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Robert Polasek - YouTube Touch of World

The third largest island of Greece will impress you with its beautiful beaches, traditional villages, diverse fauna and flora, a huge number of olive trees, as well as historical buildings, harbours and, of course, traditional cafes and restaurants with not only sea specialties. But the main advantage is the fact that the island of Lesvos still retains its original atmosphere. There are still quite a few tourists coming here, and there is no shortage of really big hotel complexes where you can spend your holiday and not even know what country you've been to. The locals haven't converted to tourists in droves yet, so you have a chance to soak up the true Greek atmosphere and hospitality.

The island covers approximately 1630 square kilometres and the coastline, with its many quiet and private beaches, is roughly 370 kilometres long. (Of course, you usually have to travel several kilometres on dirt unpaved roads to reach these secluded, beautiful beaches. And on these, there's usually no car insurance. So you either need to rent an off-road car or take your chances, drive slowly and pray nothing happens.) From the eastern part, you can see Asia, which is less than 20 kilometers away. Two large bays, Gera and Kalloni, extend into the interior of the island, where excellent sardines have been caught since time immemorial. However, especially in Kalloni you usually can't get rid of the feeling that you are at a pond. The water is calm and tens of metres from the shore, the water (not very salty) is still knee-deep... Thanks to the warm climate, fertile soil, water reserves and thousands of years of effort, nearly 40% of the island is covered by olive groves. Locals claim there are 14 million olive trees, but no tourist has yet counted. The other 20 percent of the area is covered by pine and oak forests. The most beautiful part of Lesvos is often described as the northern part, where pine forests stretch all the way to the beaches. In this area, the medieval town of Molyvos, which is overlooked by a fortress, is definitely worth a visit, as is Petra, the place where Achilles anchored during the Trojan War. Beautiful beaches can be found in Anaxos and we recommend a visit to the thermal springs in Eftalou.

The southern part consists of two parts. The bay of Gera with its amazing villages and beautiful nature. The second part is Plomari, the cultural and economic centre for the whole island. The eastern part offers diverse landscapes, views of the coast of Asia Minor and the capital Mytilini, which is the industrial and cultural centre of the island with a fascinating combination of European and Middle Eastern architecture. Concerts are held at Mytilini Fortress, for example last year the German legendary band Scorpions played an excellent concert here. The western part of the island is very different from the rest of the island. Volcanic activity has created a lunar landscape. But it would be an eternal shame to avoid this area! After all, this is where you will find the UNESCO-protected Geopark - millions of years old fossilised trees, or rather the remains of their trunks. You can see them both in the "forest", which is reached by a wide asphalt road (beware, there are large drainage gullies in several places), and in the modern museum in the nearby town of Sigri. Many say it's better to go straight to the museum - it's that well done. And while you're in Sigri, check out the local fortress. It was open for free in 2009 and you could climb to the top to see the town, nearby cliffs and mountains. And also a rusty tank under the fortress... When you are in the western part, turn a little bit before Sigri to the Ipsilou Monastery. You can't miss it. For one thing, the turn-off is well signposted (the road is narrow, one-way), but most importantly, it's on top of an extinct volcano. By car or motorbike, you can drive almost to the top. Just take a few steps, enter the monastery and climb the stairs to the viewpoint. The view is fantastic!

The island is known as the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho, who was born and spent most of her life here and created her works. From the name of the island, the term was later derived for the relationship between a woman and a woman. According to historians, however, it is not entirely clear what her affection for women was. And not just because she was a mother... The first signs of settlement on the island date back to the 10th century BC. The most famous period is considered to be the 6th century BC. 200 years later, the island became part of Macedonia, and in later years came under Roman rule. After the division of the Roman Empire, the island was assigned to the more powerful part, the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire. In 1204, the Venetians took control of the island and were replaced by the Turks in the 15th century. In 1912, Lesbos was annexed to Greece.

There are countless monuments on the island. For example, at Agia Paraskevi you can admire the remains of a sanctuary, as well as the ruins of the ancient city of Pyrrhus or the Kremasti Bridge. In Agiassos, the remains of the Byzantine fortress and the church museum stand out in the foreground of tourist interest. In Eressos, the archaeological museum or the monastery of Pithari are of interest. In Kalona you can see the remains of ancient and Byzantine houses and ancient tombs. On Lesvos you will find unique hot springs that have been used for thousands of years to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gynaecological and dermatological problems, gallstones, bronchitis or neurological problems. The Polichnotis site boasts some of the hottest thermal springs in Europe. The water temperature ranges from 70°C to 90°C. The island is also known for hosting traditional festivals that are not without dance, music and good food and drink. By the way, you can get a salad on Lesvos for about 3 - 5€, main course for 6 - 8€, soft drink for 1,5 - 2€, ? liter of wine for 5€ and beer for 2€. A drink at the bar will cost approximately 6€ and a cocktail 7€.

It is also possible to travel around the island by cheap buses, for example there are buses running 7 times a day between the resorts of Eftalou, Molyvos, Petra and Anaxos, tickets are bought there.

Basic information:

  • Greek name: LESVOS (Λέσβος)
  • Capital: MYTILINI
  • Island area: 1630 km2
  • Length of coastline: cca 370 km
  • Population: over 105 000
  • The highest peak: Lepetymnos – 968 m
  • The personality: the ancient Greek poet Sappho

RESORTS IN LESBOS

EFTALOU

Eftalou is a very quiet tourist area falling under Molyvos, about 1,5 km away. VTT offers the Sun Rise (online only) and Belvedere Aeolis (in the catalogue) hotels in this area. Both provide exceptionally good service and also views of the Aegean Sea and the Turkish coastline not only from many of the rooms but also from the pools. These hotels are especially popular with tourists who spend most of their time by the pools and those who rent a car or motorbike and explore this beautiful and unspoilt island individually. The biggest attraction of Eftalou is the local thermal baths - an idyllic place with crystal clear water, which has up to 46.5°C and is used to treat rheumatism, gallstones, respiratory problems, gynaecological and skin problems. You can choose between the old and the new part. The old bath (entry fee approx €4/45 minutes) is in a clean white vaulted cellar with pebble tiles and a communal pool, the new section (€5/30 minutes) has seven separate baths. There's also a regular regular bus service to Eftalou, with one heading to the baths and the other to Molyvos, Petra and Anaxos. The fare works out at about €1.40/one way.

Beach: pebble, sandy. Distance from Mytilini: approx. 64 km. Rating of the resort: for all generations.

MOLYVOS

It is the pearl of the island. This historic UNESCO-protected town is characterised by its red-roofed stone houses built into the hillside. Steep cobbled streets lead to an imposing fortress dating back to the Byzantine era, reconstructed in 1373 by the Genoese merchant Francesco Gattelusi. Heading down is the main avenue, which is brimming with shops selling tourist goods, wine, flowers, but also sweets... You can relax in the many local tavernas, often with sea views. There are also tavernas by the harbour, where not only fishing boats but also cruise ships are moored. The town ends at a pebble beach offering water sports and despite the occasional water urchin, it is not infrequently full. Further away from the town is a pebble-sand beach and the furthest sandy beach with a pebble entrance to the sea. This stretch is particularly popular with nudists. In the town it is worth visiting the local town hall, where you can find various archaeological excavations and also see a collection of photographs documenting the liberation of the country from Turkish rule. Molyvos, which has a permanent population of about 1500, boasts three churches. These are the Church of St. Taxiarchis (built in 1795), the Church of St. Kiriaki and the Church of St. Panteleimon - both dating from 1844. Right in the centre of the town, you will find the partially burnt house where the famous 20th century Greek novelist Stratis Myrivilis set the fate of the main character of his novel The Teacher with the Golden Eyes. By the way, the brick chimney right by the sea shore is the remains of an olive oil mill, nowadays one of the most expensive hotels. As the sun sets, Molyvos becomes a lively place with many bars, clubs, discos, tavernas or restaurants with large screen projections. The resort is therefore particularly suitable for tourists who want to enjoy not only the beach during the day, but also the town centre in the evening. The local summer cinema is also popular and has a large capacity, with tickets costing around 7€. Films are usually shown here in English with Greek subtitles.

Beach: pebble. Distance from Mytilini: approx. 61 km. Resort rating: for all generations

PETRA

The local landmark is the 18th century church of Panagia Glykofilousa (Our Lady of Sweet Kisses), which is located on a rock and is thus a natural landmark of the whole bay. If you go to visit this monument, be prepared to climb 114 steps. One of the other attractions is the church of Agios Nikolas, which contains frescoes from the 16th century and is situated under the rock with the aforementioned church. Renting a car or motorbike is not a problem in this resort either, but care is needed when driving - the streets are really narrow. Petra is a lovely place with a promenade along the coast and wide sandy beaches from where you can watch spectacular sunsets every evening. In the romantic streets full of shops you will find peace, quiet and an unforgettable atmosphere. There are also a number of pleasant cafés, taverns and bars, and sweet lovers will soon discover the renowned patisserie. The historic town of Molyvos, about five kilometres away, can be easily reached by bus (approx. 1.40€/one way), by taxi for approx. 7€/one way, or even on foot. A safe walkway runs along the road following the coast. You can also walk to the mountain village of Petri, about 6 km away, where you can enjoy a wonderful view and a great meal. If you can't get a taxi on the street, ask a waiter at the nearest taverna.

Beach: sandy. Distance from Mytilini: approx. 55 km. Rating of the resort: for all generations.

ANAXOS

Anaxos is one of the most popular holiday resorts on the island. There are mini-markets, bakeries, beach bars, cafes, taverns and restaurants on the coast, many of which have menus in Czech and Czech service. The beach here is nice, long with coarse sand with a gradual entrance to the sea. There is a possibility of renting umbrellas and sunbeds (for a fee of approx. 5 - 6€/set/day), there are also showers, changing rooms and water sports (pedal boats, canoes, boats, etc. for a fee). From the end of the beach, where there is a children's playground, there is a wonderful view of the resort of Molyvos. If you want to try a quieter beach and don't want to spend money on a rental car or taxi, you can walk west to Ampelia Beach, about an hour away, which many consider one of the nicest on the island. But be sure to pack plenty of water and food in your backpack. From Anaxos, you can easily travel by public bus to Petra, Molyvos and Eftalou. The price of the ticket, which is bought on the bus, comes out to about 1,40€/one way, the buses run about 7 times a day from about 08:30 - 23:00. It is also possible to walk to Petra, a resort three kilometres away, where there are other shopping opportunities, by walking along the coast. It should be taken into account that this is not a landscaped promenade, but a path that is quite narrow in places.

Beach: sandy, sometimes with pebbles. Distance from Mytilini: approx. 57 km. Rating of the resort: for all generations.

Lesbos

90 min.
2012
Includes: Molyvos, Efthalou, Vafeios, Lepetymnos, Pelopi, Kapi, Sykaminea, Skala Sykamineas, Kagia, Tsonia, Kleio, Mantamados, Taxiarchis, Man Katsa, Agios Stefanos, Xampelia, Skala Neon Kydonion, Skala Mistegnon, Petalidi, Paralia Thermis - Sarlitza Spa hotel, Agios Rafail, Panagiouda, Kalamiaris Palm Forest, Roman Aquaduct - Moria, Mytilini, Kratigos, Karpouzi, Charamida, Agios Ermogenis, Roman Aquaduct - Lampou Mili, Karini, Asomatos, Agioi Anargyroi, Mt. Olympos, Agiassos, Agios Therapon, Xerres, Perama, Marmaro, Pyrgoi, Avlonas, Skopelos, Tarti, Fara, Agios Isidoros, Plomari, Melinta, Panagia Kryfti, Paleochori, Vatera, Agios Fokas, Nyfida, Skala Polichnitou, Hot springs - Polichnitos, Lisvori, Pessa springs, Achladeri, Messa, Chalinados, Agia Paraskevi, Kremasti, Skala Kallonis, Panagias Mirsiniotissis, Limonos, Parakila, Skala Parakilon, Apothika, Agra, Mesotopos, Podaras, Tavari, Chrousos, Skala Eressou, Eressos, Sigri, Faneromenis, Petrified Forest Park, Ypsilou monastery, Antissa, Perivolis, Lapsarna, Liota, Gevathas, Kampos, Ancient Antissa, Kalo Limani, Vatoussa, Pterounta, Anemotia, Skalochori, Skoutaros, Tsichranta, Ampelia, Anaxos, Stypsi, Petra, Petri, Nightlife in Molyvos

46 Beaches of Lesbos

15 min.
2012
Includes: 46 Beaches of Lesbos

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