Lesvos is a captivating Greek island known for its rich history, stunning mansions, and warm hospitality. And we’ve put together our top 8 experiences to help you explore this beautiful destination.
Α trip to the third largest island of Greece offers experiences that one cannot imagine exist on a single island. Lesvos, the homeland of Elytis, Myrivilis, Venezis, Theophilos, and Sappho, reveals so many different faces and carries on its soil a strong heritage that locals are proud of- discover more here.
Explore Mytilini, the glorious capital
The history of the capital of Lesvos dates back to the 10th century BC. You will feel the thrill once you start driving along the coastal road, next to a series of old mansions – each with its distinct architectural style, clearly competing in glamor and excellence. Just wait until the sunset. A picture-postcard image waits for you, as the sun spreads its warm light on the neoclassical buildings of the waterfront with the triangular roofs, the bell tower of the Metropolis, and the castle of Mytilini, one of the largest in the Mediterranean. In the narrow back alleys, you will find Ladadika, a historic district of Mytilini that is buzzing with cool bars and taverns serving local recipes. Stop by the Ermis cafe and restaurant with two hundred years of history and decor that prove it. Drink a Greek coffee on the embers and try recipes from Asia Minor. Stop by important Ottoman monuments, such as the Yeni Mosque and the Charsi Hammam, and walk along Ermou Street with its modern and antique shops, while in the Varia area, visit the famous museum of the popular painter Theophilos and the Tériade Museum of Modern Art with works by Matisse, Miró, Picasso, and Tsarouchis.
Relax in thermal waters at Therma Spa
Just outside of Mytilini, indulge in the beneficial properties of Therma Spa Lesvos (tel. 2251041503). The thermal water comes to the surface from a depth of 2,500 meters, penetrating various rocks along the way that enrich it with valuable ingredients for health and wellbeing, as it gushes out like an artesian at a temperature of 39.5 ℃.
Wander in the fossil forest
20 million years ago, volcanic ash covered a large part of the North Aegean and “froze” in time tree trunks, branches, leaves, roots, and even some animals that once lived here. Today the fossilized forest of Lesvos is a valuable natural museum. It is often referred to as the “Pompeii of the plant world” and is a member of the UNESCO global network of geo-parks.
Visit Plomari, the homeland of ouzo
The picturesque cobbled streets of Plomari are eagerly waiting for you to cross them to experience the special atmosphere of a place that knew great development in the 19th century since it had many olive mills, soap factories, a nuclear factory, and ouzo factories (today in the island’s cafes you can try all 20 different ouzo labels from local producers). After the Asia Minor Catastrophe, Plomari lost part of its old glory, as the possibility of trading with the Turkish coast stopped. At the same time, the recent earthquake of 2017 has also left its mark. On the waterfront of the port, you will take a photo of the Athanasiadeion, also known as the “Great Cafe”, one of the most magnificent cafes on the island. A hallmark of the settlement is the century-old plane tree in the central square, which is said to have been planted in 1813.
Discover the joy of bird-watching
The location of Lesvos in the Eastern Mediterranean and its wide variety of wetlands form the ideal passage for the endemic and migratory birds from Asia, Africa, and Europe. At least 134 different species pass by the island (from black storks, white storks, brown geese, avocados, wine birds, sea urchins to pink flamingos). Wooden houses in Agia Paraskevi, Dipio – Larsos, and Kalloni, are observatories for rare and protected birds.
Visit Molyvos, a village with the world’s most beautiful alley
Mithymna, or Molyvos as it was called during the Middle Ages, is situated on a small mountain topped by the dramatic Castle of Mithymna, one of the best preserved in the Eastern Mediterranean. Walk along the main cobbled street of the settlement, and wander around the main market with charming shops and little cafes. During spring, the wisteria creates a purple pergola above the cobblestones that certainly resembles paradise. In the park of Molyvos, the old oil factory has been transformed into one of the most interesting hotels on the island. It is worth seeing the picturesque fishing port of Molyvos, with boats and trawls.
Agiasos, a village “time machine”
Built on the slopes of Mount Olympus, Agiasos will inspire you with its vivid appearance, right from its square with the colourful chairs. It is impossible not to meet Mrs. Efstratia Tourvalis and her corner shop (with the climbing plant intertwined with her creations) standing in the same spot for 64 years. She will welcome you with the local dialect of the inhabitants of Agiasos, blowing a whistle that produces bird sounds. Opposite this shop, you will find the Reading Room of Agiasos (which was founded in 1894 during the Turkish occupation and continues its multifaceted activity to this day without interruption), to meet the teacher of santouri (instrument of the hammered dulcimer) Mr. Zafiriou who plays the unique traditional music of Asia Minor. A few steps further up are enough to see the “coffee houses”. Enjoy a coffee in the embers and “kainari”, a drink with many spices that are made only in Agiasos. Savor the traditional sweet “placeta” that resembles baklava under the shade of the vine, in this picturesque alley next to the impressive church of Panagia of Agiasos.
Visit Agios Taxiarchis Monastery
Taxiarchis is the patron saint of Lesvos. It is said that he wore iron shoes and ran everywhere to protect the Christians. The dark face of the icon is full of power as it projects through the shimmering silver frame. Even today, pilgrims have mixed feelings about this unique image. Sometimes they see the Saint’s face as very wild and sometimes very calm and familiar, believing that in this way the Saint is trying to convey various messages to them. According to tradition, all of the monks at this monastery were massacred during a Saracen raid. The only survivor was a young novice, Gabriel, who was hiding on the roof and saw the roof tiles miraculously turned into a stormy sea and Archangel Michael wielding his sword against the attackers and fighting them off. While the vision was still fresh in his memory, the novice made an icon of the saint using the soil and the blood of the fallen monks.
Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou ©