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Everything you need to know about Lesvos

Lesvos ● Northern Aegean Sea ● 03 October 2018
 
Lesvos is not just a beautiful Greek island. Lesvos is something more than just a destination in Greece. It is the birthplace of Sappho, the famous Greek poet from the 7th century B.C., who wrote her erotic poems on this island. It is one of the easternmost places in Greece and the part of Europe, which welcomed the refugees and struggles to stay alive in this crisis. Lesvos is a historic island with a unique aura for those seeking something different, off-the-beaten path vacation in a mythical destination. Recharge your batteries in Lesvos, this special destination in Greece to relax and feel positively refreshed!

What to do

Mytilene

The capital of Lesvos is Mytilene. The best image that captures the essence of the island is Alkeou Street in Mytilene. The natural light of Lesvos in the morning is captivating and has enchanted the famous Greek artist Yannis Tsarouchis in his homonymous painting. The newcomer to Lesvos should definitely have a walk under the Statue of Liberty at the central square of Mytilene and then stop at the olive grove that is home to the Theofilos Museum and the Museum of Stratis Eleftheriadis with original artwork by Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Tsarouchis. In the Epano Skala neighbourhood of Mytilene, you can find many taverns with fresh fish and magnificent view. 

Molyvos

Molyvos is a popular tourist resort with a long beach, which is considered as one of the best beaches in Lesvos. It is a picturesque settlement, which has as trademark the medieval castle at the top of the hill with its magnificent view of the Aegean Sea. Molyvos has also gorgeous stone-built houses and mansions that create an imposing atmosphere. In Molyvos, you can find many accommodation options as well as traditional taverns to eat the delicious food of Lesvos and cafes by the sea.
Molyvos

Agiassos

Agiassos is one of the most beautiful villages in Lesvos with cobblestone paths and neoclassical houses. It is widely known for its fine potteries and wood carvings, which are being sold in the local shops. Located in the slopes of Mount Olymbos, Agiassos is also an excellent destination for hiking lovers. Very interesting is the well-preserved village of Agiasos, where you can see the icon of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, made in the 1st century AD by Luke the Evangelist using mastic gum and candle wax. In the village, don't forget to taste tuna pies and pickled octopus in the traditional taverns at the square.
Agiassos


Thermal springs

Lesvos is a volcanic island, enriched with natural hot springs. Thus, it is considered as one of the best destinations in the Mediterranean Sea for health tourism. The hot springs of Eftalou is situated in a unique location next to a calm beach, with pebbles shaped by air and volcanic lava. According to the New York Times, Eftalou springs are ranked among the finest on-the-water destinations due to the therapeutic properties of its waters, which are rich in radium, chloride, sodium and other minerals with healing properties. At Polichnitou, you will find 16 hot springs, only 60 meters above sea level. With their waters ranging between 67 and 92 Celsius degrees, Polichnitou springs are the warmest in Europe. In the Gulf of Gera, is located one of the best-organised and popular springs in Northern Aegean, which has been constantly used since the Ottoman Empire. The place is also fully equipped for inhalation therapy. In the village of Thermi, there are modern hydrotherapy spa facilities, but very impressive are also the ancient domed pools that show the constancy of the area's springs, which were famous during the antiquity. The therapeutic properties of these springs were known since then, and they continue until today to attract visitors, who want to make a present to their body and revitalise it. Lesvos is a top destination not only for elderly people but also for travelers, who enjoy the natural spa facilities in order to make a gift to their selves and make their body and mind healthier and with more energy.

Historical sites

Medieval Castle in Mytilene

The medieval castle of Mytilene is considered as one of the best-preserved castles in Eastern Mediterranean. The first castle of this network of castles has been built in the 6th century A.D. The upper castle or Acropolis has been erected in the 14th century A.D. and modified by the Ottomans, and thus you can admire in the site also Turkish baths, mosques and Islamic monasteries.

Petrified forest

The Petrified Forest, which is located 12 km from Sigri, is a place, where trees have been turned into stone in a procedure called petrification. Millions of years ago, the volcanic ash of the island covered the trees of this forest creating a rare natural phenomenon, which has been declared as Protected Natural Monument. The landscape is lunar and imposing, and you will be impressed by the fact that you can see trees made from stone and not from wood! At the entrance of the forest, you can visit the Fossil Museum, where you learn about the evolution of plants in earth from the prehistoric times till today.

Ancient Theatre

On the northern side of Mytilene, you can visit the ancient theatre of Lesvos, one of the largest Hellenistic theatres in Greece. The theatre was built around the 3rd century B.C. with capacity of 15,000 spectators. It is an impressive theatre, which however has not been entirely excavated yet.

Roman Aqueduct

On the western side of Moria, 6 km from Mytilene, is located the Roman Aqueduct, one of the most important technical accomplishments of the late Roman times (2th-3rd century A.D.). The impressive aqueduct with the arches used springs, underground channels and gravity to carry water in various villages in Lesvos, and today it is one of the most worthwhile sites to discover on the island. 

Monastery of Ipsilou

In the district of Ipsilou, 15 km from Eressos, is located the Byzantine monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos at the highest peak of Mt. Ordimnos. It is the oldest monastery of Lesvos, built in the 12th century A.D. The monastery looks like a castle, and inside, you can admire many significant Byzantine icons, holy vessels and interesting manuscripts.

Mosques in Mytilene

In the beautiful and traditional town of Mytilene, what impresses the visitor is the multicultural character of the city, which combines West and East elements due to the history of the island. Imposing stand the two mosques. Valide mosque was built in 1615, while Yeni mosque, the largest mosque of the island, is an important historical site of the 19th century.

Archaeological Museum in Mytilene

The Archaeological Museum in Mytilene is an interesting museum to learn about the history of the civilisations in northern Aegean and admire findings from the Neolithic to the Roman Times, such as prehistoric items, parts of ancient temples, jewellery and coins.

Museum of Olive Oil Production

In the village of Agia Paraskevi, is located the Museum of Olive Oil Production, which is housed in an old communal olive press. There, you will see the olive oil production and the technological development over time that has led to the production of high quality olive oil, which is the natural product of Greece.
Olive oil

Ouzo museum and distilleries

Ouzo is the most famous local product of Lesvos and also the national alcohol beverage of Greece. It has a delicious taste that reminds of the sea and the summer in Greece. To really understand the history and importance of ouzo in Lesvos, visit the World of Ouzo Museum, at the distillery of Ouzo Plomari Isidoros Arvanitis. The distillery is located in an olive grove in Plomari, a wonderful seaside village. On the tour, you can watch how the spirit is distilled and bottled, and afterwards, follows a tasting section. Generally, the island has many distilleries, such as Barbayanni, Pitsiladis, Giannatsis in Plomari and Spentza in Mytilene. We highly recommend you to visit one of them, see the whole process of making ouzo, taste different varieties of this delicious drink and take back home some bottles that remind you of this unforgettable experience.


Gastronomy

Lesvos is an Aegean island that has impressive richness and high quality of fine local products, including ouzo, as well as a marvelous and interesting local cuisine where West meets East. In Lesvos, you can eat all the well-know Greek dishes, such as mousaka, souvlaki, fresh fish and seafood, but you can also have the experience of tasting signature local dishes, such as sougania (stuffed onions), kolokytholoulouda (courgette flowers stuffed with cheese or rice), fresh fish and the salted sardines of Lesvos, which are famous all over the Mediterranean. 

Lesvos is also known for its dairies and produces three cheeses with Protected Designation of Origin, feta, kasseri and ladotyri. You can find around the island many producers with quality products and excellent prices. Doukas in Mantamados, Dimitris Skordos in Nees Kydonies, Tastanis in Agra, Albanis in Mytilene and Salachas in Kaloni are only some of the stores, where you can buy delicious local products. The islands is also one of the first places in Greece that started women's cooperatives, which have played a very important role in salvaging the island's culinary traditions. The cooperative in Skalochori produces delicious pasta and trachanas, while the one in Mesotopos is renowned for its sweet olive preserve. The cooperative in Parakila is famous for its chachles (trachanas baked with a tomato and cheese stuffing). The cooperative in Agia Paraskevi prepares really nice myzithrohalva (trachanas mixed with semolina and myzithra cheese), while the cooperative in Agra is a must for diples fritters with syrup.

Beaches

One of the best places to swim on the island is Eresos, and then you can relax in the taverns behind the beach, drinking the local alcohol beverage of Lesvos, ouzo, and eat sea urchins. The long golden bay, which stretches for about 3 km, is impressive and ideal to spend a day by the sea with your kids.

Vatera is the largest beach in Lesvos and has deep blue waters and fine sand. Its impressive length gives you the opportunity to decide whether you want the part of beach, which is full of young people and beach bars, or the calmer part, where you can find peace and privacy. There are also many water-sports facilities on this beach.
Kalloni

Saint Hermogenes is also another worthwhile beach. Although it is a small cove, it impresses the visitor with its picturesque scenery with the pine trees reaching literally the coastline.

Saint Isidore is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. It is a gorgeous sandy bay within walking distance from the village of Plomari with all the touristic facilities you may need.

The beach of Molyvos is awarded with Blue Flag not only for its crystal clear waters but also for its services, such as whirlpool, locker rooms, sunbeds, umbrellas and charming restaurants.

Baloutsas is a beach you should definitely visit, if you seek for a place to be totally alone and find the connection you want with nature. You need definitely a jeep to get there because the bay is accessible only via a difficult dirt road, but it is definitely worth the visit because the landscape is just breathtaking.

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