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Lesvos island

Information about Lesvos

general information
  • Lesvos belongs to the North Eastern Aegean cluster
  • Lesvos covers around 592,022 square km
  • Inhabitants approximately 108,046
  • Capital is Lesvos City
  • Coastline of 217 km
  • Connection with the ports of Igoumenitsa and Patra
  • Connection by ferry with the other North Eastern Aegean s
  • Lesvos has its own International Airport with daily flights from Athens and thessaloniki
Lesvos (Lesbos)also known as Mytilini is the largest island of the Aegean Sea covering an area of 1,630 square km approximately and having a population of some 90,000 residents.

Endowed generously by nature, it has a varied and fertile terrain composed by mountains and pine forests, fertile valleys, numerous olive groves and vineyards, hot springs and spectacular caves, scenic harbour and gulfs, endless award-winning beaches and serene coves.
The famed petrified forest of Sigri, the scattered hydrobiotopes and the Kalloni Gulf which are important stations for migratory birds and shelters of rich flora and fauna have declared Lesvos as a veritable paradise for botanist, bird-watchers and nature-lovers.

Quaint settlements and medieval villages, archaeological sites and historical monuments, castles and museums, old churches and imposing monasteries witness the deep-rooted history of this inland which has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Lesvos is also well-known for its rich culture and spiritual life. It is the birthplace of the ancient lyric poetesss Sappho, the poets Alceus and Arion, of the Nobel-Prize-winning Odysseus (Odysseas) Elytis and the painter Theofilos.

Lesvos of today has developed a descent tourist industry and though it offers any amenities, promising a comfortable staying and plenty of options for fascinating holidays, yet it has remained untouched by the massive tourism, saving thus its enchanting identity.

The first traces of habitation at Lesvos dates back to the Neolithic Age, while excavations finds have proved the existence of a well-developed civilization dating back to the Bronze Period. Around the 11th century BC the island was colonized by the Achaeans and the Aeolians, while the 7th century BC was marked by a turbulent political life and the flourishing of all kind of arts. Legendary figures such as Pittacus (one of the seven Sages of Antiquity) and the poets Sappfo and Alceus lived at those times. In the 5th century the island was dominated by the Persians, while around the 3rd Century BC it came under Macedonian and then under Egyptian rule. In the centuries followed Lesvos was dominated by the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Genoese, developing an important commercial and cultural activity. In 1462 it was conquered by the Ottomans and it was librated in 1912.

Mytilini the island’s capital and port with a population of some 27,000 residents. Amphitheatrically built around the harbour and crowned by an impressive Castle that is perched on a forest hill, the capital offers a unique pictures itself. A blend of contemporary and neoclassical mansions, of medieval buildings and Byzantine churches, fine squares, important museum and mosques compose the elegant and captivating identity of Mytilini. It is also a lively town, with cosy coffee shops, taverns and bars –most of them gathered the large waterfront- and an interesting cultural life. The Public Art Gallery and the Public Theatre , the 19th century Town Hall, the building of the High School, the Geni Mosque, the Public Library and the remarkable Church Of Agios Therapon are only few of the exquisite buildings of the capital.

Mytilini has also various and interesting museums such as the Old Archaeological one, that houses finds from the Prehistoric to the Post Roman Periods; the New Archaeological Museum, with impressive mosaics and wall painting dating back to the Classical, Hellenist and Romans Times among others; the Byzantine Museum and the Folklore Museum in which collections of traditional costumes and articrafts are exhibited.

The Teriade Museum-Library is an outstanding one, housing rare books illustrated by renowned 29th-century painters such as Picasso and Matisse and also paintings of famous Greek artists, while the Theofilos Museum houses a collection of paintings of this unique artist, for whom Odysseus Elytis has written his book “The painter Theofilos”.

The Castle of Mytilini located at the top of a verdant hill and built upon the ruins of the ancient acropolis. It impresses the visitor for it has integrated a blend of various architectural elements from the Byzantine, Genoese and Ottoman civilazations. In the surrounding area, worth-visiting sites are also the ancient theatre, the ruins of the Classical Walls and the ancient cemetery.

The delightful village of Agiasos (Agiassos), located some 25 km west to the capital, is a preserved traditional one built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a verdant hill that is covered by pine and oak trees. Being the religious and cultural centre of the island, Agiasos is characterized by charming tiled-roof houses, narrow cobbled alleys, quaint squares and blooming neighbourhoods. The wonderful churches of Zoodochou Pigis and the remarkable one of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, and the Folkrole Museum are prevailing features of the village’s charm.
Its locals are famed for their skills in wood- carving, pottery and music and in their workshops you will discover excellent pieced of folklore art.

At a distance of some 60 km northwest to the capital lies off Molyvos (or Mithimna/Mythimna); a picturesque coastal town and one of the most enchanting of Lesvos. Clinging on the slopes of a hill and crowned by an imposing Fortress of the 13th century, the town has admirably preserved its medieval colour. Stone houses, mansions, idyllic cobbled streets, impressive churches and a quaint natural harbour give a romantic touch to Molyvos. Besides its charm, the town is also known for the archaeological site of the ancient and important city of Mythimna, where remnants of its walls, of a necropolis and ruins of a Roman aqueduct have been uncovered.

Eresos, situated some 85 km west to the capital, is a peaceful picturesque village built in a site of natural beauty. Charmin houses, neoclassical mansions, idyllic narrow alleys and plane-shaded squares breathe a serene and nostalgic atmosphere. The long history of Eresos, which is the birthplace of the poetess Sappho, is witnessed by the ruins of the ancient city, the ruins of the acropolis and also by the impressive basilicas of Agios Andreas (St. Andrew) and the Church of Agias Irinis (St. Irene). Haven of Eresos , is the pretty lively Skala Eresou which gathers plenty of tourists for its fine beach and also for its intense night life. Other worth-seeing sites are the hydrobiotope of Skala Kallonis, a site of excellent natural beauty, the Temple of the Aphrodite (at the site of Mesa) and the petrified forest at the site of Sigri.

Lesvos offers a variety of excellent beaches famed for their crystal clear waters. Scattered around the island, pebbled or sandy, most of them are found in wonderful sites. Whether you enjoy relaxing in a serene cove, exercising sea sport activities or having fun in a lively beach in Lesvos you will definitely find your ideal beach.

The long sandy beach of Petra (at the homonymous resort) with fine waters; the beach of Skala Eresou, equally sandy and quite popular , the Skala Kalloni beach with sand, thick pebbles and shallow crystalline waters and the long-stretched and pebbled Agios isidoros beach (at the homonymous village) are the most popular organized ones.

The endless sandy beach of Vatera (at the homonymous town), though not organized is probably the most celebrated beach in Lesvos, for its fabulous waters and its beautiful scenery. Other non organized and peaceful beaches are the Melinta beach sandy with amazing crystalline waters (near the Plomari town), the sandy beach of Sigri embraced in a sheltered cove and the tree-shaded beach of Kagia, with pebbles and crystal clear waters.

Lesvos is reachable by sea via scheduled trips with ferries with the port of Piraeus. It is also linked with the islands of Samos (Vathy), Chios, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, Limnos, and with the ports of Thessaloniki, Kavala and Alexandroupoli (Evros Prefecture) .

Lesvos’ airport in linked via frequent flights with the Athens International Airport. There are also scheduled flights from and to the Airports of Chios, Samos, Limnos, Rhodes and Crete (Iraklio/Heralkio). During summer season it receives also charter flights from abroad.

Olympic Airlines (Athens): 210/9292111, 9666666
Olympic Airlines (Lesvos): 26610/386994/6
Patras Port Authority: 2610/341002
Lesvos Port Authority: 26610/32655
Igoumenitsa Port Authority: 26650/22235
Bus Terminal (Athens): 210 5124910-1, 5132601
Bus Terminal (Lesvos, urban transport): 26610/32158
Bus Terminal (Lesvos, inter-island transport): 26610/39862/31595
Bus Terminal Salonica: 2310/536260

Travel in North Eastern Aegean

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