Lesbos, a magical island located in the north-eastern part of the Aegean Sea, is the largest island of the area, and it is even the third largest of all Greek islands after Crete and Evia. With its area of 1630 km² and the coast length of 320 km, it is the eighth largest island in the Mediterranean. You can get there by sea on a ferry or a boat from Piraeus or the islands of Samos and Syros, but also from several other ports; or you can make use of the international airport and travel comfortably by air. On land, the best is to walk; but if you don’t like long hiking tours (the island is still quite big), you should better rent a car or a (motor)bike (for the list of rental services, see Lesbos car and scooter hire).
The capital town of Lesbos is Mytilene, a port and a student town which can be found in the south-east of the island. About one third of the total of 100 island hundred inhabitants lives there. Except the perfect architecture of the colourful houses and villas, you can also see there the remains of the Byzantine fortress, several museums, many churches, and obviously visit some of the many tavernas, bars and restaurants. To get a better idea of where all the places are located, see the section Lesbos Island Map.
The origin of the name ‘Lesbos’
The thing that inevitably comes to your mind is what the connection is between the island name and women who feel sexual attraction to other women, the lesbians. The explanation is quite simple and it is rooted in the ancient mythology - the island gained its name after the god named Lesbos this area was dedicated to and whose task was to protect the island against danger and natural disasters. Yet when the illustrious poet Sappho was born on the island around 600 BC, who celebrated women in her works, expressing her more than friendly relationship with them, the island started to be associated with female homosexuality, and therefore the island name gave rise to the designation of lesbian women - who consider the island to be a kind of their symbol and so many of them come there to spend their holidays.
Nonetheless the gifted poet wasn’t the only one of the personages who spent their life on Lesbos. It was also Aristotle, the illustrious Greek philosopher and thinker, who spend there some time teaching. Epicuros, great philosopher and ethicist, but also the fabulist Aesop whose instructive stories from the life of animals are told to children till nowadays.
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Lesbos: Character of the island
Lesbos Island, despite being a very popular target of the tourists from all over the world, doesn’t adapt to tourism more than necessary, and so it can boast both bustling holiday resorts and charming, almost virgin nature and many well-preserved historical sites. The island has something to offer both for families with children, whether they travel to dicsover the island or to rest actively, and young couples or small groups who want to enjoy their holidays to the fullest.
Weather and climate on Lesbos
The climate on Lesbos is Mediterranean, therefore very nice. The island has the most sunny days in a year from the Aegean Sea. During summer (from May to October), the temperature ranges between 20 and 35°C, and there is almost no precipitation. In some parts you can experience a bit colder wind which is more than welcome on the sultry days though. During winter, rainy days are followed by sunny weather with lower temperatures than in summer, and so the island is tempting the visitors even in this season, especially those who are not very fond of the summer heat. For detailed information on weather, see the section Lesbos - Weather
Lesbos interior and places of interest
Lesbos landscape, covering quite a vast area of more than 1 500 m2, is mountainous, but with enough green vegetation. Although this piece of land has been formed by volcanic activity which led to the formation of mountain massifs and thermal springs, the island has plenty of bushes, trees, pine forests and olive groves. One of the forests is even pertified and it remembers the times of many millions of years ago. You can visit it in the west of the island and despite its small size, you can only find a larger forest of this kind in the US. Therefore it is absolutely unique and it belongs to the national historical sites.
With the quality vegetation, it is also the fauna that flourishes on the island. The island is especially popular among ornithologists, as birds from various regions come there for the summer.
The already mentioned hot springs can be found on several places on the island. In the north-west, you can find Loutropoleos in the region called Thermi that has been known for its healing effects on rheumatism, indigestion or skin diseases. The water temperature reaches a bit more than 45°C, just like in the place called Eftalou in the same part of the island (where the water has similar effects). The former Turkish baths (Turkey is not even 10 km far from there) can be found in the east in the Geras Bay, with the water temperature near 40°C. The hottest springs can be found near the town of Polichnitos in the western part of the island which can boast the temperature of nearly 90°C, pertaining to the hottest springs in Europe.
You can find most of the places of interest, historical sites, beaches and natural sites in the menu on the left in the List of sites - you will find there Monasteries, Museums and historical sites but also Villages and Tourist resorts.
Lesbos beaches are truly extraordinary. A dozen of them boasts the Blue Flag award for quality and water cleanliness, and the others are not far from perfection either. The most visited and most popular beaches are: Agios Isodoros (ranking among the beaches in Greece), Kagia (a beach with reddish sand that can be accessed the best from the sea side), Kampos (a calm beach not offering a high level of comfort but providing enough privacy), Mylovos (a beach boasting the EU Blue Flag award for quality and clanliness, suitable for (sun)bathing and water sports, with regular sports and cultural events being held there for the public), Mytilene (a beach located right next to the port in the island capital, providing everything you need to enjoy your holidays), Nifidas (a beach suitable for bathing and relaxation, with enough refreshment shops and the possibility to observe rare bird species in its surroundings), Petra (ranking among the most popular resorts of the island, and so fully equipped), Plomari (a sandy beach with a gentle slope into the water, thus perfect for families with children and non-swimmers), Sigri (a beach ideal for rest, swimming and sunbathing, with all the services needed), Skala Kalloni (a sandy beach with shallow access to the sea, completely equipped), Vatera (about 7 km long beach covered with goldish sand, awared the EU Blue Flag for quality and well protected against the wind).
For an overview of all the beaches, see the section Lesbos beaches.
What to do on Lesbos?
It is certainly worth to visit some of the local pubs and taste some of the local gastronomic specialites - including a dish prepared from sea fish, especially sardines, typical for Lesbos waters. A famous and tasty traditional Greek anise alcoholic beverage is ouzo - the ouzo produced here in the village of Plomari is said to be the best in the whole Greece. Other top quality products are the local olive oil and fruits and vegetables.
In the north of the island, the place worth visiting is the town of Molyvos of which the history is dated back to the MIddle Ages and which is very popular among the tourists - its stone houses with red roofs built on the slope, with a huge Byzantine fortress towering above and the green coast with the blue waters of the Aegean Sea is an experience that no Lesbos visitor would like to miss.
There are not many travel agencies offering tours to Lesbos Island. You can find most of the tours in our overview, Lesbos - Tours centre, but we would also recommend to see the latest offers and discounts in the sites of the travel agencies (for their list, see the chart).
Video from Lesbos
And here is a short video - slideshow from the whole island: