Molyvos or Mithimna, as it was called during the ancient times, is a traditional preserved settlement of Lesvos Island – with medieval architecture and a romantic atmosphere it has kept its true character throughout the times.
Our visit to Molyvos started from its Genovese castle, one of the best preserved (of its kind) in the Eastern Mediterranean. The view of the settlement from up there, with its red-tiled buildings, the blue Aegean Sea, and the lush green olive trees creates a unique mosaic – enhanced by the sweet colors of the sunset.
As we walked down the cobbled alleyways, we passed by stone-built and wooden houses (one of the reasons why Molyvos was declared a traditional settlement in 1965), charming little shops selling local products like olive oil, herbs, and honey or ceramics; as well as fountains with inscriptions left over from the Ottoman Empire era, traditional kafeneia (cafes), and locals chatting in their gardens filled with sprawling pot plants.
Soon we found ourselves in an alleyway that was voted the most beautiful in the world. A road covered by a stunning flower called wisteria. Every time it’s in bloom, this road is covered with pretty purple flowers.
Shortly after we reached a dead-end, some steps on our right hand invited us to the traditional Hammam. From the entrance, we were led to a marble vestibule under a perforated dome, and from there we headed to an impressive circular bath with a series of individual marble baths under an equally perforated dome.
In Molyvos, there are also impressive neoclassical houses like the Komninaki-Kralli Mansion, which today functions as an annex of the School of Fine Arts; a highlight is its top floor, which is decorated with murals created by popular painters.
The main roads of the village lead to the town square, featuring a big plane tree and the striking mansions surrounding it. There are also some incredible Byzantine churches inclduding Agios Panteleimon and Taxiarchis.
We made a stop at “Balkonaki” to enjoy galaktoboureko (custard pie) and a perfect view, before ending up at the picturesque fishing port of Molyvos, with the lovely chapel of Agios Nikolaos, as well as boats and trawls, and tavernas featuring song lyrics from old Greek movies and poems splattered on the traditional wooden chairs. This is the place, where once upon a time the great Greek novelist Ilias Venezis sat to drink his Greek coffee. We also visited some charming mansions (painted in pretty pastels) on the coastal road. From here you can enjoy views of the castle and the charming rooftops of the many homes.
If you are visiting in the warmer months and want to cool off, head to Molyvos Beach, which is located in the village. Additionally, at a distance of approximately 3 kilometers from Molyvos, you will find Eftalou, a beach with small pebbles, and famous for its thermal springs. Just keep in mind, that the sea here remains cold no matter how warm the weather is, which is probably due to the steep drop of the sea bottom or the sea currents. However, the remarkable “sauna” of the Eftalou thermal springs remains warm and is known for its therapeutic benefits.
Images by Polina Paraskevoupoulou ©