/day during high season. The prices are pretty similar also for renting a scooter, if you decide to rent one we recommend you choose at least a 150 cc engine as the roads can be quite steep and sometimes in bad conditions.
Lesbos is a Greek island that has an airport and can be reached thanks to direct flights. Unfortunately the airport mostly receives national flights and in fact there are very few direct international flights to Lesbos. But luckily there are quite a few options to choose from. For example you can you can land in Athens’ airport before taking a flight for Mytilini, Lesbos’ airport. The same thing can be done by landing in Thessaloniki. This may be the cheapest solution as flights for Thessaloniki are often cheaper than those for Athens.
Reaching Lesbos by taking a plane from another island
The island of Lesbos can be reached by plane from other airports. For example there are flights from Volos, Crete, Rhodes, Ikaria and Samos. For example you can choose to get a flight to Rhodes, where you can spend a few relaxing days exploring the island before taking a plane for Lesbos. This is an option that can be applied for most islands and will give you the chance to see two or more islands during your holiday.
Reaching Lesbos by ferry
Lesbos can also be reached by taking a ferry that seta from the port of Piraeus. If you get to Athens by plane you can reach the port of Piraeus where you will find two ferry companies to choose from: Blue Star Ferries (5 runs a week) that will get you to Lesbos in about 9 hours and a half. Otherwise you can choose Hellenic seaways (8 runs a week) that will get you to Lesbos in about 11 hours.
The island of Lesbos is very large and even if tourism isn’t the island’s main income there are still many accommodations for the tourists that want to visit it. Accommodations and hotels in Lesbos should be carefully chosen in advance as the island is rather big and you should check in advance what types of transport you will have to take to reach the area of the island that you want to visit.
Where to stay in Lesbos
The two main cities of Mytilini and Molyvos/Mithymna are where most of the hotels, apartments and studios are located on the island. There are also some apartments that can be rented as long as you book in advance. In Lesbos there are also a lot of structures that are managed directly by the local people and for this reason are usually quite a bit cheaper. Skala Eresou is famous for being the homeland of the poetess Saffo.
Most of the structures used to only accept women but nowadays this rarely happens. In the rest of the island you will certainly find many different solutions to choose from, especially along the coast where most of the nice beaches are concentrated. Especially the studios, a cheaper option to choose from that will almost certainly satisfy you.