Lesbos (North Aegean)


Lesbos is a historic island on the Northeastern Aegean, filled with castles, monasteries, catacombs, basilicas and even a mosque, all of which are pieces that complete the mosaic of its rich past. Nowadays, the island is home to numerous fishing villages, wonderful beaches and an extraordinary number of sightseeing opportunities. Although tourism infrastructure has developed vastly, Lesbos has managed to retain its traditional vibe. Due to its large size, a car is necessary if you are on a mission to discover all of its hidden treasures. Some of the most renowned villages include Molyvos, Mytilene, Agiassos, Plomari and Skala Sikamias. Beaches are usually small pebbled bays, some organized but most completely secluded, even in high season.

The most important of the island's numerous attractions are the Castles of Molyvos and Mytilene - with the later mentioned as early as in Homer's epic poems, the Petrified Forest which is a testament to nature's wondrous power and on the tentative list to become a UNESCO world heritage, the Monastery of Saint Raphael which has been a famous site of pilgrimage for generations and the Roman Aqueduct whose presence alone betrays the geopolitical importance Lesbos has had throughout the centuries.

Mytilene is the island's capital and main port, located on the southeastern side of Lesvos. Mytilene is a modern place that to this day proudly exhibits its medieval architecture. The Old Town is the heart of the island's nightlife, as it is there that you will find bars and restaurants as well as a number of fish taverns. The city's castle was originally built in the medieval times but has undergone many transformations by the Genovese and the Turks. The city is also home to an archaeological museum, which is only one of the many spread around the island.

The best time to visit is in late spring – the sea has warmed up to feasible swimming temperatures and locals outnumber tourists – and early autumn, when most of the tourists have departed and the sea is at its warmest. The view of the petrified forest in the autumn is a site to see.

Lesbos is quite far from the mainland so the sea transport system is not advisable if your starting point is Athens.  By ferry it would take about 10 hours to get there. Luckily, daily flights from Athens can get you to Lesbos in just 50 minutes.

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