Lesvos (aka Mytilini)

Greek: Λέσβος / Μυτιλήνη | Pronounced: `lezvos
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Overview of Lesvos

Lesvos, the third largest Greek island, is a fascinating mosaic of landscapes, attractions and sensations. It satisfies all types of visitors because it combines delightfully many forms of tourism that involve nature and ecology, sports and activities, art and museums, ancient sightseeing, religious monuments and fine gastronomy. Lesvos, situated at the Northeast Aegean, close to Turkey, is home of the famous Petrified Forest and a member of UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network.

This is indicative of the island’s varied natural wealth: mountains, caves, forests, wetlands, hot springs, waterfalls, plains, rich fauna and flora (including nearly 11 million olive trees) and numerous sandy beaches, both crowded and secluded. Lesvos is also the home of poets and painters, such as contemporary Odysseas Elytis, Tériade and Theofilos, as well as ancient Arion, Alkeos and Sappho – the latter, in fact, attracts lesbian tourists from all over the world. The island is famous for its ouzo and olive oil, but also for the impressive architecture that features byzantine, Genovese and ottoman elements, neoclassical buildings, mansions and industrial premises (olive presses, soap factories, tanneries). Fortunately, tourism has worked in favor of tradition in Lesvos, keeping things in balance. This is obvious in its amphitheatrically built capital and port, Mytilini. It is an aristocratic lively town (students of the Aegean University keep spirits high all year long) with all sorts of amenities, nightlife, excellent museums, monuments and churches, bazaar and the must-see castle, one of the largest in the Mediterranean.

At the north, popular Mythimna (or Molyvos), is a preserved traditional settlement, picturesque and elegant, among the most unspoiled in the Greek islands. The highlights here include the imposing medieval fortress, narrow streets, mansions, stone houses, ottoman remnants and ouzeries. Moving west, you arrive at the worldwide famous Eresos, birthplace of Sappho, with its super touristic seaside resort of Skala Eresou. The settlement of fertile Kalloni, at the homonymous bay, is another developed resort and a vivid commercial centre, while southern Plomari is the island’s second largest coastal town, famous for the ouzo and soap production. Wherever you go, Lesvos is generous with scents and flavors; it has a magical way to refresh your body and soul and make your vacation here totally worthwhile.

Beaches Food Things to see & do

Agios Ermogenis

: This tranquil, picturesque sandy cove, featuring the small chapel of St Ermogenis, is surrounded by pine trees that contrast beautifully with the azure waters.
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Eftalou

: The main, organized pebbly beach of Eftalou and the neighboring smaller coves are excellent for swimming and relaxation. Nearby, you can visit the famed hot springs of the homonymous area.
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Tsonia

: Reddish sand and crystalline waters make this beach one of the most beautiful at the area of Mantamados. Just make sure you bring your own supplies.    
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Tarti

: Located at the gulf of Yera, this is a quiet, sandy beach with lovely waters. Delicious fresh fish is available at the nearby tavernas.
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Skala Eressou

: A long, organized beach with grayish sand and crystal clear waters, located at the famous touristic resort of Eressos. It is one of the most popular -and crowded- on the island.
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Vatera

: 9 km of sandy, fully organized seashore situated at one of Lesvos’ most popular settlements. Here you can enjoy the sun, practice water sports, taste fresh fish and many more.
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The Women’s Co-Operative

: Petra, Greek cuisine.
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Angelos Taverna

: Molyvos, Greek cuisine.
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Ambrosia

: Skala Kallonis, Greek cuisine.
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Antonis Ouzeri

: Mytilini, Greek cuisine.
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Tropicana

: Molyvos, Greek cuisine.
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The Petrified Forest

: A unique, astonishing natural phenomenon and a top attraction among the Greek islands. The Petrified Forest of Lesvos (protected Natural Monument and member of UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network) is a forest ecosystem comprised of hundreds of fossilized trees, which were covered by volcanic material and petrified 20 million years ago. The forest occupies 150.000 acres in the area of the settlements Sigri, Eressos and Andissa. Moreover, don’t miss the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest in Sigri, as well as the National History Collection at the village of Vrissa.
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Soap Factory Museum

: All about the procedure and secrets of soap production (also at Plomari).
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Vranas Oil Press Museum

: The historic oil press, built in 1887 by Nikolaos Vranas (grandfather of the Nobel Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis) in the area of Papados, has been recently restored as both a model museum of oil-processing industry and a high-profile cultural venue.
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Digital Museum George Iakovidis

: The first fully digital museum in Greece exhibits the renowned painter’s work via display and interaction digital systems. It is located at his birthplace, Hidira.
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Theofilos Museum

: Located next to the Tériade Museum (at the area of Varia, Mytilini), it was founded by Tériade himself and displays the paintings of the famous local folk artist Theofilos Chatzimichail.
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The Museum–Library of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade

: It exhibits the legacy of its establisher, the prominent art critic, publisher and native Str. Eleftheriadis, which became associated with works of the most important 20th c painters (Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, etc).  It is situated in Varia.
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Archaeological Museum in Mytilini

: Housed in two buildings, it initiates the visitor to Lesvos’ history during ancient times.
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Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production

: Housed in the old communal oil-mill in Agia Paraskevi village, it shows all the stages of oil processing, plus the old machinery and equipment.
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Barbayannis Ouzo Museum

: Based in Plomari, it unfolds 150 years of tradition in making the famous ouzo Barbayannis.
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Waterfalls and thermal springs

: Visit the waterfalls of Man’ Katsa (near Mantamados), Pessa, Vatousa and Andissa. The island’s hot springs can be found at the villages of Eftalou, Loutropoli Thermi, Polichnitos and at Yera Bay.
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Ouzo power

: Ouzo makes the world go round on Lesvos. Accompany it with mezedes (small plates of food) in one of the numerous ouzeries and feel the Greek island spirit. As for the island’s other goodies, do try the olive oil, wine, cheese, honey and sardines Kalloni, as well as other kinds of delicious fish, salted or not.
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Bird watching at Kalloni

: The Kalloni Bay wetland is a well-known destination for bird watching aficionados, who gather here mostly in springtime. This Natura 2000 protected area is an important ecosystem that shelters numerous bird species.
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Pilgrim destinations

: Religious tourism is also popular in Lesvos. Believer or not, these sites are worth visiti ng anyhow, plus they are located at some of the island’s most beautiful villages: Agios Rafail at Thermi, Moni Taxiarchi at Mantamados, Moni Ipsilou at Andissa, Panagia Glykofiloussa at Petra and Panagia Vrefokratousa at Agiassos.
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More activities

: Hiking, spa, water sports, climbing, cycling, sailing, tennis and scuba diving are also available in Lesvos.
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Festivals

: Every year, the municipality of Mytilini organizes a series of cultural events titled “Lesbian Summer”, while in August the town celebrates the “Ouzo Festival”. Also, note the International Eressos Women's Festival (Lesvos’ annual festival meeting of women from all over the world, with many art events, workshops and other activities).
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Map of Lesvos

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