Destinations, North Aegean Islands

Lesvos (Mytilini)

Lesvos (Mytilini)

The beautiful island of Lesvos (Mytilini or Mytilene) is characterized by its mild Mediterranean climate, charming traditional villages, notable examples of 19th century industrial architecture (mills, soap factories, tanneries) that impress all visitors.

Lesbos, is also known for the fossilized forest that covers the Sigri-Eressos-Antissa area. This protected natural monument since 1985 it is a forest ecosystem that fossilized 15-20 million years ago, due to intense volcanic activity in the area that included coniferous forests, and especially huge redwoods and pine trees. It is one of the rarest natural monuments in the world (the only ecosystem similar today is the coniferous forests in Arizona in northern America), visited by thousands of tourists. The Petrified Forest was declared a Natural Monument and a member of the Global Geopark Network. In the forest you can see hundreds of green, yellow and black trunks of conifers and other fallen or standing with giant root systems intact. Here is the thickest trunk in the world (circumference 13.7m) and the highest in Europe (7.02m).

It is the third largest island of Greece, after Crete and Euboea, with an area of ​​1,630 km and a coastline of 370 km. It has 90,000 inhabitants. It is famous for two products, ouzo and olive oil.

It took its name from the mythical hero Lesbos who came here with Lapithes of Thessaly and married Mythimna. During prehistoric times it was a very important cultural center of the North Aegean and it flourished economically and commercially during the archaic times, (centuries XVII and XVI AC.)

It is the homeland of the famous ancient poets Sapfo and Alkaios.

During the Greek War of Independence in 1821, many of the island’s residents were fighters and members of Filiki Etairia. Lesbos was liberated in 1912 by the Treaty of Lausanne. Many refugees from the coast of Asia Minor settled on the island after the Asia Minor catastrophe (1922), and the population exchange agreement.

Lesbos’s contribution to the arts and literature has been invaluable. Eminent personalities such as Arion, Terpandos, Theophrastus, Pittakos Mytilineos, Theophilus, Il. Venezis, Str. Myrivilis, Arg. Eftaliotis (Kleanthis Michailidis), G. Iakovidis and the plastic artist Str. Elefteriadis were born here.

Mytilene is the capital of Lesbos and the prefecture, and is one of the oldest Greek cities as well as the administrative center of the North Aegean. It extends over seven hills and traditional houses coexist harmoniously with neoclassical mansions, Byzantine temples, refugee quarters and ancient monuments.

Mithymna (Metimna) or Molyvos situated on the north-west coast of Lesbos, is one of the most touristic villages on the island and at the same time the most charming. It is characterized by the natural beauty of its surroundings and its picturesque architecture. Its traditional houses made of stone and wood, painted in bright colors, many of which date back to the 18th century, create a beautiful landscape. The Byzantine castle built on a hill above Molyvos dominates the entire region and the archaeological remains of the ancient city of Mithymna attract many visitors every year. You can see part of the old wall, tombs and buildings of Roman times.

Eresos – Antissa, lies to the west of Mytilene, with its 3 kilometers of pristine beach of crystal clear waters, is a unique village offering a warm welcome to travelers from all over the world. It is an ideal place for a relaxing holiday where the visitor can find a wide variety of services such as restaurants, shops, pubs, yoga classes, massages, various therapies and much more … Eresos is the birthplace of poet Sapfo as well as being the mecca of honor for lesbians around the world. It is also a popular destination for families, couples and the favorite beach destination for the inhabitants of Lesvos.

Every year in September, the Eressos Women’s Festival is held. For two weeks you can enjoy concerts, exhibitions, outdoor activities while the festival attracts many visitors from all over the world.

The bay of Kalloni, is an exceptional place, known for the quantity of sardines that are fished in its waters and for its quality due to its high mineral content. If you are in Lesbos at the beginning of August do not miss the sardine festival, it is a very fun popular party with music and traditional dances.

The town of Kalloni lies in a huge, leafy valley that borders the Kalloni Bay. This valley full of olive groves is home to many different species of birds and wildflowers, and in spring it is visited by bird watchers from all over the world.

In several localities of Lesbos there are thermal sources with curative properties, advisable for the cure of the rheumatism, arthritis, diseases of the uterus, joints and much more. In Polichnitos are the hottest natural sources in Europe, near Molyvos are the Eftalou fountains, in Skala Thermi there are historical baths that were used since antiquity and were dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Other thermal baths are located in Thermi in the Gulf of Yera and finally there is the Karini fountain which is cold water coming from the earth in a stone pool.

On the island of Lesbos you will find beaches for all tastes, organized and full of tourists but very beautiful beaches with very clean waters such as Molyvos, Petra, Skala Eressou and Vatera, in Skala Kallonis can practice water sports and for those who prefer peace the beaches of Agios Stefanos and Kampos are the least frequented.

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