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Empros Newspaper

How to use this guide

The Lesvos Guide includes a tour of the island with detailed information on the following: Shopping

in the most interesting shops on the island (clothing, jewelry, accessories, local delicacies, etc)


Useful information on public transport, tourist/travel agencies, connections to other islands, health services, rental cars and more

Where to Eat

Our choice of restaurants, tavernas, mezedopoleia and other eateries, bars, cafĂŠs and clubs

Where to Stay

Our choice of hotels, guest houses, rooms and bungalows from one end of the island to the other


The tour in each chapter starts out from the city of Mytilene and continues north, counterclockwise around the island. Consult the enclosed map, synchronize your pace to the itineraries we provide, and enjoy your tour of the island through native eyes.

Lesvos Guide 3

Contents 9

Welcome to the Island of Lesvos


In the Footsteps of History


Tradition versus Contemporary Lifestyle


Nature on the Island


Cosmopolitan Lesvos


Mytilene on Your Plate




Mytilene the Glorious City


Excursions around the Island


Municipality of Mytilene


Municipality of Thermi


Municipality of Mantamados


Municipality of Mithymna


Municipality of Petra


Municipality of Eressos – Antissa


Municipality of Kalloni


Municipality of Aghia Paraskevi


Municipality of Polichnitos


Municipality of Agiassos

101 Municipality of Plomari 107 Municipality of Yera 111 Municipality of Everyetoulas 113 Shopping 119 DATA



Here’s to the flavor of aniseed, which makes ouzo the most Mytilenian drink in the world! o mama’s stuffed eggplants, to keftes (meatballs) with cumin, to the coarsegrained trachanas (wheat porridge), to fresh touloumotyri cheese strained in a goatskin bag, to phoinikia biscuits with drenched in katastalachti (syrup), to must-flavored vrasmatoloukoumia cookies, and… to baklavas. To the cherry liqueur that transforms chopped ice into burgundy granita. To papalina (sardines) briefly cured in coarse sea salt, which supplant sushi, and to the traditional ouzo, served in a chilled shot glass at the trendiest eateries. Here’s to this entire gourmet journey through a land filled with history and culture, with rare and timeless architectural monuments, renowned sites of Christian worship, and unique natural monuments such as the world famous Petrified Forest in the southwestern part of the island. Mytilene, capital of Lesvos and all the Aegean, welcomes you! The Lesvos Guide gives you the very latest information on everything important and fun happening on the island. It provides you with pleasant moments and relates those enchanting tales, told for centuries in what is perhaps the most beautiful and certainly the most comprehensive island in Greece. Holiday fever has taken hold. You feel the salt of the Aegean on your skin and your reservations are in hand. Already the battles are underway for the hottest spots on the island. The crowds are in synch with the Lesvos ambience as each year the island offers its visitors something new, something different and something more! Will you be there?

Efi Yialousi-Hatzchristou

Lesvos Guide 5


am delighted to preface this guide to the island of Lesvos, the diachronic benchmark for tourism growth in Greece.

The success of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games established Greece as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. This is especially significant given today’s increasingly competitive global market. By adopting a new aesthetic and image that transcends the traditional model of “sun and sea,” Greece has augmented its tourism identity with new, specialized areas of individual and group activity. Greece is in the midst of a particularly creative phase of developing, promoting and supporting its tourism product. Lesvos, long a preferred destination, is playing a leading role in tourism growth. Its unique physical attributes, which have been successfully preserved and exploited through tradition and architecture, make Lesvos a gleaming jewel in the crown of Greece. In the new era currently unfolding on a global scale, the Aegean Islands can continue to be the vanguard of the Greek tourism product. This guide is commendable for presenting the tourism capabilities of Lesvos in the best possible fashion.

Aris Spiliotopoulos Minister of Tourism

Lesvos Guide 7


Published by the newspaper Empros Publisher: Manolis Manolas Text: Effie Gialousi-Hatzichristou Editor: Panagiotis Myritzis

Corrections: Stefania Bak ali, Marianthi Paraskeva Translation: Andrea Gilbert

Photographs: Studio Karteris, Yannis Yiannelos Archival photographs: Empros Arhives, Stratis Myroyannis, Thomas Mavrofidis, V. Anagnostou, Danil Tziorbatzis, Efi Yialousi-Hatzichristou, and The Municipal Archives Art Director: Christos Paraskevaidis Layout: Dimitris Kambouridis, Harikleia Mantzourani, Myrto Papadelli Coordination: Anastasia Bamboula Production: EPIKOINONIA LESVOU Ltd. Map: Cartography and Geo-Informatics Laboratory, Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean

Empros Newspaper

Kara TepĂŠ, 81100 Mytilene Tel: +3022510 41619 Fax: +3022510 27300 Email: URL: Lesvos Guide The Lesvos Guide Life in Style may be reprinted, reproduced, duplicated or otherwise distributed in part or whole without written permission from the publisher. Distributed free of charge

8 Lesvos Guide

Welcome to the Island of Lesvos! You are now at one of the illustrious crossroads of civilizations, a place where nature achieves greatness through its variations of green and boundless blue.

The island



rom the hotspots of Mytilene to the kalderimia (cobbled paths) of Agiassos, to picturesque Megalohori and to untouched Bouro, from out-ofthe-way coves to fashionable beaches, from the quietest hamlets to the liveliest villages, we have walked step by step across Lesvos. And we have chosen unique itineraries and the most enchanting highlights for you to enjoy to the utmost the exciting things Lesvos has to offer. We describe the features of each of each destination, and introduce you to the hospitable residents, the hidden nooks and crannies, as well as all the new trends that are worth discovering now more than ever! Given that Greece is one the most beautiful countries in the world and the Aegean Isles among the most impressive on the planet, Lesvos plays a leading role as their spokesperson. In its own unique way, Lesvos combines a Mediterranean landscape with an impres-

10 Lesvos Guide

sive culinary culture, and an aristocratic tradition with a cosmopolitan lifestyle. You have arrived in enchanting Lesvos. Prepare yourself for the holidays of your dreams! Sun-drenched Lesvos, with the most sunshine in Europe, an unusually diverse landscape and uncontestable natural beauty, spreads like an open fan in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Mytilene – as its capital, and for some the entire island, is called – has been blessed by Nature with wine-dark and turquoise seas and exotic beaches, some of which are sandy, others have rocks, and still others pebbles or grasses. The city reveals itself in all its beauty to those of you arriving by sea. Through the morning mist, its harbor greets you with the dome of the church of Agios Therapon, the arched neoclassical buildings along the waterfront, the peaked roofs influenced by the architecture of northern Europe, the bell tower of the Cathedral, the fortress to the right, and the hill of Agia Kyriaki with its ancient theatre. Glorious Mytilene bids you the warmest of welcomes!

the island



You’ll experience the fascinating blend of grandeur and intimacy, of majesty and minutia in all the island has to offer: in the landscape, the history, the traditions, the architecture, the gastronomy, and in today’s way of life. Lesvos is exactly what it promises to be! Villages untouched by time and the hand of modern man stand imperiously, delighting the visitor with their romantic air of a bygone era. Many are nationally protected seaside or mountain settlements, which recall a quality of life that is gradually and sadly being eclipsed. Ideal for exploration, Lesvos reveals its splendor to you when you least expect it. Whichever direction you choose to set of on, one thing is certain: you will never have a moment’s boredom. Here, paradise does not end at an idyllic landscape. Behind every vista, a story and some hidden grandeur await discovery, exuding a heady mixture of East and West. The island’s diversity is expressed in all its natural attributes. This beautiful landscape possesses a rich history, a plethora of paleontological finds and fossils, rare flora, fascinating vegetation, and

world-famous wetlands.

Don’t Miss

Venetian fortresses and abandoned monuments from bygone eras imperiously line the country roads that wind through farms, gardens and orchards, indelibly engraving themselves on the visitor’s memory like magical interludes in time. The transitions in the landscape are spectacular. Mountains, scrublands, ravines, springs, cultivated fields, pine forests, chestnut and olive groves, deserted watermills, picturesque wooden bridges, unexplored caves and, right beside them, solitary little chapels, stately monasteries, Roman aqueducts, coves tranquil as lakes, and unique beaches with crystal-clear water will take your breath away. Green mountains with broad plateaus and deep gorges coexist in harmony with pine-covered slopes, majestic firs, and the rugged barren, almost mystical volcanic landscapes. The looming cliffs and steep mountains of Olympos, Ordymnos and Lepetymnos are only a stride away from coastal fishing villages and hillside settlements. The vast sandy beaches and tiny picturesque

Lesvos Guide 11

The island Plomari

leeward coves, which remain tranquil even in the heart of the summer, offer relaxation, sunbathing, paddle ball, yoga, and of course thrilling sunsets. Whatever you do, be sure to take some natureloving hikes through amazing gorges and along shady trails. And then bathe in the island’s thermal springs, to revive yourself you after your meanderings along the cobbled paths and narrow alleyways of the island’s picturesque.

The Island’s People

Although nearly every village has its own characteristics, culture and dialect – or dopiolalia as it is called – all the inhabitants of Lesvos are kind and hospitable, with a lively interest in the arts and letters. The island’s complexity is a fervent advocate for the diversity of its people, who are distinguished for their sophistication. The coastal spots that have developed with tourism will impress you with their cosmopolitan atmosphere. And the inland areas will amaze you with their air of authenticity and tradition. You can discern many Asia Minor influences in the urban culture as well as in the villages up north, since many inhabitants from those parts excelled and became national benefactors.

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A unique way to see the island An excellent way to see the island is to divide it into sections, staying several days in area to sample its rare beauty at a leisurely pace. So far, Lesvos has managed to keep package and mass forms of tourism at bay. And while it is hardly lacking in visitors, it still remains largely untouched, offering hidden treasures to those who seek them out. In the city of Mytilene and most other tourist spots, you’ll find a range of outstanding accommodations with small and mid-sized hotels to suite every budget. In addition, there are modern stylish hotels and old mansions that have been converted into atmospheric guest houses, offering quality year-round hospitality. One suggestion would be to begin your holidays by staying the first few days in the city of Mytilene, then several more in Molyvos, Petra or Anaxos, followed by a visit to Kalloni or Plomari, and completing your acquaintance with Lesvos in Eressos or Sigri. If you stay in a place with good hotel infrastructure and use that as a departure point for excursions, you can leisurely discover and enjoy the sights and natural beauty of the surrounding area. The inland regions, densely wooded with pines or endless olive trees, are ideal for mountain biking and trekking.

In the Footsteps of History The course of time has left in its wake significant monuments as well as a host of medieval monasteries, fortresses and churches that will lure you into an unforgettable experience.



The Mytilene Fortress

he indelible traces of the island’s tumultuous history provide a timeless sampling of memories, castles and conquerors.

The Mytilene Fortress

The invitation to a journey back in time inevitably means an exploration of the island’s past through the ruins of the castle and its fortifications. These eloquent monuments tell of the role the fortress has played in the life and protection of the city from the Byzantine era to the present day. The Mytilene fortress stands on a small hill, the highest point on the peninsula, between the city’s northern and southern ports. It was the largest and strongest of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean. In ancient and Byzantine times, this peninsula was an island, separated from the rest of Lesvos by the Strait of Euripos. The Euripos was located approximately where Ermou Street is today and connected the northern and southern harbors. Silt and human intervention eventually eliminated the strait, transforming the islet into a peninsula. The original nucleus of the fortress, designed in Byzantine times, is believed to have been built on top of the ancient acropolis. The first significant alterations to the fortress were made by Francisco Gateluz-

14 Lesvos Guide

zo in 1373 during the period when the Gateluzzi family occupied and rebuilt the island (1355-1462). Other changes and additions followed, the most important of which was made in 1677 by the Ottomans, who were responsible for the lower north section of the fortifications. For construction material, they used many blocks from older buildings, particularly the ancient theatre of Mytilene, which was by then in decline. After the liberation from the Turks in 1912, the fortress was used as a barracks. The wanton use of the fortress after 1912 as a source of building material to construct refugee housing gradually brought about its ruin. Today you can distinguish the following sections of the fortress: The Acropolis (Upper Castle), on the southern and highest section of the hill. The Main Precinct (Middle Castle), the largest section, built by the Genovese Gateluzzi family. The Lower Precinct (Lower Castle), in the northwestern section, whose construction dates from the Turkish occupation. The most important monuments to see in the fortress are: the central western tower, known as the Queen’s Tower, with a dedication plaque bearing Gateluzzi coat of arms (the eagle and the four Bs of the Palaeologi emperors


ÂŤFaneromeniÂť Sigri

A Brief History

The island is inhabited as of 3300 BC According to Homer, it is attacked repeatedly by the Achaeans over the course of the Trojan War (12th or 13th century BC) The Aeolians settle there in the 10th century BC During Archaic Times (7th-6th centuries BC) under Pittacus (589-579 BC), Lesvos and its capital Mytilene bec ome an important co mmercial and cultural center 527-479 BC, the island falls into Persian hands Lesvos joins the Achaean League It is ruled in succession by the Macedonians, the Ptolemys, the Pontic king Mithridates (88-79 BC) and the Romans During the Byzantine Period it is in-

vaded by the Slavs, Saracens and the Catalans Levos becomes part of the Latin Empire of Constantinople (12041247) 1354. Byzantine emperor Michael Palaeologus turns the island over to the Genovese in exchange for their assistance in reclaiming the Byzantine Empire from Frankish rule (1261) 1462. Lesvos is conquered by the Turks 1912. It is liberated from the Turks and incorporated into the Modern Greek State 1922. Ten years later, the Smyrna (Izmir) disaster brings a flood of refugees to the island after a formal population exchange with Turkey

Lesvos Guide 15

History The Ancient Theatre of Mytilene

ed area opposite the fortress, near the old refugee quarter. It was built in Hellenistic times and restored by the Romans. What we see today is the final building phase, which dates from late-Roman times. Excavations carried out in the 1950s unearthed the circular orchestra and the horseshoe-shaped concave seating area, which has been calculated to have held 10,000 spectators. The orchestra is a full circle, with a diameter of approximately 24.20 meters. It is separated from the entirely ruined seating area by a wall, which was tiled in marble, and the skene, which is divided into three corridors. A gutter was constructed in the center to drain away rainwater. On the west side of the orchestra are two rooms hollowed out in the rock-face of the seating area. When the Roman general Pompey the Great visited Mytilene in 62 BC, he was so enthused by the theatre that he ordered its plan The Ancient Theatre copied, and a few years later, built one idenof Mytilene tical to it in Rome. The celebrated Ancient Theatre is situated on The theatre’s acoustics are considered on a par the northern hill of the city in a pine-wood- with those of Epidaurus.

of Byzantium); the Kulé Mosque; the Orta Kapu (Ottoman gate); a Gunpowder Storeroom; a Tekes (Islamic Monastery); an Ottoman Seminary; a Bathhouse; the Fountain; and the Cistern. The interior of the fortress is being excavated by the Canadian Archeological Institute, which has unearthed buildings from the Archaic and Classical periods as well as remains dating from medieval times. The Middle Fortress contains a number of buildings from the Ottoman period, including the Medreses, the hamam, the hospital and prison, a cesmes, and an unusual type of Cistern. In 2000, reconstruction began on the Orta Kapú (west-central gate) and the Cistern, and restoration is currently underway on the monument’s interior. In recent years, a space was created inside the fortress to host summer cultural events.

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Temple of «Mesa»

The City’s Museums

Archeological Museum of Mytilene

Old building: 7 A. Eftalioti St., Mytilene Tel: 22510 22081 New building: 8th of November St., Mytilene Tel: 22510 40223

The Archeological Museum is housed in two buildings. The old building is a former mansion and estate. With its lavish carved decoration, the building on its own is characteristic of the early 20th century eclectic architecture in the city. It contains finds from the excavations of the famous prehistoric settlement at Thermi, as well as exceptional column capitals from the island’s celebrated Aeolic temples.

Theophilos The naïf painter Theophilos (1873-1934) was born and spent his childhood in Vareia, a beautiful place that he loved dearly and depicted extensively in his paintings. A restless dreamer, Theophilos traveled from Smyrna (Izmir) on the Turkish coast to the Pelion peninsula on the east coast of mainland Greece and the inland city of Larissa, returning to Mytilene for good in 1926. There he was discovered by the celebrated art critic/publisher Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade, who literally removed him from obscurity by organizing a stunning exhibition of his paintings in Paris. Several of these paintings are currently displayed in the Louvre.


Illustrious Native Sons and Daughters from Antiquity to the Present Day Pittacus

One of the seven elders of antiquity, Pittacus was the elected tyrant of the island in the 8th-7th c. BC. He managed to stabilized the oligarchy and consolidate it on the island. “Prudent men look ahead and anticipate adversity but wise men are able to confront it.”

Sappho of Eresus Many scholars consider Sappho to be the most important lyric poet of all times. Her progressive upbringing and advanced education was remarkable for a woman of her day. She lived a vigourous life and traveled as far as Sicily. Politically active, she was even banished for a period. Sappho maintained a school in Mytilene that was attended by some 100 female pupils from all the flourishing Hellenic cities. From what we know of Sappho’s life, we can surmise that women enjoyed extensive freedoms and rights in Lesvos.

Theophrastus, Philosopher of Eresus The 4th c. BC philosopher Theophrastus of Ere-

The recently constructed modern building conforms to international museological standards. Its exhibits place emphasis on Roman-era Lesvos, and include mosaics, such as those from the famous “Menandros House,” frescos, sculpture, votives, funerary statues and more.

The Theophilos Museum

sus was Aristotle’s successor as head of his Peripatetic School in Athens, a post he held for many decades. Aristotle himself lived on the island for at least two years and they were both invited to Macedonia by Phillip to educate his son, Alexander [the Great].


Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade was born in May, 1897, in Mytilene and died in October, 1983, in Paris. At the age of 18 he left Lesvos for Paris, where he studied law. But his great love was always painting and he soon became an art critic. He collaborated extensively with the established publishers of his day. His articles on art in various periodicals, books and newspapers gained him worldwide recognition.

same building as the Theophilos Museum. Sixteen of its 20 rooms display the 29 books by the prominent art critic and publisher Eleftheriadis-Tériade, with illustrations by famous 20th century artists such as Picasso, Chagall, Villon, Leger, Matisse, and others. Each room has a showcase containing one of his books, intact. The surrounding walls display most of the book’s plates and pages, as well as paintings by the renowned Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis.

Vareia, Mytilene Tel: 22510 41644 This museum displays the paintings of the faThe Ecclesiastical mous local folk artist Theophilos. In operByzantine Museum ation since 1965, you will find it nestled in This museum has operated since 1978 in a a verdant olive grove in the Mytilene suburb private building in the center of town, just opof Vareia. posite the entrance to the church of Agios Therapon. Among its exhibits is a collection The Museum of Modern Art of portable icons spanning more than seven Eleftheriadis-Tériade Library centuries, the oldest of which date from the The Museum and Library are housed in the 13th century.

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Tradition versus Lifestyle Religious Feasts, Horse-races, Festivals and Dances Lesvos owes the preservation of its traditions primarily to its superb coastal and mountain villages, whose geographical isolation, social structure and history has kept them intact for centuries.

Lesvos Guide 19

Tradition Some of the many saints’ day festivals are:

The feast of the Virgin Mary on August 15th in Agiassos and Petra. Throngs of pilgrims flock to Agiassos, some of whom ar The feast of Ai Yannis (St. John) Klidonas rive on foot and spend the night in the in Sigri on 24 July, during which the vilchurch courtyard. lagers light fires in the streets and jump over their cinders. Cultural Events on the The festival of the bull in Agia Paraskevi on Island the last weekend in June or the first weekEvery year the island organizes excellent art end in July, and in Pigi on the second weekexhibitions, concerts of rock, jazz and Greek end in July. The slaughter of a bull is a music by well-known artists, and performholdover from pre-Christian sacrifices. ances of traditional Lesvos music by local This custom has its roots in the 17th cenchoruses. tury. The festival includes horse-races and Visitors can also attend plays put on by the the preparation of the traditional kiskeki, many local theatre groups. a dish of beef and wheat that is boiled in large cauldrons and served to the pilgrims. Religious Tourism The feast of Taxiarchis in Mantamados on T he Monasteries the second Sunday after Greek Easter inLesvos and its long history have produced a volves the slaughter of an ox and the cooknumber of important monastic centers. The ing of kiskeki, followed by prayer and vigdevelopment of monastic life reached its peak il.

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The metalic shoes of «Taxiarchis»

after the 13th century, during the Ottoman or to the 18th century, but was completely reoccupation. constructed in 1879. According to legend, the relief icon of the Archangel Michael was moulded from clay and blood. The church The Convent of Saints contains the prelatic vestment of the martyred Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V, a national (Agioi Rafail, Nikolaos kai and ecclesiastical relic. Irini) Founded in 1963, the convent was built on the site of a Byzantine monastery that was destroyed by Ottoman soldiers in 1463. It is especially renowned and receives thousands of pilgrims who come to the island solely to visit it and seek the blessing of the Saints. The abbess Eugenia Kleidara, the author of many religious books, and the 40 nuns who comprise the convent’s population are responsible for the convent’s communication and fine reputation.

Taxiarchis in Mantamados

Pithari Monastery

(Monastery of the Great Taxiarches of Eressos) There are two versions regarding the founding of this monastery. According to one, it was a Byzantine monastery that was reestablished during the Ottoman Empire. The other maintains that it was founded in the 16th century.

Moni Ypsilou

(Monastery of St. John the Theologian) The monastery’s original church was built pri- Situated on the peak of Mt Ordymnos on the

Lesvos Guide 21



The papalina (sardine) festival in various places around the island. The ouzo festival in Plomari – where else? With traditional mezedes and local products, under the auspices of the Hellenic Committee for UNESCO. The aniseed festival in Lisvori.

And More

The fishermen’s festival in Panayiouda. Concerts at the Kalloni stadium. Performances by the Althaia society in Keramia. Cultural events held in the Municipality of Vassilika and unique folk performances by the Stavros Society. Religious and celebratory events at Agios Ermolaos Palaiokipos in Yera with evenings of music and dancing. Theatrical performances at the Mantamados Cultural Center The Feast of Agia Paraskevi in Lafiona and of Agios Panteleimonas in Anaxos. Exhibits of ceramics and other crafts by the cultural society in the old mill on the beach at Thermi. Beach parties on the island’s remotest beaches (Parakoila, Gavatha, etc), at Tsamakia Beach and the various beach cantinas. Guest djs in fashionable bars from one end of the island to the other. The feast of the Prophet Ilias in Amali with music and dance performances.

road to Sigri, the monastery has an excellent library with dozens of antique books dating from 1535 to 1845. Its museum displays many precious art objects of historical interest, including bishops’ staffs, gold embroidered vestments and holy relics.

Moni Leimonos Tall and imposing, the Leimonos Monastery has the most extensive grounds of all the monasteries in Lesvos. It was from its founding year (1526) an important place of asceticism and worship, as well as a dynamic institution of systematized education. Remarkable frescos dating from the 16th and 17th centuries decorate the monastery’s interior. The prominent 16th scholar monk Pachomios Rousanos taught at the renowned Leimoniada School. Its collection of priceless relics and art objects, including Byzantine and Late Byzantine manuscripts and icons, documents, sacred vestments, liturgical vessels, holy relics, and folklore artifacts make this one of the wealthiest monasteries in the Aegean. Its library contains some 5,000 volumes. Today, Moni Leimonos continues its

22 Lesvos Guide

rich spiritual, social and philanthropic traditions. Its grounds contain a museum of folklore and geology, a traditional Lesbian home (living museum) and old-age home.

The Metochi of Taxiarchis Klopedi (Agia Paraskevi) Founded by St. Ignatius Galliano in the 16th century, this monastery remains the Metochi (monastery dependency) of the Leimonos Monastery. It is situated four kilometers northwest of Agia Paraskevi, near the archeological site of the sanctuary of Klopedi. Its cathedral is dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and its feast day is on 6 September. Noteworthy is the double-spouted fountain at the monastery’s entrance with its marble inscription of 1776. It has a resident priest and may be visited daily from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. It also offers free lodging.

Moni Perivoli The Perivoli Monastery is situated on the


The harbor of Mytilene

banks of the Voulgaris River, at a detour off the rural Kalloni-Antissa road just before you reach Antissa. It is a women’s convent dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin, and has fallen into disuse in recent years. In the past (at least from the 16th to the end of the 18th century) it was part of the men’s Monastery of Taxiarches Kreokopou, located one hour away at the summit of Mt. Chalakas. The convent’s cathedral is a traditional wooden-roofed basilica of small proportions and has noteworthy frescos dating from the 16th century.

Architecture on the Island

Lesvos has several distinct types of buildings: Stone farmhouses with terracotta roof-tiles and a chimney. Stone two- or three-story townhouses with tile roofs and a sachnisini (small balcony) usually wooden, constructed in the bagdanti technique. Chateaux or castles of the prosperous social class, which were the country homes or lodgings during the olive harvest.

The mansions of the urban class, built in Provincial, Bavarian and neoclassical styles, are excellent examples of the eclectic architecture that dominated the city in the last century. These houses had attics, marble ornamentation, sachnisinia (balconies) and glassed in porches, elaborate gardens, marble staircases, painted ceilings, stone tiles, septic tanks, cast iron railings and cantilevers, ornate ironwork, and even statuary. These buildings were designed and built by the architects Argyris Adalis and Ignatius Vafeiadis (students of Ziller) and can be found both in the city (Kioski, Sourada) and in numerous villages (Molyvos, Petra, Moria, Plomari, and elsewhere). The island’s temperament is reflected in its flamboyant architectural traditions. The glamorous mansions of the previous century coexist harmoniously with the traditional vernacular settlements, the castles of the Ottoman occupation, the neoclassical and modern buildings as well as the recently built contemporary villas. Most of these grand houses were the country residences of the island’s wealthy towns-

Lesvos Guide 23

Tradition Old House in Mytilene

folk. Some have painted decoration on the ceilings and walls executed by local artists such as Vassileios Ithakisios from Akrotiri, a student of Nikiforos Lytras, Maleas and others. The stone used to construct these mansions was often brought from the Sarmusak quarry in Turkey, located near the entrance to the bay of Ayvalik. Many were also built of volcanic ignimbrite, the famous rock of Mystegna. Lesvos is also known for its impressive industrial buildings (tanneries, soap factories, olive-oil presses, etc), many of which have been renovated into cultural centers (in Mantamados, Agia Paraskevi, Polichnitos, Plomari and elsewhere). Fortunately, the inevitable destruction

24 Lesvos Guide

wrought by the siege of concrete and aluminum has been incapable of overwhelming the timeless reigning beauty of this place. Other architectural features include: 1) The famed Lesbian construction, known from antiquity. You can see an excellent example of this type of structure at the excavations along the main road to Molyvos. 2) Koules, small houses usually on the plains. 3) Damia, small agricultural storehouses, usually in olive orchards, that are used during the olive harvest and for storing tools. 4) Also noteworthy are the ubiquitous kalderimia (cobbled paths), called dosimedes in local dialect.

Nature on the island The island’s plants, animals and birds


the wetlands around its perimeter comprises an ecosystem that is particularly important for the impressively large variety of bird species that are observed here.

Birdwatching now!

Unquestionably, the major spot for birdwatching throughout the year is Alyki in Agia Paraskevi, where the Municipality has erected an observation post. The importance of the place is evidenced by large numbers of birdwatchers who regularly gather here. These visitors come to Lesvos, mostly in the spring (from mid April to late May), to observe the summer migration of birds from ore than 1,400 naturally oc- Africa, where they have spent the winter, to curring species and subspecies Europe, where they will arrive to reproduce of higher plants have been dis- in the spring and summer. covered on Lesvos, and the Bay of Kalloni is one of Greece’s Species unique wetlands containing more than 130 species of birds. This natural richness is owed Every year, the area is inundated with wild in part to the variety of habitats, the quality geese, wild ducks, wild swans, herons, kingof rock formations, the millennia of human fishers, glossy ibises, little bitterns, pelicans, impact, its abuttal with Asia Minor (Turkey), gulls, terns, sandpipers, moorhens, northern and its geologically recent separation from bald ibises, and even pink flamingos, which are considered the most beautiful and imthe eastern Aegean. Theophrastus (372-287 BC), the father of pressive visitors in the wetland. botany, was born and excelled in Lesvos. Apparently, the island’s flora was of particular Alternative Tourism interest as far back as antiquity. Noteworthy Reigns plants include the yellow rhododendron Lesvos offers a variety of alternative forms of that grows on the western side of the island tourism. (between Anemotia and Parakoila) near a From jeep-safaris through the island’s vast conifer forest, pagona, sea lily, tsikoudia, iris, olive groves and forests and trekking on a netaplofyllo, alyssum, and numerous species of work of trails that enables you to walk from orchid found on Mt. Olympos. one end of the island to the other, to birdAlso, many parts of the island have extensive watching, which attracts scientists and bird olive orchards and dense forests of trachea lovers from all over the world. You can also pine, oak, fir, plane trees, beech and chest- choose among horseback riding, fishing, nut. windsurfing at the northern-most beaches, Many amphibians, reptiles, birds and espe- spear-fishing, and just about anything else cially mammals fill the island’s forests, olive you can think of. Sailors will love circumgroves and mixed wood- and shrub-lands. navigating the island, and those looking for Unique among these is the galia (squirrel), escape can discover the ashrams in Molyvos a beautiful little mammal found only on and Eressos. Religious tourism thrives in Lesvos. Also of interest are the island par- Lesvos thanks to its many important monastridge or tsoukar and the black pelican. teries. And don’t forget the island’s famous therapeutic spas, which are a steady draw for The Kalloni Bay Wetland visitors throughout the year. A magnet for alternative tourism, the Bay of If you’re a lesbian, Eressos attracts women Kalloni is well-known abroad as a favorite who love women from all over the planet. birdwatching destination. The entire marine Trendy lesbian bars, hotels and shops – all on area encompassed by the bay together with the altar of Sappho!


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Cosmopolitan Lesvos Lesvos is an island for unique and magical journeys, for singles or couples, for families and friends, for sophisticated nature-lovers, fanatic trekkers, curious explorers, and the religious faithful. It’s the perfect getaway for any length of stay.

Cosmopolitan Lesvos


The island has retained the unique quality of its culture even in places invaded by tourism. he most cosmopolitan part of Lesvos is its capital. Mytilene is a planned city that was built around its picturesque southern harbor. Adapted to contemporary maritime demands from the 19th century to present day, this, the island’s central port serves all aspects of commercial and passenger transport. Molyvos, on the island’s northern coast, has more of a tourist profile, especially from May to October. And Plomari, Kalloni, Vatera, Petra, Skala Skamnia, Sigri, and Eressos provide interest primarily in the summer months. Every village has something different to offer. You’ll encounter many local dialects, known the dopiolalies, along with different customs and traditions. A Year-Round Journey For your first taste of the island, you’ll need a minimum of ten days. After all, Lesvos is Greece’s third largest island after Crete and Euboia. Whether you stay in the city or divide your time in the other tourist areas, the ideal holiday requires an automobile. Having a car of your own allows you to travel more comfortably and enjoy the fascinating scenic changes and contrasts. The island’s diversity finds expression in every form of beauty.

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Modern and Traditional Lifestyle Destinations

During the summer, the lifestyle destinations intensify beyond the city, most famously in Molyvos, but also in Skala Eressos, Petra, Plomari and Vatera. The island’s large towns have maintained their active, authentic traditional ways of life. Agiassos, Polichnitos, Skopelos, Plomari, Loutra, Pamfila, Thermi, Mantamados, Molyvos, Petra, Agia Parakevi, Kalloni, Antissa, Eressos, and Mesotopos are sure delight you and leave you longing for times gone by. The traditional fishing villages, on the other hand, such as Panayiouda, Skala Skamnia, Perama, Skala Polichnitos, Skala Kalloni, Gavathas, and Sigri present a gastronomic picture with octopus hanging in the sun and outdoor tables alongside shipyards, little harbors and scenic beaches.

Summer Fun

Water sports, romantic seashores, tranquil coves, lounging in cult cafés and trendy eateries, frenzied clubbing, and lots of ouzo and mezes. If you’re a summer person, you’ll find all sorts of activities. The most developed beaches on the island – Tsamakia Beach in Mytilene, Molyvos, Petra, Anaxos, Sigri, Skala Eressos, Skala Kalloni, Vatera, and Agios Isidoros – await you with exciting water sports. But if you’re an incurable romantic, you can spend endless hours lounging on the beach-

Cosmopolitan Lesvos


es or relaxing in tranquil coves and picturesque seaside hamlets. Try Haramida, Agios Ermogenis, Kanoni, Petalidi, Skala Mystegni, Skala Baltziki (Nees Kydonies), Pedi, Tsonia, Kayia, Eftalou, Faneromeni, Nyfida, Melinta, Tarti, or Evreaiki. If you’re the solitary sort, or demanding and restless, you’ll readily find the peace and quiet you long for in the island’s otherworldly landscapes or secluded, virgin beaches just a few kilometers off road. Ftelia, Ligonari, Tsilia, Mersinia, Drota, Agios Fokas, Achladeri, Apothika, Podaras, Chrousos, Tsichlionta, Ancient Antissa, Tsamour Limani, Mikri and Megali Tsichranta, Yeni Limani, Palios, and Agios Stefanos are for you. For those of you wishing to spend time in the city, the beaches of Vareia, Vigla, Neapoli, and Kratigos on the way to the airport are a quick solution. Another nearby spot is Blokia, behind the statue of Liberty on the outer side of the breakwater, is a great place for shallow diving. Swimming in the shallows at Apeili, beyond Tsamakia Beach, is totally cult since you’ll find only locals there. For you easy-going slow movers, nothing beats hanging out at the city’s hip cafés, the traditional ouzeries, the trendy eateries, and the all-day bars, not to mention other tourist destinations that are fast becoming more tantalizing every day. Those visitors with gourmet preferences will finde heaven sampling the various aniseed-infused ouzos and the special mezes

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(snacks) that traditionally accompany the drink. Of course, this doesn’t mean missing out on the excellent wines available in the island’s many fine restaurants, or chilled beer, and anything else involving wine and spirits. Sailors and boaters will find unique conditions on the island. Its many virgin beaches, small leeward harbors, and enchanting secluded spots make Lesvos an unforgettable experience. Be sure to visit the Tokmakia, the islets across from the beaches at Mantamados, Agios Georgios, the islet opposite Petra, and Kryfti Panagia between Drota and Melinta. And if you’re a jeep-safari or motocross fanatic, Lesvos is sure to lure you with its infinite exciting routes and many kilometers of fantastic dirt roads. Put on your bathing suit, sunglasses, hat, flipflops or walking shoes and give yourself over to a marvelous whirlwind of carefree summertime joy. Don’t worry. The only risk is addiction to the island’s enchanting beauty!

An Island for All Seasons

In and around the city, closeby or further afield, Lesvos offers so many options that you’ll never be bored. The residents of Mytilene live, work and play all year long in their small but vibrant city. If you decide to visit the island any time other than summer, you’ll encounter an entirely different scene. You’ll see students in the hip young café-bars along the waterfront, locals in the market, and

Cosmopolitan Lesvos «Skala Eresou» Beach

in the tavernas and restaurants – a picture characteristic of the camaraderie you’ll find in small, accessible places that makes them so different from large metropolises. Mytilene’s liveliness is due to the fact that the headquarters of University of the Aegean and the Ministry of the Aegean are located there, but also to the respectable number of business travelers who routinely pass through the town. Off-seasons visits to the villages give you the opportunity to get to know them as never before. You’ll have the absolute peace and quiet to discover their vernacular architecThe Island’s Fountains Throughout the island you’ll encounter public water founts with carved inscriptions and decoration, which were built during the Ottoman Occupation. They provide the perfect spot to rest and wet your whistle.

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ture. Stroll the empty kalderimia and experience a true connection with nature. And abandon yourself to the magical atmosphere in the island’s unique spas for a unique, virturally mystical experience.

The Therapeutic Baths/Spas

Lesvos has a number of very popular therapeutic baths and spas. Relax in the Zen-like atmosphere they provide and enjoy their natural warmth. Therma on Yera Bay

(10th klm on the Mytilene – Kalloni road) These are the island’s leading thermal baths with visitors in excess of 10,000 annually. The water gushes from marble spouts into two separate tanks (men’s and women’s), creating a natural hydro-massage. The ideal temperature makes for extraordinarily pleasurable bathing. Be sure to take advantage of the relaxing massage from the magic hands of Mayia. On the roof you’ll find a snack bar and restaurant with a panoramic view of the bay. Temperature: 40° C

Life style

Hot baths

Radioactivity: 1.8 units Open all year Telephone: 22510 41503 Loutropouli at Thermi

(12th klm on the Mytilene – Mantamados coastal road) This saline spring is characterized as chlorideferrous. Its facilities include 11 individual bathtubs. The water is very hot with a source virtually adjacent to the bathing facilities. It is especially recommended for gynecological problems and rheumatism. Temperature: 46.9° C Radioactivity: 6.8 units Open from June to October Telephone: 22510 71170 The Baths at Eftalou

(3.5 klm from Mithymna) The baths at Eftalou are among the few in Greece that allow men and women to bathe together. Put on a bathing suit, bring your companion and enjoy the geothermal waters in the old domed bathhouse. Temperature: 46° C Radioactivity: 14.7 units

Open from 15 June to 15 November Telephone: 22530 71245 Agios Ioannis at Lisvori

On your way to Lisvori, take the side road through the olive grove to the geothermal springs. A stream with reeds with a wall built around it – here hot water bubbles out of the mud. The water contains sodium chloride and has a mineral content similar to the springs in Polichnitos. There are two cisterns, one built sometime during the Turkish occupation, as well as a modern guesthouse with 20 beds and a small café. Nearby is the chapel of Agios Ioannis (Saint John). Temperature: reaches 69° C Radioactivity: 2.4 units Open all year Telephone: 22520 71159 Polichnitos Hot Springs

Upon leaving Polichnitos on the way to Vatera, take the side road to the hot spring facilities. Numerous mineral springs bubble up through porous volcanic protogenic and secondary rock. One of the hottest springs in Europe, the temperature of the water here ranges from 67° C to 92° C (the temperature

Lesvos Guide 33

Cosmopolitan Lesvos

in the baths is between 42° C and 44° C) and is enriched with a natural radioactivity of 1525 MACHE units. The saline spa is on a par with Wiesbaden in Germany. The Polichnitos hot springs were used during the Ottoman Occupation, but only two pools have been in use since 1959. Temperature: 42° C Radioactivity: 1.6 - 6 units Open all year Telephone: 22520 41229 email:

these were inhabited in Neolithic times and are still used as places of worship. Some of the best known caves are at:

Magara at Alyfanta, 120 meters long. Agios Ioannis or Fousa at Mychou, 90 meters long. Patsona or Kokkini Arachni [Red Spider], behind the DEH power plant, 45 meters long. Agios Vartholomaios at Taxiarches (Kayiani), 60 meters long. Glastra or Spilio at Agiassos, 45 meters long. Agios Isidoros in the Municipality of Caves on Lesvos Plomari, 40 meters long. The island has some 200 caves and at least ten unexplored karst sinkholes, locally known as Agia Paraskevi. fousses. There are indications that many of

The Island’s Beaches

Whether you prefer sand, pebbles, vegetation or rocks, Lesvos is blessed with many superb beaches with cold blue waters and striking landscapes, offering a wide choice of quiet or fun-packed holidays. The organized beaches have the facilities for all-day fun. Those beaches that attract fewer people will appeal to holiday-makers seeking tranquility but not solitude or isolation. And for those demanding purists, Lesvos has alternatives that offer a total primal encounter with untouched nature. You’ll discover even more small or large beaches if you explore the coastline by boat or on foot. There is always some private spot to be found by the water, especially if you like swimming off rocks.

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Mytilene on Your Plate Lesvos remains an unexplored gastronomical paradise waiting to take you on a magical journey of tasty delights.

Taste 36 Lesvos Guide


he cuisine of Lesvos is a unique blend of urban, peasant and Turkish influences and as such is considered an excellent example of the Mediterranean diet. The inhabitants of Lesvos have strong feelings about their cuisine and its traditions. Its gastronomical heart beats somewhere between its famous aromatic salted fish and its buttery cheeses: the sharp ladotyria that have recently moved into fine groceries and the graviera semi-hard cheeses with paraffin coating. And because there is no end to the tasting game, these are followed by the uniquely delicious local dishes and sweets that are always accompanied by the island’s famous domestic ouzo. Culinary art in Mytilene is for the most part an unexplored aspect of the Mediterranean diet that excites even the most experienced food writers, who consider it superb and authentic. Although the island still lacks bigname chefs and swanky restaurants, its gastronomy is of the highest quality. So, be sure to sample those excellently prepared dishes that have vanished elsewhere in Greece with the invasion of “tourist” cuisine. Lesvos cooks use all their land produces to create their specialties, many of which are unique to the island. Every corner of the island is worth exploring for its cuisine alone. The island’s renowned tavernas serve seafood from the bay, including scallops, clams, mussels, oysters, and other shellfish in season, along with octopus and sea-urchin salad. The excellent fishing around Lesvos is most likely due to the climatic conditions of the sea and its abundant plankton. In many spots you’ll encounter lobster beds and people who cook with love and knowledge of the ingredients. In country tavernas and cafés you can often enjoy whatever’s in the pot, or even fresh-laid eggs from the proprietor’s pet hen served with fried potatoes, homemade bread and olives. Piaz, the delicious sweet dried white beans, may seem strange to you at first, but be prepared to encounter them in just about every taverna in town. In the ouzeri, the serving and drinking


ouzo (of course) and its unique meze accompaniments have been refined to a ritual like no other place in the world. The local ouzo labels exceed 20 and are among the best known brands in Greece. Be sure to stop in the quaint cafés in village squares throughout the island for your ouzo and mezes, as well as some Greek coffee brewed the old-fashioned way, and homemade preserved fruit “spoon-sweets.”

Pay a visit, too, to the pastry shops to sample some of the local sweets. Especially impressive are the homemade traditional delicacies prepared by the various Women’s Agricultural Collectives that have been established in many of the island’s villages. But don’t expect to try all these dishes on one short trip, especially if you’re there in July or August. The dishes of Lesvos are seasonal, so plan to

Local Products and Delicacies

Extra virgin olive oil – refined with a

subtle aroma Mytilene olives – small, fleshy and very flavorful Finest quality ouzo. Produced on the island in large and small distilleries. Dairy products from the milk of a particular breed of local goats that are raised in the traditional manner. Sharp-tasting ladotyri, a cheese unique to Mytilene, now standardized with a paraffin coating. If you’re lucky you may still come across the authentic version packed in oil made by small producers or private households. Peppery graviera (semi-hard) cheese. Fresh cheese strained in a goatskin bag


Unique fresh soft or aged hard mysithra


Spicy kasseri (semi-hard) cheese, one of

the best of its type in Greece.

Aromatic trachanas (wheat meal boiled

in milk and sun-dried) in granules or small pressed shapes. Traditional yogurt set in an earthenware crock (gragouda). Pastourmas (highly seasoned cured beef) from the sole producer in the city. Sausages made by butchers in the city or villages. Salted preserves Honey

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Be sure to try:

Green fava (split-pea purée) with local

olive oil; dried koukia (fava beans) cooked in oil and oregano; giouzlemedes (small fried cheese pies with home-made pastry). Kalloni sardines – the famous papalina, which are cured for just a few hours in newspaper and coarse salt. Also called Mediterranean sushi, it’s a big hit with visitors. Savory pies filled with greens or cheese and the omelet made with squash. Festival kiskeki – a dish served on saints’ days and at weddings, consisting of beef and wheat boiled together for many hours in a large cauldron. Lamb stuffed with liver, raisins and pine nuts; lamb yiaourtlou (in yogurt and garlic sauce); beef with quince; meat in celery sauce; meat with cauliflower or frikasé (with chopped greens, scallions and egg-lemon sauce); octopus grilled or braised in wine; and scallops with rice pilaf or spinach.

Stewed eggplant imam-baildi (“the

imam fainted”); zucchini blossoms stuffed with rice or cheese; fish baked with garlic and tomatoes; keftedakia (little meatballs) seasoned with ouzo and cumin. Hen stuffed with rice and chicken liver; charcoal grilled chops seasoned with bitter orange instead of the usual lemon juice; meat patties grilled in bitter orange leaves. Wild mountain dandelion greens (ask for the cooking liquid served as a beverage); boiled Savoy-type cabbage; stuffed grape-leaves in oil or egglemon sauce; sougania (onions stuffed with chopped meat and rice). Superb spoon-sweets (preserved fruit); rice pudding; baklavas; plantzeta (walnuts in syrup wrapped in filo pastry); loukoumades (deep-fried dough balls) with myzithra cheese; pancakes; macaroons; quince paste; and halva made with myzithra. Rusks from Agiassos, Anemotia, Filia and Asomatos.

make many trips in differents seasons to taste Mytilene olive oil, with its light texture and them all. refined flavor, is fittingly reputed to be among the best in Greece. Olive Oil Lesvos olive oil repeatedly wins prizes at inIn the 19th century and during the Industrial ternational expositions. Revolution, Lesvos supplied the European For many years the island has had factories markets with first quality olive oil. The ele- that use salt exclusively to process and pack gant French women of the salons bathed with fish products (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, perfumed pure olive-oil soap manufactured and tuna). Salt-curing gives fish extra flavor, in the soap factories on Lesvos. Mytilene’s aroma and crispness. Fish in this form must olive oil and soap producers and traders built be desalted and cleaned and then are served their mansions and estates in and around the with oil and vinegar. city, in Plomari and in Molyvos. They built their industrial facilities (factories, oil press- The island also produces its own mares, etc) based on distinctive architectural de- malades, spoon-sweets, noodle products, signs, and played a decisive role in the island’s and sauces in small factories and rural arts and letters as well as its social structure. women’s collectives, honey, baklavas, macaContact with Europe brought wealth and ex- roons, plantzeta (walnuts in syrup wrapped citing cultural influences, the impact of in filo pastry), Agiassos festival halva, and fresh “grocery” (ground sesame) halva. which is still visible.

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Ouzo Without doubt ouzo is Greek But it epitomizes Mytilene!



“The ritual of ouzo has as much to do with sating hunger as lovemaking does with reproduction.” Deipnosophistai ("The Learned Banquet") erhaps it’s the aniseed, whose plant has origins going back more than 3000 years, that is responsible for creating that intoxicating aura. But the alcohol also plays a part as it passes through the ancient still, the amvyka, transforming as the distillations blend with the aromatic seeds into this ethereal fragrant liquor that answers to the name of ouzo. Diluted with water or straight up, ouzo is the drink for company and relaxation. It fills the Mediterranean with its fragrance, as pastis and anisette in France, as arac on the African coast, but as ouzo only in Greece. The air in Mytilene smells of ouzo and the atmosphere intoxicates locals and visitors alike. For Lesvos natives, the first contact with ouzo comes when grandma dips her finger in the spirited liquor and rubs it on the gums of her teething infant grandchild. You could say that its scent and sweet intoxication are recorded on every inhabitant’s DNA. From then on, ouzo becomes like the sea with the quaint tavernas that spread their little tables by the water’s edge, together with the endless mezes whose play of tastes seduces mind and soul.

This combined with the sensual pleasure produced by the aroma of the aniseed, the intangible sweetness and the infinite refreshment all contribute to the creation of the myth. And this mythology has formed the basis for an entire philosophy of life – in concert with with the delicious mezes that accompany and animate the complex ritual. Ouzo occupies a distinctive place of Greek gastronomy. Cooks in Mytilene knead ouzo and cumin into their meatballs. Fava (split pea purée), lakerda (salt-cured tuna), salted sardines, octopus, and more demand ouzo as their perfect mate. Generations upon generations on this island have walked in the footsteps of ouzo and have identified with its ritual. Besides the philosophy and mythology, ouzo also imposes a lifestyle that is 100% Greek.

A Brief History

From as far back as antiquity, humans have experimented with and created various alcoholic beverages using herbs, fruits, roots, flowers and seeds, initially by extraction and fermentation, and later by distillation. The objective, though, has always been to create a sensation of pleasure, well-being, relaxation and/or intoxication. Many products of distillation also appeared in the Arab world, but until 1453, Byzantine Constantinople and Greek Alexandria and Smyrna were the largest centers of distillation The Myth arts. The entire ouzo procedure dictates relaxation. The testimonies of the famous coppersmiths

40 Lesvos Guide


of Armenia and Hellespont who fashioned the ornately decorated amvykes (stills), attest to the extensive knowledge of distillation throughout the Byzantine Empire. After all, the blessed land of Asia Minor and Thrace (northeastern Greece), with its extensive grape and fig output, provided excellent raw material. The cultivation of anise in Lesvos and its neighboring island of Limnos, and the production of mastic in nearby Chios comprised the necessary ingredients for making raki.

18th – 19th Centuries

The production of ouzo and the general economy it created appears to have flourished in the 19th century, since the port of Mytilene was at that time a large transport center, flourishing with foreign commerce, from which large quantities of ouzo were exported to Constantinople (Istanbul). By 1880, the number of distilleries on the island had reached 18, although official state records for the period 1917-1918 show only 17. Thus in the mid 18th century the art of distillation arrived in Greece and in Mytilene from the shores of Asia Minor. The Asia Minor refugees who came in the 1920s brought this knowledge to old Greece and provided the impetus for ouzo production in many regions where they settled. The distilled dregs were used to make the clear potent liquor, tsipouro, which was then flavored with various herbs or seeds to enhance its flavor.

Ouzo: Exclusive to Greece According to a recent European Union ruling, for an anise-flavored alcoholic drink to be called ouzo it must: - Be prepared exclusively in Greece. - Contain a mixture of alcohol that has been flavored through distillation or filtration with aniseed and possibly fennel, mastic from the native mastic tree of Chios (pistacia lentiscus Chia or Latifolia) and other aromatic seeds, plants and fruits. - The alcohol that has been flavored by distillation must represent at least 20% of the alcohol content of ouzo. Note: Traditionally in ouzo, the aromatic agents are extracted by distillation from the essential oils of the aniseed in a solution of water and alcohol. In other anise-flavored spirits, the essential oils are extracted first and then added to the solution. For example, the aniseflavored French pastis is a simple mixture of pure alcohol and naturally distilled fennel extract. (Fennel is the main ingredient of common aniseed and star aniseed.)

The Art of Distillation

The distillation on its own is a ritual, whose product is known as eau de vie (water of life). The aromatic aniseeds are soaked in water for three days and then this mixture is combined with the alcohol. A series of distillations follows to refine the results. The distillation in small amvykes (stills) is the secret to ouzo’s

Lesvos Guide 41

Ouzo “homemade” texture and flavor. For this reason, the EU ruling provides for amvykes that hold up to 1000 liters. Every producer has his own secrets and these are what make the difference among ouzos. Each uses his own type and variety of aniseed, as well as his own proportions. The best-kept secret is the blend each distiller uses, which is passed on from generation to generation. Everything plays a part in the process: the different extraction methods, the speed of distillation, even the size of the still. The pure distillation is stored in stainless steel containers so that it can settle and calmly marry with the other ingredients of the recipe. The mixture is homogenized and acquires a pleasing taste. Any way it is made, the strength of the ouzo comes from its place of origin, from the mineral content in the water used, and from the added flavoring of star aniseed or aniseed, fennel, mastic or coriander.

A Savory Harmony

Ouzo and Mezes Ouzo has a sharp, aggressive taste, but also a particular sweetness. Sentimentally and traditionally, ouzo is associated with mezes (small dishes) and water.

a little ouzo and olive oil then dust them with crushed coriander seeds and serve with lemon slices. Sharp cheeses, garlicky tsatziki, taramosalata (fish roe salad), and smoky melitzanosalata (eggplant salad) complete the harmonious puzzle. And don’t forget octopus! Ouzo is the natural accompaniment to sundried, chewy, juicy charcoal-grilled octopus. Try it the way locals do: plain, without lemon and oil and never boiled before it is grilled! If they serve it to you like that, send it back!

With water or on the rocks

Throughout the ages, alcoholic beverages have been consumed straight or watered, depending on the fashion of the day and their flavor. Ouzo in its undiluted form is the perfect way to savor it, to distinguish its flavors and to partake of its ritual. After that you can add a bit of cold water to make it lighter and easier to drink. Or add a couple of ice cubes. Don’t be put off by dogmatic connoisseurs. Just abandon yourself to the rite, and relax! As the ice cubes melt the ouzo’s flavor gentles, outside in the little taverna by the sea at high noon, your mood loosens, and the taste of the mezes improves.

No other drink in the entire world can harmonize with the complex flavors of mezes better than ouzo. The savory ethereal or piquant mezes served in Lesvos are a perfect match for the aggressive ouzo. Cured sardines or papalina from the Bay of Kalloni, sun-dried safridi (mackerel), lakerda (salted tuna) and hapsia (anchovies) in vinegar demand the sharp taste of ouzo. Vinegar, salt and lemon are successful playful contrasts to ouzo. So are all types of raw seafood: clams, mussels, sea cucumbers and, best of all, scallops, along with fried zucchini and eggplant, zucchini blossoms stuffed with Musts cheese, and spicy goat. To enjoy an intoxicating story and a tradition with fanatic fans and countless friends, pay a As well as: visit to the Ouzo Museum at the Varvayannis Avgotaraho (cured pressed fish roe) demands Distillery in Plomari. Also, don’t miss the lightly anise-flavored ouzo. Every kind of EPOM distillery in Mytilene for a tour of the olive or olive product is an excellent comple- secret world of ouzo and a sampling of variment to ouzo. Try marinating some olives in ous ouzo formulas in their traditional café.

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Mytilene the Glorious City The capital of Lesvos is listed as one of the ten “glorious cities of Greece.�

Mytilene the Glorious City


The Latest Hotspots The City Itself

he moment you arrive at the large port, the city of Mytilene will win your heart with its air of dolce vita. The island’s capital, built on seven hills and crowned by the Gateluzzi fortress, has preserved important features from its resplendent past and its outstanding cultural history. A busy town with a lively nightlife, Mytilene satisfies every need and desire in terms of hotels, restaurants and recreation. Its emblems are the majestic Gateluzzi castle, the church of Agios Therapon with its impressive dome, and, at the edge of the port, the Statue of Liberty. A classic meeting point for locals is the area around Sappho Square, and the other half of the horseshoe of the new southern port with its fashionable bars and cafés that draw Old houses in «Kioski» crowds starting first thing in the morning. Stop see the Historical Gymnasium, built in 1888there to enjoy the passersby and the nonstop ac- 1890. A stroll through the shops will surely sattion. isfy your consumer cravings! Forget window shopping and enter the fashMytilene Step-by-Step ionable clothing, jewelry and gift shops. In street running parallel behind the port, you’ll find the Koulbara quarter with traditional The Breakwater houses dating from the Turkish occupation. The At the tip of the breakwater – the continuation once Turkish neighborhood is full of various of the Gardens – you’ll see the superb neoclastypes of old houses with wooden balconies. It’s sical Prefecture building, the old City Hall, and worth walking the entire uphill street that a bit farther down, the former Grand Bretagne ends at the aristocratic Kioski neighborhood. Hotel with its steep roofs. This is now a fashAtop the hill is one of the largest fortifications ionable café and restaurant. Admire the buildin the Mediterranean. Take the little road ing across the way, the former Ottoman Bank, through the pines and stroll among the ruins which now houses as a nightclub. that exude the glory of past eras. From the ramparts you have a terrific view of the sea, the coastline of Turkey, the old harbor and the set- The Old Market Going north on the continuation of Ermou tlement. Street, you’ll come to the Old Market with its Walk the city’s shopping district from end to end, antique shops and old-style emporiums of along beautiful Ermou St., recently transformed into a pedestrian mall, and down the every sort. Your meanderings here will transquaint alleyways. Pay special attention to the fa- port you to another era. Starting at the Columns cades of the old buildings, few of which are taller at the back of Sappho Square, proceed along the narrow streets of the old city: the Ladadika, than two stories. where the city’s large olive oil warehouses once stood, Koumidia, with its many little shops, and Ermou Street The New Market on Ermou Street begins at the Bas Fanar, where in Ottoman times a large lightsuperb Municipal Gardens. Across the way you’ll house illuminated the harbor. You’ll catch the

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scent of the picturesque Matthaios distillery, which has stood on this spot since 1882. If you walk the length of Ermou Street, you’ll see the architecturally distinguished Parthenagogeion (Girls’ Academy), the gift of the benefactor Vournazos in 1899. Note the impressive stone Doric capitals and pediments. As you wander the narrow streets of the market, you’ll soon realize that the city’s heart beats here. The aroman of ouzo gently mixed with the sea air heightens your senses. Purchase some ouzo and all the delicacies that make the locals proud and head over to the Yeni Mosque (1825). The surrounding stores and antique shops will take some time to explore and surely tempt you to buy their wares: pottery, candlesticks, bells, wood carvings, tea from Mt. Olympos, as well as delicious rusks and cookies from the bakeries. Continuing north, an alleyway on your left contains the 19th century Tsarsi Hamam. Both these elegant remnants of the Turkish occupation currently function as exhibition spaces. Towards the end of Ermou Street at the turn off to the fortress is the beautiful mansion that once belonged to the Turkish governor Halim Bei and now houses the Municipal Library. And certainly take a break here for some ouzo and mezes, since

many of the old and new eateries in this area are considered the hottest spots in town.

Kioski Ascending with the fortress on your left, you arrive in Kioski, one of the city’s most aristocratic neighborhoods. Here, you’ll admire magnificent mansions and recently restored public buildings, such as the old Ottoman Administration Building, which now houses the Ministry of the Aegean, the old Ottoman Gymnasium, which is now the Courthouse, and farther down, the newly built Archeological Museum.

The Old Harbor At the end of Ermou Street, head north to reach the Old Harbor of Mytilene. You’ll be fascinated by the shipyard, the excavations of the ancient agora, and the cozy little cafés.

Agia Kyriaki To the left on the hill in the Agia Kyriaki district is the Ancient Theatre, which is open to visitors. It was discovered only in 1958 and is considered one of the largest, best acoustically designed theatres in antiquity. Nearby you can see the remains of the ancient city wall.

Lesvos Guide 45

Mytilene the Glorious City

Mytilene: The Harbour

Mytilene: The Statue of Liberty

architectural style is cruciform with a central A Tour of the City’s Major dome. The exterior decoration is the work of anChurches other local painter and sculptor, Nikolaous Most of the churches in Lesvos were rededicated Kesanlis. The carved wooden templon dates in the 18th and 19th centuries. And for this reafrom 1915 and was executed by Dimitrios Koson, very few traces of their original Byzantine valas. decoration remain. The most important churches in the city of Mytilene are:

Agios Athanasios Today’s Metropolis Cathedral was built in the early 18th century and is located in the center of town. It is distinguished by its enormous Gothic-style bell tower. The church is a cruciform basilica with three aisles and a central dome.

Agioi Theodoroi

The Right Horseshoe of the Harbor

The city’s younger set prefers the right side of the port, whose trendy bars with island or cosmopolitan décor are filled with patrons all year round. Here, you’ll see couples and friends drinking freddos, frappés and macchiatios or playing backgammon, all to the beat of today’s hottest sounds. Sappho Square, the busiest spot in town, surges all year round with a colorful crowd. The bars are renovated every year, changing their look, name and proprietor. Rock, mainstream, disco, indie, as well as the latest Greek hits alternate with the tastes of the times.

The triple-aisled basilica was built in 1795 to replace an older church that had burned to the ground. It is reported to have been the Cathedral of Mytilene at least some point after the sack of Lesvos by the Ottomans. The church’s frescos were painted in 1799. Its wooden templon screen with carved scenes from the Old and New The Left Jetty Testaments dates from 1812, and is one of the The most picturesque side of the harbor with restaurants and cafés right at the water’s edge is most impressive on the island. where the old caiques and fishing boats moor. From there you have a view of the entire city, Agios Therapon This majestic church is one of Mytilene’s land- with its fortress and breakwater spread before marks. Built by the local architect Argyris you. The Lighthouse has other cool spots that Adalis, it was inaugurated in 1935. Its primary will draw you back time and again.

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Excursions around the Island Once you leave the city, you’ll encounter lush green scenery and lovely coastal villages that have retained their traditional character and warm hospitality. To best enjoy your stay on Lesvos and take in most of the sights, choose among the various itineraries we suggest.

Municipality of Mytilene


South of the Municipality of Mytilene

Leave the city behind and take Kavetsou Street towards the Vostaneio Hospital. You’ll pass some superb neoclassical houses and castles that managed to survive the barbaric growth of the new city and stand bravely among the new characterless buildings. The aerial view of the city from Halika is a sight you’ll never forget. You can also choose to turn left towards the airport and pass through Makry Yialo, which is considered one of the most scenic spots in town. You’ll notice a row of exquisitely designed neoclassical mansions. The city’s new marina is just opposite them. In the distance you can see the fortress and a view of the port. The nighttime view from this spot is absolutely magical. Take a walk on the pier. On your left is Makrys Yialos, which was converted into a marina. Go as far as the rocks to the left of

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the Yacht Club and from there to Florida. The majestic historical homes here and their glorious gardens that extend down to the sea date from the 18th century. You can see Monopetros rock in the distance, a view that has inspired many painters. Somewhere around here on his family estate, the Nobel laureate Odysseus Elytis banqueted with famous intellectuals and composed some of his inspired lines. Select one of the well-preserved old mansions and immortalize it with your camera lens. If you take the main boulevard as far as Monopetros and turn at the quaint little chapel of Ai Yannis at Tzitzifies, you’ll come to a small sandy beach.

Sourada: The Most Elegant Part of Town Walking away from the sea, you’ll come to Sourada, the most aristocratic neighborhood in Mytilene. Make sure the memory card in your digital camera is large enough to capture for posterity the famous mansions

Excursions Adada geziler

On the way to Airport

that stand as testimony to the eminence, wealth and refinement of the last century’s residents. These magnificent imposing houses with spacious gardens, perennial trees and marble staircases will take your breath away. A stroll through the narrow streets on either side of the main boulevard provides you with a different taste of life outside the center. The fork at the incline in the road is known as Foros (taxation). It was here that the Ottoman Turks extracted taxes from passing travelers. The right fork takes you to the Akleidiou neighborhood, whereas if you continue on the main road you’ll reach Koumko with its marvelous view of the sea and opposite shores. Akleidiou is an ideal area for walking and cycling among the new villas, old mansions, spacious gardens and small castles. It has a beautiful church and some of the most beautiful castles on the island. The left fork takes you right through the superb mansions of Sourada. Particularly outstanding is the home of the Alepoudelis family, from which Odysseus Elytis is descend-

ed. It is a large neoclassical building in excellent condition, with enormous gardens front and back, perennial greenery, and an iron fence and gate with elegant railings. A bit farther on, on a narrow street to the left are some lovely period homes and architecturally distinguished modern ones. The last house on the cul-de-sac to the left was commandeered by the Germans during the occupation and used as Gestapo headquarters. Built on the rocks, it offers a view of the city with its fortress and a glimpse of the Turkish coast in the distance.

The Boulevard of the Tamarisk Trees (Almyrikia) (Mytilene – Airport) The road next leads to the open sea on the southeastern side. Going towards the airport, you have the boundless Aegean on your left. The country homes continue on the right, along with magnificent 18th century manor houses that make you think you’re some-

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Municipality of Mytilene

«Αspros Gatos» Restaurant at Neapoli

where on the French Riviera.

Taxiarches (Kayiani) – Agia Marina – Pligoni Turn right at the crossroads a bit farther down. Follow the sign to Taxiarches (Kayiani) and Agia Marina. Here we suggest you take a walk through the settlements and enjoy a coffee or ouzo and meze in one of the tavernas that are considered among the best on the island. The inland road takes you to the picturesque village of Pligoni. These old villages have superb traditional houses, old castles, hilly streets, quaint cobbled kalderimia, and fantastic panoramas of the city, the harbor, the fortress and the shores of Turkey across the way. The Theophilos and Tériade Museums are located at Akrotiri, just before Kayiani.

Charamida, Agios Ermogenis, Loutra, Kountouroudia If you continue past the airport you can take a dip at Charamida or in the scenic cove of

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Agios Ermoyenis with its small sandy beach. Stop for a bite to eat after your swim. From here the road leads to Loutra, a beautiful village with cobbled kalderimia and olive oil presses that are still in operation. Stop at one of the cafés here for a glass of ouzo. The locals will regale you about their crops and olive trees. Go down to Skala for some of the bay’s excellent fish and more. Take a break at the well-organized shipyard with its many wooden slipways that have made history in the region. First thing in the morning, the caiques moor at the fishing pier to deliver their catch of the day to the merchants. The Zaira is a 1909 oil press that has been converted into a hotel. Some of its rooms have fireplaces; others look out on the sea or the cobbled courtyard. From Kountouroudia, at one end of the Bay of Yera, there are boats to take you to the beach across the bay. The tavernas on the sea have a view of Perama across the way. Octopus hang from wires, drying in the sun, little boats rock gently in the cove, and the sun

Adada geziler Excursions

The Roman Aqueduct at «Moria»

or moon reflects in the tranquil bay. Here you can enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of the past any time of the day. Return to the city on the Gaidaraniforo, which will reward you with its panoramic views.

North of the Municipality of Mytilene


On your way out of the city, on your left you’ll pass a superb 1880 mansion (known as the Georgiadis mansion), standing imperiously but abandoned, and the impressive Kalamari factory, which over the years was a textile mill, a yarn mill, an olive oil press and a flourmill. Driving north, on your right are the semi-ruined Kourtouzi Thermal Baths, which flourished in the early 20th century. A bit farther up the hill at the site of the city’s necropolis in Classical times is Tambarakia, an area with many impressive former soap and fish-processing factories. Be sure to check out Dimitris Demertzis’ amazing an-

tique shop. You’ll pass through verdant landscapes and beautiful coastal villages that retain all their old-fashioned charm and warm hospitality. Stop at some of them for ouzo and mese, fresh fish or coffee. Continue north and east towards Molyvos. North of the city you’ll find the four villages comprising the Municipality of Moria. Moria is known for its Roman Aqueduct, a 2nd century stone structure that transported water to Mytilene from the springs in Agiassos. Moria also has a church dedicated to Agios Vassileios (St. Basil), built in 1769. Large, gracious town houses, industrial buildings (mostly olive oil presses), castles with tall enclosures and fragrant gardens, quaint alleyways, cafés, and old-fashioned shops provide a picture of a living village.

The Roman Aqueduct at Moria

Near the village of Lampou Myloi are the remains of the Aqueduct, a work of superior technical mastery that was built in the 3rd

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Municipality of Mytilene


century BC. The Aqueduct ran from Agiassos to Mytilene. Its arcade, stone blocks, piers, abaci and arches that comprised it were made from grey Lesbian marble. In its entirety it resembled the propylaia of a classical temple or palace. It began at the foot of Mt Olympos at Tsingos and traversed 26 kilometers, supplying water to Mytilene by a succession of underground ceramic culverts, channels carved in the cliff-face, and arches. The incline running the entire distance was designed in such a way that the water flowed in unhindered abundance. It was channeled from the Mytilene cistern to the city’s fountains, spas and estates. Sections of the Aquaduct (17 arches, 170 meters long) are visible near the village of Moria. The fish tavernas here are especially favored by the locals. Octopus hang in the sun, little boats sway in the picturesque harbor lined with interesting stone factory buildings, and honeysuckle and jasmine perfume the well-tended gardens. This is one of the island’s most scenic harbors, with many tavernas and cafés right on the embankment.

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Panayiouda – Pamfila

Nestled among the soap factories and olive oil presses is the church of Agia Varvara (St Barbara), whose marble templon was carved by the prominent Greek sculptor Yannoulis Halepas in 1878. The neoclassical Public School building on the main street is noteworthy, as are the balconies gracing the village’s mansions, and the old olive oil presses and soap factories. This wealthy village once played an important role in the island’s trade and commerce.


The tour of the city’s eating establishments is an unending ritual that is accompanied by the famous ouzo, inspired mezes and other traditional dishes, all lovingly prepared. Be sure to try the eateries in the market, the tavernas along the sea or dotting the city’s narrow little streets. And for an alternative, the spirited café-bars along the Breakwater will give you a real taste of the Mytilene lifestyle. You’ll be delighted by the “tapas” served with the drinks and coffee in many bars. Get in the mood – because the eating, drinking and fun here is limitless!

Excursions WHERE TO STAY

Of the many hotels and lodgings throughout Mytilene, we’ve selected the following for you:

Hotels Mytilene Blue Sea

P. Kountourioti 91 Tel: 22510 – 23994 Porto Lesvos 1

Komninaki 21 Tel: 22510 – 41771 Orpheus

Katsakouli 3 Tel: 22510 – 28523 Lesvion

P. Kountourioti 27A, Waterfront Tel: 22510 – 28177 Sappho

P. Kountourioti 31, Waterfront Tel: 22510 – 22888 Argo

Konstantinopoleos 1, Opposite Prefecture Offices Tel: 22510 – 29850 Pyrgos Hotel

E. Venizelou 49 Tel: 22510 – 25069 Archontiko

E. Vostani 3 Tel: 22510 – 46681

Vareia Mytilene Loriet

Tel: 22510 – 46990

Vigla Mytilene

Heliotrope Hotels

Tel: 22510 – 45857

Skala Loutra Zaira

Tel: 22510 – 91188

Charamida Blue Bay

Tel: 22510 – 91000

Bay of Yera

Mytilana Village

Tel: 22510 – 20653


Epano Skala

Zoumbouli Rooms

Tel: 22510 – 22664


La Mirage

Hatzigrigori 21, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 21140 Porto Lesvos 2

Alkaiou 15, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 21217 Fontana

Sapphous & Arionos 14 Tel: 22510 – 47920 Alkaios

Alkaiou 16 Tel: 22510 – 47737 Selana

Satovriandou 6 Tel: 22510 – 29963

Sourada Mytilene Sourada Studios

G. Moura 5 Tel: 22510 – 25981

Akleidiou Mytilene Akleidi

Evangelistrias 9, Akleidiou Tel: 22510 – 46573

Blue & Green

Zafeiri Giannelli 2 Tel: 22510 – 45015

Vareia Mytilene

Sappho Apartments – Rooms

Tel: 22510 – 44985

Filoxenia Studios

Tel: 6944816271

Vigla Mytilene Limanaki

Tel: 6945609460

Pyrgi Bay of Yera Elaionas Nikou

Villas – Estates Tel: 6977369777

FOOD & FUN Ex-plorer

Internet café Kountourioti 49, Waterfront Tel: 22510 – 26004 Tsamakia Beach

Tel: 22510 – 29836 Astro

Grill Ermou 5 – Central Market Tel: 22510 – 44540 Mezzo

Snack Bar Kountouriotou 49 Malliaros Shopping Center Tel: 22510 – 43774 Funky Food

Snack Bar Archipelagos 7 Tel: 22510 – 44898 Café café

Archipelagos, Sappho Square Tel: 22510 – 24188 Park

Café – Restaurant Agia Irini Park Tel: 22510 – 23810

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Municipality of Mytilene


Café – Pastry Shop Odysseus Elytis 13 Tel: 22510 – 41278

Thassou 2 Tel: 22510 – 46577 Empyries

Fish Taverna Neapoli Tel: 22510 – 61569


Restaurant Air Port Tel: 22510 – 61457




Café Beer Bar Ladadika Tel: 22510 – 45100


Home-style Cooking Tel: 22510 – 22180

Snack Bar Archipelagos 23 Tel: 22510 – 21310 Café – Mezes Ladadika 30 Tel: 22510 – 22020 Central

Café Bar Restaurant Archipelagos & Samou Tel: 22510 – 47995 Lighthouse

Café Bar Right Jetty Tel: 22510 – 27775 Status

Café Bar – Pizzeria Tel: 22510 – 22651 Barracuda

Restaurant Café Bar Haramida Tel: 6948178498

North of Mytilene Kara Tepé Area Femme Fatal

Restaurant Club Tel: 6947843702 Ymeteron

Live Rembetika music Ladadika Tel: 6932520999

Epano Skala Dimos

Ouzo – Mezes Agios Therapontos 24 Tel: 22510 – 28244 Agia Paraskevi

Grill Vournazon 9 Tel: 22510 – 44446

Lemoni kai Prassino Piperi

Restaurant Constantinople Square Tel: 22510 – 42678


Ouzo – Mezes Tel: 22510 – 43532

Kafeneio tou Yianniou

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Haramida Tel: 22510 – 91396

Kountouroudia Ta Asteria

Ouzo – Mezes Taxiarches (Kayiani) Tel: 22510 – 61951

Taverna Tel: 22510 – 91213



Ouzo – Mezes Taxiarches (Kayiani) Tel: 22510 – 61511

Fish Taverna Tel: 22510 – 42331



Taverna Pantayiotis Boutsardellis Tel: 22510 – 91390

Fish Taverna Tel: 22510 – 91244

Café – Ouzeri Kornarou 2 & Ermou Tel: 22510 – 26232

Ouzo – Mezes

Blue Bay

Restaurant – Taverna Tel: 22510 – 91000

Grill Agia Marina Tel: 22510 – 61779

Vareia – Neapoli

Market – Waterfront


Ouzeri – Restaurant Winter: Odysseos 4, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 46161

To Pythari Vareia – Akrotiri – Taverna Agia Marina Kayiani

Ouzo – Mezes Tel: 22510 – 42630 Ermis



Aspros Gatos


Therma Therma

Restaurant Bay of Yera Tel: 22510 – 42111

North of Mytilene Panayiouda

Efkalyptos Restaurant – Greek & InterRestaurant – Fish Taverna national Cuisine Tel: 22510 – 32727 Neapoli Lemvourgeio Tel: 22510 – 61670 Tel: 6936696525 Limanaki

Municipality of Thermi

Municipality of Thermi


Sarlitza Pallas

his region took its name from the thermal springs that have been bubbled out of the ground here for centuries. The Turks called it Sarlitza, from sari, meaning yellow, and litza, meaning curative thermal water, or hot-spring. It was called this because of the dark yellow color that the water leaves on the tanks and channels. Archeological finds show that Artemis, the supervisor of healing waters, was worshipped here.

Pyrgi Thermi

This is a relatively recent name, taken in the 17th century from the castles (pyrgi) built here by the Turks and wealthy Mytilene Greeks. These houses resemble fortresses, with tall stone walls, wooden balconies and majestic entrances. On your right, you’ll see the Nianias castle, built in 1671. Today only a very few survive of the 160 castles that existed in the area in the early 20th century, and these are now protected landmarks. If you turn right towards the sea you’ll come to Kanoni beach, a good place for clubbing from afternoon to evening and sampling the latest trends in snacks and cocktails. Stretch out on a lounge under an umbrella, take a dip in the sand and enjoy the music. Two fashionable bar-restau-

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rants, Anemokampi and Mayotte, are particularly charming. The Lesvos Inn Resort & Spa has excellent service, a family atmosphere and a beautiful view. Archeological excavations in the Petralonia area next to Kanoni beach brought to light the layers and traces of five cities from the early third millennium, one built on top of the other. A sixth later city was discovered on top of their ruins, which dates from the middle of the second millennium. The first two cities of Thermi are contemporaneous with the first city of Troy. Important finds from the excavations here are on display in the Mytilene Archeological Museum. The many building foundations, inscriptions and architectural elements found over the years scattered throughout the area around the baths testify to the glory and significance of this religious and healing center. You can see some of these fragments in the outdoor archeological site at Horafa, just outside of Sarlitza.

Skala Thermi

This is a picturesque harbor for fishing boats and small craft. Matchmaking is the name of the game here in the summer, as the youth of

Excursions Adada geziler

Pyrgi Thermis

the village promenade along the shore near the restored windmill that hosts various summertime events. If you have the time, relax here and try chatting up the locals.

Sarlitza Pallas

In the early 20th century Thermi was famous for its luxury hotel, the Sarlitza Pallas, which was built in 1909 based on the designs of French architects for Hassan Efendi Mola Mustafa. It passed into the hands of the Greek government and flourished for some 30 years, attracting visitors and famous figures from East and West alike. It began declining in 1933, with the exception of some small glimmers and, stuck in the gears of bureaucracy and indifference, finally succumbed to the ravages of time. Today only the baths are in operation.

The Churches of Thermi

One very important monument is the Byzantine church of the Panagia (Holy Mother) Troulotis in Pyrgi Thermi. The basilica (probably 14th century) has a cruciform structure. In the last decades of the 20th century, Thermi gained world acclaim for its Monastery of Sts Rafael, Nicolas and Irene.

Holiday Thermi The Thermi district is rapidly growing as a tourist destination, with small hotels, tavernas, trendy clubs and restaurants. Its beach, Kanoni, attracts thousands of tourists each year. Other good places for swimming and eating are Petalidi, Skala Nees Kydonies, and Skala Mystegna, which offer rooms right on the sea. The clean water and beaches, picturesque tavernas and local cuisine are the ideal conditions for lovely, peaceful holidays. Petalidi is a beautiful bay with sparkling turquoise water, ideal for an all-day getaway. There you’ll find the hotel of the same name with an excellent restaurant for those wishing to make this their family holiday destination.


This village is known for its famous red stone, used in the construction of many public buildings throughout the island.

Skala Mystegna

This beautiful pebble beach is long and narrow with crystal clear water. Behind the olive-covered hill, on the edge of the horizon, you can see the coast of Turkey. If you happen

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Municipality of Thermi

on a particularly clear day, you can even make out the cars traveling along it. Skala Mystegna is just the place for those longing for tranquil, intimate holidays and good food. The tavernas have the freshest fish and local meat and are situated right on the beach. Some put out tables under the shady tamarisk trees. There are many rooms to rent here, as well as houses that are let by the year. If you feel like taking a boat ride, it’s easy to find an amateur fisherman who’ll take you fishing with him. This is a tiny place with a friendly atmosphere. In no time you’ll know everyone and be chatting and drinking ouzo with most of the villagers. Holidays in Skala Mystegna are economical as well as utterly delightful. With the little boats dotting the tranquil sea, vegetable gardens and windswept cottages, it’s a charming sight that offers visitors a completely different lifestyle.


Pyrgi – Kanoni

Lesvos Inn Resort and Spa

Pyrgi Thermi – Kanoni Tel: 22510 – 71781 Zourou Villas

Luxury Residences Thermi Tel: 6977800017

Petalidi Thermi Petalidi

Tel: 22510 – 94601


Kohylia Bay

Luxury Apartments Tel: 22510 – 94180

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Nees Kydonies (Baltziki), Pigi, Komi Seven kilometers from Thermi, in an area filled with pine and olive trees, are the villages of Pigi and Komi, known for their annual Panigyri tou Tavrou (The Festival of the Bull), and their exceptional olive oil. Be sure to sample the unique cheeses as well. Nees Kydonies is the Greek name for Ayvalik, the original name given to it by the Asia Minor refugees who built it. Before going down to the beach, take in the panoramic view. Then enjoy some charcoal-grilled sardines at the lighthouse for your efforts. The pebble-lined bay on the right beckons you for quick dip in the sparkling water. If you take the road to Mantamados you’ll run into scenic Xambelia beach. A swim followed by a relaxing meal in the taverna here is the perfect thing.


Kanoni Thermi To Kanoni

Tel: 22510 – 71773

Pyrgi Thermi Apolavsi

Tel: 22510 – 71035

Nees Kydonies – Xambelia Ta Skina

Tel: 697214185


Kanoni – Pyrgi Thermi Mayotte

Bar-Restaurant Tel: 22510 – 71971

Skala Mystegna To Limanaki

Fish Taverna Skala Mystegna Tel: 22510 – 94274 Cone

Café Bar Tel: 6947807342

Nees Kydonies (Baltziki) – Skala Thalassini Avra

Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22510 – 94457 Gorgona

Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22510 – 94379 Vrahos


Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22510 – 9440

Café Bar Restaurant Tel: 22510 – 94601

Café – Snack Bar



Municipality of Mantamados

Municipality of Mantamados

Agios Stefanos Beach


antamados is located on the northeastern side of the island. It is a large town with traditional architecture, picturesque little streets and cobbled kalderimia, as well as excellent produce, meat and other products including cheeses, honey, olive oil and pottery. Be sure to try the yogurt, the local ladotyri, fresh cheeses and meats. You’ll also find beautiful ceramics at very good prices here, and you can visit the workshops to watch the potters at their wheels. Today only nine workshops are in operation of the 60 that were in existence in the 1950s. Be sure to take a walk through the main square of the town. The Polykentro Cultural Center, housed in a renovated former olive oil press, is characteristic of the industrial buildings built on the island in the early 20th century. An exhibition of pottery from all over Lesvos is held there every August.

Yeni Limani (Skala Kapi)

dens and period buildings testify to the fact that this was once a flourishing place. If you continue driving north you’ll end up at the small beach, Feroyia. The view from above is stunning and the route, though difficult, is truly magical.

Agios Stefanos Three three ceramics workshops in Agios Stefanos, known as the Keramidaria, still adhere to the old method of production. This settlement is today one of the few traditional pottery centers in all of Greece. Its workshops manufacture many types of pottery, from gigantic oil containers (pithari) to the smallest water pitchers (koumari).

Palios This small, trendy fishing village is one of the most picturesque on the island. It’s popular with Mytilenian artists and intellectuals, who in recent years have purchased and renovated many of its old houses, giving the place a charming, lively atmosphere.

This little fishing village was a supply center for the north side of the island in the last cen- Beaches for Swimming tury. The farmhouses with their vegetable gar- There are good places to swim in Pedi,

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Monastery of Taxiarxis at Mandamados

Palio, Aspropotamos, the harbor of Kapi, and Tsonia (the seaport of Kleio). In the summer you’ll find tavernas there with fresh fish and fine local meat and cheeses. Some of these stay open in the winter too and serve the island’s most delectable dishes in a deserted, unbelievably beautiful landscape.

The Villages of Kapi, Pelopi, Kleio

Pelopi, or Yelia, and Kapi are to this day purely farming and livestock villages. To find out where to get the best trahanas, honey and cheese, go to the local café. You’ll find the lo-

Lesvos Guide 61

Municipality of Mantamados

Cheese and Ceramics of Mandamados

The Monastery of Taxiarches – A Unique Icon! cals particularly friendly and ready to tell you all you need to know. The honey here, obtainable only from small local producers, has a distinctive flavor and aroma. Kleio has many large distinguished homes. Head back to the square for ouzo and, if you’re there in the evening, sample some of the grilled meats. Don’t forget the festival of the bull that takes place every summer.




Traditional Hotel Tel: 22530 – 93257

Tsonia Eleni


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Mantamados is famous for this monastery. Built in the 17th century, it contains the icon of the Archangel Michael, which is said to be made from mud and the blood of the monks who were slaughtered there in a pirate invasion. A bull is slaughtered on the eve of its festival, which takes place on the third Sunday after Easter. Its meat is boiled with cracked wheat in large cauldrons for the traditional kiskek, which is served free to all the worshippers.

Tel: 22530 – 93620


Rooms Tel: 22530 – 93618

Café – Pastry Shop Moni Taxiarchon Tel: 22530 – 61079

Kyria Dimou

FOOD & FUN To Kamini

Restaurant – Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 61643



Taverna tou Karayiannaki

Tel: 22530 – 93239 Dimatellis

Tel: 22530 – 93662

Municipality of Mithymna

Municipality of Mithymna

Mithimna (Molyvos)


his is the place for archeological excavations, medieval memories and golden glints on the blue Aegean Sea. Welcome to enchanting Molyvos, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Its traditional settlement, organized social life and hospitable residents will win your heart from the very first. The city of Mithymna – today’s Molyvos – is located on the northwestern tip of the island. Archeological finds show that this village has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and was a very important city in antiquity. Its architectural appearance is living proof of its eventful and tumultuous history. The citystate, which was embedded in the cliff-face and dominated by the medieval fortress, reached to the sea. Today’s settlement extends around and beneath the medieval fortress. All the houses are constructed of stone or wood, and densely situated amid a network of kalderimia. The overall picture of the village, with its courtyards and balconies, is not only uniquely

64 Lesvos Guide

beautiful but also a most interesting example of town planning, well-deserving of its protected status. Many mansions in Molyvos date from the late 18th century. One of these is the Giannakos Mansion, which is decorated with ornate murals.

Molyvos – The Star

Molyvos offers large hotels and many small ones, fine tavernas and restaurants and a charming shopping center where you’ll find whatever your heart desires. Be sure to stop at one of the hanging verandas for a coffee and sweet. The galaktoboureko (milk custard pie) and lemon pie at the Ble Alepos (Blue Fox) are fantastic! And the sunset may be the most enchanting in the entire Aegean. Relax and enjoy authentic gourmet delicacies with a vista of the endless blue sea. Famous Molyvos is one of Greece’s cosmopolitan spots. It enchants crowds of tourists who flock here from all over the world to stroll its cobbled streets. Its appeal is most likely due to the fact that,


Mithimna’s Fortress at night

despite its immense popularity, it has succeeded in preserving intact its appearance and character. There is never a moment’s boredom in this place. For the past 100 years it has been in the forefront and attracted quality tourism. And its unusual architecture and beaches are only part of the reason. Molyvos has a special, intangible quality, which the more you experience it the less you are willing to leave it! Here traditional charm keeps pace with development and sophistication. The town’s attractive shops and lodgings and its excellent, specialized services make this one of Greece’s most fashionable holiday spots. There’s something happening every hour of the day in Molyvos. Bars, tavernas, cafés, clubs, restaurants, florists, dry cleaners, pastry shops, jewelry shops, souvenir and pottery shops, press services, liquor shops selling superior wines from all over the world, organized parking facilities outside the historic center – all contribute to the town’s top ranking as a tourist destination. But Molyvos does not rest on its

laurels. Every year it takes care to revitalize and upgrade its tourist profile to ensure its reputation as an all-time classic leading destination.

The Harbor

At the outskirts of the village you’ll find one of Greece’s coziest, most cosmopolitan and picturesque little harbors. You’ll have a hard time choosing among the charming tavernas for your ouzo and meze or your breakfast. With its marine culture, Molyvos is one of the few places in Europe where the fishing boats still set out in a line every evening at dusk with their lanterns and nets. The caiques and yachts moored along the quay are an especially lovely sight.

An Elite Lifestyle

The small society of Molyvos is especially friendly and refined. Along with the locals, many foreigners from other places in Greece and abroad love this place and have chosen it for their holiday or permanent residence.

Lesvos Guide 65

Municipality of Mithymna


Its prominent jet-set and intelligentsia colonists are attracted by the quality and timeless allure of the village. They meet here in their renovated mansions during the summer and in other seasons, their comingsand-goings creating constant interest. Many artists, musicians, painters, poets and intellectuals of all kinds gather in Molyvos. Scientists, doctors, art dealers, and all sorts of people of means live in complete harmony with the hospitable locals.

An Easy-Going Way of Life

Cafe in Molyvos

el in the harbor’s quaint little tavernas The courtyards with their grapevines, bougainvilleas and jasmine The wisteria covered kalderimi in Molyvos’s central market, a protected landmark as is the rest of the village The fresh air, the swept alleyways, and the chic local women who pay careful attention to what they wear even when going to the grocer’s

What to See

Molyvos still has many public fountains with carved inscriptions and decoration dating from the Turkish occupation. The Old Bath House is an important architectural monument built in the last century. The village also has a Municipal Gallery with a fine collection of works by prominent Greek artists, including Tsarouchis, Halepas, Mytaras, Botsoglou and others. The remains of the dock in the ancient harbor and sections of the Roman aqueduct are Don’t Miss visible at the site of the modern harbor. The grilled sardines and salt-cured macker- Mithymna is one of the most important listDaily life in Molyvos usually takes place outside the home, in the tavernas and the central shopping district with its perennial wisteria vines. Just picture these fragrant lavender clusters in springtime! Imagine having your morning coffee or afternoon ouzo with friends on a veranda gazing out at the Aegean and the glorious sunset.

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ed settlements in the Aegean. Ancient Mithymna: The ruins of ancient Mithymna are found on a small peninsula on the northern coast of the island. The city was founded with the arrival of the Aeolians, in the late Bronze Age. According to excavation finds, Mithymna flourished in the Archaic period, when it was about the same size as the modern settlement is today. By the end of the

4th century BC, it had been reduced to the areas around the Acropolis and Dapia, and there is a section of the Hellenistic-period defense wall that was joined to the medieval fortress. The Archeological Collection of Mithymna This collection is housed in the old City Hall. It contains finds from the excavations in the greater area, amphorae dating from the 4th-

Lesvos Guide 67

Municipality of Mithymna

Cafe in Molyvos

6th centuries BC from the Spanish coast, northern Africa, Chios and Samos, as well as a collection of archival photographs from the liberation of the island from the Turks in 1912.


Eftalou is located 4 klm northeast of Molyvos. Its coastline is scalloped with beautiful coves with a view of Turkey, which is so close in one place that you can hear the roosters and automobile horns from the opposite shore. At one end of the town, you’ll find the famous healing spa, with rooms for rent and an excellent taverna with delicious home-style dishes and fresh fish.


Any local talking about Vafeio will undoubtedly begin by describing the ouzo and mezes at its traditional tavernas. A small village built on the western slope of Mt. Lepetymnos on the road to Skamnia, it has a view of Molyvos – see its illuminated fortress at night – the sea, and the Bodrum Peninsula on the Turkish coast. The tavernas here have a reputation for excellent regional cuisine and are a gastronomical destination. The sunset and vista are truly stunning. Vafeios was a farming settlement on the

68 Lesvos Guide

outskirts of the ancient Temenos (sacred precinct) of ancient Mithymna. It took its name from the dye-houses (vafeia) and the vegetable dye (vafi) used by the ancient Mithymnians for their clothing and textiles.


To the east is Argenos, a small village clinging to the mountain cliff like an eagles’ nest. The region is noteworthy for its natural diversity: perennial chestnut trees, rocky plateaus, sheer cliffs, and farther down on the road, the remains of the abandoned village of Chalikas. Frequent landslides forced its inhabitants to move to nearby lower land in the newly built village of Lepetymnos. The road leads to a beach with its thermal waters, ruins, and Ai Dimitris. The Museum of the National Resistance and Library of Lesbian Letters is housed in the residence of the Lesbian philosopher and scholar Giorgos Valetas (1907-1989).


This village is a preserved traditional settlement with mansions, narrow kalderimia, picturesque inclines, a beautiful square and a superb view of the Aegean Sea. Skamnia is the birthplace of the author, journalist and scholar Stratis Myrivilis (1890-1969).


Panagia Gorgona at Skala Sikamnias

You can see his ancestral home in the village and the square in Skala Skamnia with the mulberry tree under which he did his writing. The charming little taverna in the square serves excellent regional mezes at unbeatable prices.

Skala Skamnia

Skala Skamnia is renowned for the little church on the rock that provided the inspiration for the

popular book, “Panagia i Gorgona” (“The Mermaid Madonna”), by the beloved Greek writer, Stratos Myrivilis. One of the island’s most developed tourist destinations, Skala Skamnia has plentiful lodgings, excellent seaside tavernas known for their fresh fish, and lovely little beaches, the best being the pebble beach of Kayia. From here you can drive along the coast on a good dirt road all the way to the once-powerful Mithymna, medieval Molyvos.

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Municipality of Mithymna


Skala Skamia

Guest House run by The Skamia

& Lepetymno

Agricultural Collective

Tel: 22530 – 55224

Georgios Pinteris

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 55317

Vafeios Vafeios

Private residences Tel: 22530 – 71752 Petrino

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 71203

Eftalou Molyvos Sunrise

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71741 Adonis

Apartments Tel: 22530 – 71866 Delfinia

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71502 Aphrodite

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71725

Marianthi Paradise Hotel




Skala Skamnia Anemoessa

Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 55360

Folia tou Koukou

Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22530 – 55392

Kayia Beach

Apartments, Studios Kayia Tel: 22530 – 71905 / 71907 Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 55270 Molyvos I & II

Hotels Tel: 22530 – 71534

Mithymna (Molyvos) Triaina


Molyvos Periklis

Taverna Tsipouri Tel: 22530 – 71813 Alonia

Restaurant – Taverna Tel: 6932423771 Deilino

Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 71317 Posto

Café - Snack Bar Tel: 22530 – 71860 Resalto

Café Tel: 22530 – 71860

Heliovasilema (Sunset)

Café Tel: 22530 – 71093 Baracuda

Bistro & Cocktail Bar Tel: 6932265724

Mia fora ki enan kairo sto Molyvos (Once

upon a time in Molyvos)


Restaurant – Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 72225


Beach Bar Tel: 22530 – 72181

Taverna Tel: 22530 – 71752 Taverna Tel: 22530 – 71203

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71350 w w w . L e s v o s - Eftalou Fantastico Pizzeria – Taverna Amfitriti

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Restaurant – Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 71049

Restaurant – Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 71300 www.marianthiparadise-mo- Tel: 22530 – 71793 Octapus

Mouria tou Myrivili Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71713 Fish Taverna w w w . s u n r i s e h o t e l - Tel: 22530 – 55319

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 71584

Tel: 22530 – 71584



Tel: 22530 – 71990 w w w. M o l i v o s W I N E n

Municipality of Petra

Municipality of Petra Beach of Petra

and perfect for family holidays. Organized beaches in scenic bays provide umbrellas and lounges, beach-side service and water sports. Beautiful stone mansions with gardens filled with jasmine, palm trees and fruit trees give the village a particular elegance. Petra is especially popular with painters, writers and poets, and its old landed gentry add a note of nobility. This was the birthplace of painter Orestes Kanellis. The family of the naïf painter Niki Eleftheriadi owns an excellent private collection of Çanakkale pottery – but it is not yet open to the public. The Petra This traditional village is located just 55 klm market district of Petra is very picturesque from Mytilene. The birthplace of many no- with little shops perfect for browsing and soutables in the arts and letters, such as venir hunting. Thrasyvoulos Stavrou, Neoklis Kazazis, Takis Eleftheriadis, Orestis Kanellis, et al, it’s well The Islets of Petra known today for its active Cultural Center Opposite Petra are three uninhabited islets, and its library housed in the neoclassical a paradise for birds and small animals. Ai stone building of the former Girls’ Academy. Yiorgi, the “rabbit island,” is a wildlife reserve. These islands operate as ecological observatories and are a stopping place for small Beaches and Hotels Petra has a marvelous sandy beach with ho- craft and spear-fishers. If you want to escape tels, rooms, colorful tavernas, trendy bars, and the crowds, rent a peddle-boat and head here restaurants. It’s a lively place, day and night, to splash around at your heart’s content.


n the northwest side of the island you’ll find Petra, Skoutaro, Lafiona, and the settlements of Petri and Anaxos, traditional villages with stone houses, running waters and lush vegetation. The region is filled with silvery olive trees, and forests of pine, oak, cypress, and fruit trees. These are mountainous as well as coastal resort destinations with gorgeous sandy beaches.

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Excursions Adada geziler

Beach of Petra


This is the beautiful leeward cove at the right end of the beach. On your way there, enjoy a dip at the beach bars that have sprung up in recent years and offer shady straw umbrellas and comfortable bamboo lounges in a stylish environment.

Panagia tis Petr as (Our Lady of the Rock)

The center of the village is dominated by the rock on top of which is the Church of Panagia tis Glykofilousas (Our Lady of the Sweet Kisses). The rock is enormous, as imposing as those of Meteora in central Greece. At a height of 40 meters, it sprouts out of the tall, slender poplars as though wishing to dominate the level landscape around it. Climb the 114 steps to the top for a breath of Aeolian air and a view of the surrounding hills and blue waters. As prominent as a fortress, the church is a triple-aisled basilica with a narthex, a superb carved wooden bishop’s throne and a well with “holy water.” There are many legends surrounding the finding of the icon of the Virgin and the construction of the church. Ask

the locals to tell you about it.

The Church of Agios Nikolaos

This important ecclesiastical monument is located near the village square. It is a singleaisled basilica with three layers of frescos, the oldest of which is believed to be from the 16th century. It also maintains a museum.

The House of Vareltzidaina

You’ll find the House of Vareltzidaina a short distance from the square, practically abutting the Rock of Our Lady. Dating from the turn of the 18th-19th centuries, it is built in the Lesbian architectural style of the late Ottoman Empire: a marriage of oriental elements with neoclassical, Byzantine and baroque architecture.

Churches in the Area

While you are in the area, several other churches are well worth visiting: the Church of the Assumption (1880) in Skoutaro; the Church of the Taxiarch (1807) in Ypsilometopo; the Church of the Assumption (1807)

Lesvos Guide 73

Municipality of Petra Petra

in Lafiona; and the Church of the Assump- tra, Mithymna, Eftalou and Skamnia in all tion (1805) in Stypsi. their glory.

Historical Trail

In the mountains north of Petra there is an abandoned little village called Klapados, which was the site of the final victorious battles of the Greek militia against the Turks for the liberation of Lesvos in December 1912. From there you can set out on an enchanting hike through a beautiful public pine forest. Along the way you’ll enjoy stupendous bird’s-eye views of the villages of Anaxos, Pe-

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On the way up to the settlement of Petri, with its 15 stone windmills to its east, you’ll come across a boulder with a large hole in its center. This, legend has it, is where Achilles moored his ship during the Trojan War. Nearby is a cistern with a spring, known as the Spring of Achilles (Achillopigada). This little hamlet offers a spectacular sunset with the sun disappearing into the sea. Sit on the lofty


balcony of the little taverna, which is open all year, and you’ll be enchanted by the view, not to mention the atmosphere of the place and its marvelous traditional dishes.


Heading northwest from Petra you’ll come to Anaxos, one of the island’s most beautiful beaches with deep clear water and a little stream at its western end. It has a very well organized beachfront that developed over the past few decades, before there was even a settlement here. Its unique hilly landscape attracts many tourists, even those on limited budgets. Each summer many foreign visitors discover their inner selves in the company of the sea and friendly atmosphere. It’s a great place for


Avlaki Petra Alma

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 41100


Clara Hotel

Tel: 22530 – 41532

families too.


Located in the mountains, this traditional “hanging” village has two churches and the rock of Ai Yiorgi. With tavernas in the square serving scrumptious meat dishes and mezes, it’s the perfect choice, winter or summer alike. The view of Petra is striking and the Ligonas ravine, with 20 abandoned watermills, holly-oaks, pear trees, wild shrubbery and ancient cobbled path, is unbeatable for walking.


This verdant little village is located farther west on the north coast of the island. It is filled with plum trees and faces the large plain of Kalloni. Lassia

Studios Tel: 22530 – 41414 I lio n Troyan Hill

Maisonettes Tel: 22530 – 41227

Eleftheria Apartments

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 41227

Tel: 22530 – 41577

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 41046

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 41122



Lesvos Guide 75

Municipality of Petra Anaxos


Nautilus – Pegasus

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 42028 Anaxos Garden

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 41910

Evridiki Studios

Tel: 22530 – 41976 Anessis

Studios & Rooms Tel: 22530 – 41562 Fotis Alexandris

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 41393 Villa Kontaras

Tel: 22530 – 41653

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Maria Petra

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 93071



Trully Yako

Café – Bar Tel: 22530 – 41717


Taverna – Café – Ouzeri Tel: 22530 – 41186 Avlaki

Taverna Tel: 22530 – 41184


Achilleos Pigi

Café – Restaurant Tel: 6979811406

Cavo Cristo


Coco Café

Restaurant Tel: 22530 – 41970

Restaurant with Pool Tel: 6947449424


Kavaki Tel: 6974775169


Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22530 – 41388

Taverna Tel: 22530 – 98850


Avlaki Petra

Paradisos Taratsa

Tel: 22530 – 98606

Municipality of Eressos - Antissa

Municipality of Eressos – Antissa

Skala Eresou Beach

esides the towns of Eressos and Antissa, whose names come from the cities of ancient Lesbos, the Municipality of Eressos – Antissa also includes five other communities: Mesotopos, Vatoussa, Chydira, Sigri, and Pterounta. It occupies the most mountainous region of western Lesvos, which is dominated by bare rocky hills and a volcanic landscape – the result of the huge volcanic eruption that shook the island and the entire Aegean region in Prehistoric times. Traditionally an agricultural and herding area, it also contains some of the island’s major tourist destinations, including Skala Eressos and Sigri. The area is inundated with a rare yellow shrub, the rhododendron, which blooms in the spring and intoxicates you with its scent.


agora and prytaneion (city hall), and, according to sources, temples dedicated to Apollo, Athena, Dionysus and Poseidon. The Eresii also minted their own coins. At Xokastro there are the ruins of an ancient city and at Vigla those of an Acropolis. These are the Archaic-period walls, a Genovese and a Turkish castle, a medieval fortress and a Roman cistern. Eressos is also the birthplace of Sappho (630 BC), the greatest lyric poet in the history of world poetry, and Theophrastus, the founding researcher of plants, rocks and ecology.

The Archeological Museum

The Archeological Museum displays Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic pottery and relief carvings, coins, engraved funerary stele and the anchor of a Turkish flagship that was blown up by Papanikolis in the Bay of ErEressos, Skala Eressos essos in 1821. The village of Eressos has been inhabited since the late Bronze Age and has interestSkala Eressos with its ing architectural features. In its center is the seaside settlement of Skala, Blue Flag with its spectacular sandy beach. A beautiful 4 kilometer-long road lined with mulberry trees and poplars takes you from the mountain village to its seaside A Brief History Ancient Eressos had a stadium, theatre, settlement, Skala Eressos (also called Yialos).

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Cafe bar at Skala Eresou

The fragrant plain or kambos of Eressos extends before you with its tidy gardens and holiday homes. On your left is Vigla hill and behind that is historic Xokastro in the most privileged spot with the best view in the area. On the right is the rock with the chapel of the Prophet Ilias, and between that is the stunning beach with much to offer. The water is cold and crystal clear, and the beach is 2½ kilometers long with fine greyish rice-like grains of sand that won’t stick to your skin. On the beach you’ll see the Blue Flag of Europe, which awarded to the cleanest seas and beaches in the Mediterranean.

You’ll be enchanted by the picturesque tavernas and cafes, stylish lounge bars and excellent restaurants built on wooden balconies suspended over the sand just meters from the water’s edge. Here you risk becoming addicted and hopelessly entrapped in the unique atmosphere of Eressos. But do take the chance! You’ll only come out a winner.

Monuments to the Greatest Poet of All Time There are four sculptures dedicated to the poet Sappho between the square in Skala Eressos and the little harbor at the far end. They were created by leading Greek sculptors – G. Houliaras, Theodoros Papayiannis, Kyriakos Rokkas, and Loukas Loukidis – and inEressos: A Matchless talled in the summer of 2006. Two are marLifestyle Here on the organized beach of Skala Eres- ble, one is steel and the other is bronze. sos, idyllic beauty meets history and mythology. You’ll enjoy carefree holidays amid the The Neighborhoods fragrant heather when you stretch out on this of Skala Eressos vast beach. This is the place of alternatives. Going down towards the beach, the area on The aura of the place and the people who fre- the left is almost completely renovated, with quent it will entice you into all sorts of internal trendy Mykonos-type bars, all-day cafés, quests. The sand alone will cause you to aban- chic restaurants and postmodern tavernas. In the center is the charming square and one don yourself in its embrace. Water sports are at your command: canoe- of the village’s oldest tavernas with deliing, peddle-boating, sail-boarding, water- cious traditional dishes. There are also youthskiing and every other sort of beach game, in- oriented fast-food hangouts, authentic Greek kafeneions and cafés. Here you can find cluding volleyball and racket-ball.

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Municipality of Eressos – Antissa

Skala Eresou

yourself in the midst of an old-fashioned festival or a contemporary Latin party. Locals stay up all night playing cards or engrossed in endless philosophical discussions. Life in the square has something to offer at any time of the day or night. To the right, the west side offers authentic local color with shops, tavernas and cafés of a more old-fashioned type, defensively clinging to the pace and décor of earlier days. One or two stand out, though, boldly operating in a contemporary style. You might question whether or not things should change with the times or if they are right to resist. Opinions are always at odds, and this is a spirited part of the Eressos culture. All throughout Skala Eressos there are shady balconies right on top of the surf, giving the place an otherworldly air. Everywhere you go you’ll find something to eat, drink or purchase. Spend a late afternoon on one of these balconies and witness an incredible sunset. Home cooking in Eressos is particularly interesting. Homemakers adhere to many traditional recipes and the custom of putting up fig jam, caramel, molasses and cereals every year.

square offers a tranquil escape from all the hustle and bustle of the beachfront.

The road to Tsichliontas

If you take the southbound road through the hillside village of Eressos, you’ll come to the large valley of the Tsichliontas River, which empties into the sea at a deserted beach. There are other bays with empty beaches – good stops for boaters – scattered with petrified remains from the nearby barren mountains. The desolate dirt road from Eressos will take you to picturesque Sigri.


Following the main road after Antissa, heading west at the crossroads for Moni Ypsilou, you’ll arrive at Sigri, a lovely fishing village and the western sea gate of Lesvos. It has stone houses, quaint little streets, and a fortress built in 1757. It is surrounded by sandy beaches, the first and foremost being Panagia Faneromeni. Sigri is an ideal spot for tranquil, family holidays close to nature and the sea. Surfing enthusiasts can find windswept bays to practice their sport. It’s also a well-known fishing ground, perfect for spear-fishing and fresh fish. The little island, The Village of Eressos Nisiopi, with its lighthouse and petrified tree The village 4 klm above Skala Eressos is per- trunks, is a favorite sight. Sigri has a well-orfect for quiet evenings and dinners of local- ganized tourism infrastructure, with charmly raised meat and fresh fish. The village ing rooms, hotels, bars, cafés and tavernas.

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Municipality of Eressos – Antissa

The Petrified Forest

Sigri is famous for its Petrified Forest and for the only Museum of Natural History on the island. The Petrified Forest is one of the most beautiful monuments of gobal geological heritage. It extends over the northwestern portion of Lesvos, in a region covered almost exclusively by volcanic stone. The protected area encompasses 150,000 square meters. The Petrified Forest was created during the intense volcanic activity that occurred throughout the greater northeastern Aegean region 20 million years ago. The volcanic eruptions at that time caused enormous quantities of lava and ash to flow from volcanic vents, covering the center of Lesvos around these vents with molten lava, and the more distant regions with a thick layer of ash. Abundant petrified tree-trunks in very good condition can be seen submerged in the sea at a depth of 30 meters. The largest concentration of these has been recorded west of the little island of Nisiopi, opposite Sigri. Tree trunks with 2½-meter diameters have been found on the seabed. These finds corroborate the theory of the continuity of the Petrified Forest in this particular underwater region. In addition to tree trunks, systematic excavations here in recent years have uncovered petrified roots, fruit, branches and leaves.

A Unique Museum of Natural History

re-create the evolution of the broader ecosystem of the northern Aegean as it was 20 million years ago. There are special hiking trails or “lava pathways” connecting the petrified regions at: The Petrified Forest Park at Bali Alonia; the Sigri Park next to the Museum; and the Plaka Sigri Park, located 800 meters to the south For information call: 22530 54434.

Gavathas, Antissa, Liota

Farther west, the road will take you to a peninsula crowned by the medieval Ovrikastro fortress. This area and its surroundings hills comprise Ancient Antissa, a region of the Lesbian Exapolis, whose remains are scant. Behind this point is a plain into which the Voulgaris River empties. The next bay contains the small settlement and harbor of the Gavathas plain. Houses, tavernas, a beach with shallow water for swimming and a little islet out in the bay compose the sight you’ll see. The asphalt road from there takes you to Antissa and just beyond to Liota – yet another isolated hamlet clinging to the hillside with a charming square shaded by a perennial plane tree. The taverna here is famous throughout the island for its grilled meat.

Ancient Antissa

This is the birthplace of Terpandros, the founder of ancient Greek music. His fame is directly associated with the mythical Orpheus, whom it’s said Terpandros inherited the divine lyre that Apollo had bestowed on the former. When the Maenads tore Orpheus to bits, they threw his head along with the lyre into the sea off the coast of northern Lesbos, near Antissa, at a place now known as Orphikia. Terpandros recovered the lyre and gave the head an honorable burial, founding on the grave a sanctuary of Orphic worship. Descending towards Gavathas, you’ll encounter the famous 16th century Perivoli Monastery nestled amid dense oak and plane trees.

The Museum of the Petrified Forest was founded in 1994. Its mission is the research, promotion, display, preservation, protection, and all other suitable exploitation of this unique forest. Under the care of its inspired director, Nikos Zouros, and his dedicated staff, the Museum has become a major attraction for visitors to the island. The Museum building, a one-story structure of grey lava stone, contains permanent exhibition galleries, a temporary exhibition space, an audiovisual multimedia gallery, lobby, snack bar, Vatoussa shop, library, and laboratories. Vatoussa is a listed traditional village and one Its impressive collection of finds record and of the island’s most beautiful. Its highlights

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are the 19th century building (also called the Gogos Mansion) that houses the Cultural Center along with the Folklore Museum and Library, the Church of the Assumption (1850), and the Community Guesthouse.

Chydira also has the only working winery on the island. This wine comes from a variety unknown in the bibliography of viniculture, which the locals call krasostafilo (winegrape). Farther along you’ll come to the village of Pterounta, the birthplace of the important art collector Euripides Koutalidis, and Chydira, Pterounta Near Vatoussa is the village of Chydira, the the tiny hamlets of Tzithra and Rema. birthplace of the important Greek painter Giorgios Iakovidis. Iakovidis was the first di- Moni Ypsilou rector of the National Gallery in Athens, a This Byzantine monastery dedicated to St. post he held for 30 years, as well as the di- John the Theologian is perched atop Mt. Orrector of the Athens School of Fine Arts. Chy- dymnos, which dominates western Lesvos. It dira is located in the exact geographical is built like a fortress with loopholes and castellated cells. center of western Lesvos. The original location of Chydira is believed to have been in the region of Lapsarna, one Pithari Monastery of the island’s most enchanting deserted Just outside of Eressos is the Monastery of beaches west of Gavathas. The inhabitants Taxiarches. Popularly known as Moni Pimoved from there during the Middle Ages to thariou or Pithari, it most likely dates from protect themselves from the frequent pirate the Byzantine era. It was recently renovated invasions. The village’s great treasure is its an- and is a male order. cient settlement. The prehistoric city found above the village, on the summit of Koirania Mesotopos Hill, is testimony of its significance in Pre- This lively village is a beacon of Lesbian folk historic times. Excavations have yet to be car- culture and is renowned all over the island for ried out, but the area is well worth visiting by its artisans. Its celebrated builders and stone jeep or by foot for its stunning view and the masons have earned their reputation for visible foundations of a large prehistoric the construction of the island’s superb manor building that was probably a temple or houses, churches, retaining walls, and paved kalderimia. Stop off in the shady village palace.

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Municipality of Eressos – Antissa



Studio Hatziantoniou

square for an ouzo, coffee or spoon-sweet. Its harbor, the picturesque Tavari, its virgin beaches, Xrouso and Podara, and its excellent food attract many summer holidaymakers. Mesotopos is also home to the Women’s Agrotourism Collective, which produces homemade sweets, fruit beverages, liqueurs, and noodles, all from natural ingredients. The Collective has a new shop on the left side of the main road before the entrance to the village. Be sure to stop there to purchase some of the most interesting traditional sweets on the island. Mesotopos is also famous for its carnival and the Koudounati – men who dance in costumes of animal skins and animal bells.

Tavari Mesotopos Vassilis D. Vassilas

Skala Eressos

Apartments & Studios Tel: 6946257735

Furnished Apartments Tel: 22530 – 52100


Apartments Tel: 22530 – 53943

Taverna Tel: 22530 – 56730

Tel: 22530 – 56594 Villa La Passione

Fainareti Studios Akouna Matata

Tel: 22530 – 53039 Zaira Studios

Apartments Tel: 22530 – 53005 Stella Vaiou

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 53722



Snack Bar Tel: 22530 – 54216


Stavros Skenderis

Studios Tel: 22530 – 96398

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FOOD & FUN Liota

Skala Eressos Aigaio

Taverna – Estiatorio Tel: 22530 – 53808 Adonis

Taverna Tel: 22530 – 53786 Karavoyiannos

Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 53665


Eressos Bars Skala Eressos

Café – Bar Tel: 22530 – 54392

Café Bar Tel: 22530 – 53710

Tel: 6974334590 Austraila

Café Bar Tel: 22530 – 53287

Cavo d’Oro

Ethnic Bar Tel: 22530 – 52050

Eressos Square

Dance Club Tel: 22530 – 53540

To Kentron Faros

Restaurant Tel: 22530 – 54227 Restaurant Café – Bar Tel: 22530 – 54221 Café – Grill Tel: 22530 – 53843 Kafenes

Great food and cozy atmosphere


The Tenth Muse Par a Sol Naos


Tavernas – Cafés Pantelis

Taverna – Grill Tel: 22530 – 96121

Municipality of Kalloni

Municipality of Kalloni


Kalloni sardines – the famous papalina

alloni is located in the geographical center of Lesvos. It is blessed by nature and embraced by the waters of its bay. Its lush 100 square kilometer plain with its six rivers supplies it with abundant commodities. Underground and spring waters irrigate its grapevines and gardens. And its historical monasteries have stood by it as vigilant guards at the crossroads through which the island’s main roads have always passed. Nothing has changed here since antiquity. In recent decades, the town of Kalloni has grown considerably as a commercial center. It is the seat of the Municipality, which consists of the settlements of Agra, Anemotia, Arisvi, Dafia, Kerami, Parakoila, Skalohori, and Filia. It is also the seat of the Bishopric of Mithymna. Its metropolitan cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist is one

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of the largest in all of Greece. Crossing through the pine forest (tsamliki), at some point on your right you’ll see a pile of stones. These are the famous “stones of the Arapis.” Legend has it that a giant living in the forest would force passersby to gather stones for the building of his mansion. In the autumn months, you’ll come across many locals here, collecting mushrooms – the celebrated pefkites and amanites. Like all of Lesvos, this region possesses a wealth of flavors.

The Bay

The Bay of Kalloni is the island’s largest, with a very narrow opening to the sea. It is known for its excellent fish (the famous sardines) and shellfish, including scallops, clams, mussels, and more. It is the island’s ecotourism center, since despite some deterioration the nature in the


Skala Kallonis

greater region has managed to remain unaltered. The habitats, which contain significant numbers of rare birds, attract large numbers of ecotourists and have been incorporated into the Natura 2000 network of protected natural regions. The main sights in the town are the Primary School, with its neoclassical façade, and many other architecturally interesting buildings.

The Kambos or Plain

In antiquity, the kambos was called Eudentron (many trees), and is particularly pleasant in the spring when the spectrum of colors is an artist’s delight. Its 100 square meter area is watered by six rivers: Kalis Langadas, Tsiknias, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Alevropotamos, and Acheron.


island. With tourist facilities to satisfy every need, it’s a popular destination for Greeks and foreigners alike. It offers modern luxury hotels and a huge variety of choices for food and recreation. Its sandy beach is lined with cafés, bars, ouzeri and clubs. Its annual Sardine Festival is a particularly lively event.


Nestled among streams and gardens, Parakoila is located in a place blessed by nature. Its otherworldly landscape, protected from winds by the mountain peaks around it, is the final stop of greenery before you begin your climb towards Apothika.

Ancient Makara

There are important archeological sites in Apothika (between Parakoila and Agra), where there is a 6-meter-tall ancient fortification wall, built in the “Lesbian style” of construction, and in Makara, which took its name from Makareas, the first settler of ancient Lesbos.

Like Pyrra, Arisvi was the daughter of the first settler of Lesvos, and gave her name to the ancient city. Today, her little community welcomes you just before you reach Kalloni. Its ancient Acropolis, the medieval Paliokastro, was near the sea. You can still see the remains Tsichranta, Kalos Limenas of the medieval fortification wall scattered On the other side of the Municipality are the throughout the region. bays of Mikri (Little) and Megali (Big) Tsichranta (also known as Ambelia), with Skala Kalloni olive groves and oak-covered hills, two This scenic harbor has one of the most streams that empty into the sea, and tidy garbeautiful and best organized beaches on the dens filled with greens and flowers. If you pre-

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Municipality of Kalloni

tion. Be sure to visit the Women’s Agrotourism Collective for some handmade marzipan. A spot of ouzo at Koutsavlis’ coffee shop in the old quarter is just the thing to relax you. The village still has a covered minaret and mosque, which is now used as a storehouse. Walk through the narrow streets of Skalohori to admire the superb stone houses. The entire village has a view of the sea, and its squares are the perfect places to stop for ouzo and the mezes of the day. Depending on the season, you can buy fresh feta, myzithra or graviera cheeses from the local dairy. And the main square with its plane tree is ideal for a rest.


fer solitude, Mikri Tsichranta is for you. The volcanic landscape with its dark rocks extends as far as Kalos Limenas. This peninsula is the port of Skalohori, where many former acorn storehouses have been converted into homes and cafés. Proceed from here to the squares, coffee shops and collectives in the traditional villages of Filia and Skalohori. Filia has wonderful stone houses with brick decora-


Skala Kalloni Malemi

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 22594


If you take the main road out of Filia and turn left you’ll come to Anemotia, a village renowned in antiquity for its wine. This explains the grapevines that still grow here. It has wonderful kalderimia and a unique church with a stone templon carved by the sculptor Theodoros Vloutis. The village is known for being the birthplace of many prominent Greek sculptors. At the village bakery you’ll find raisin rusks, and at the Women’s Collective you can buy traditional cookies, biscuits and old-fashioned local sweets.

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 22013


Alexandra Vacharaki


Restaurant – Pizzeria Tel: 22530 – 23600

Parakoila Beach Orora

Rooms Tel: 22530 – 94104

Fish Taverna – Restaurant Restaurant – Pizzeria Tel: 22530 – 94271

Skala Kalloni

Restaurant – Fish Taverna’ Restaurant – Pizzeria Tel: 22530 – 94258

Hotel Tel: 22530 – 22201

Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 22113


Rooms Tel: 22530 – 24181

Tel: 22530 – 23995

Tel: 22530 – 95329

Restaurant – Pizzeria Tel: 22530 – 23431

Fish Taverna Tel: 22530 – 95501

Ilyda Luxury Suites

Tel: 6944272004 w w w. k a l o n i b a y a p a r t P e lla


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FOOD & FUN Mimis


Heliotropio II

Heliotropio I

Taverna tou Hontrou Karyiani

Municipality of Agia Paraskevi

Municipality of Agia Paraskevi

Agia Paraskevi


ake the main road from Mytilene to Kalloni, turn right at the saltpans and you’ll come to Agia Paraskevi, a lovely town with a traditional settlement and important private and public buildings. Known for its spiritual and cultural activity, it is the seat of the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi and Napi. Many of its private mansions were built during the second half of the 19th century. Its noteworthy public buildings are: The Museum of the Lesvos Olive Oil Industry created and run by the Piraeus Club Cultural Foundation (PIOP). This cultural complex is housed in the renovated facilities of an old communal olive oil press, whose use has been turned over to the Foundation by the Municipality. The project was included in the 2000-2006 Northern Aegean Regional Investment Program and was funded by the 3rd Community Support Framework. The Museum is part of the PIOP network of museums of industry and technology and is an extension the project of the Museum of the

90 Lesvos Guide

Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparta (Peloponnesus). The Schoolhouses, built in 1923, in the main square of the village. The Church of Taxiarchis (1856), a tripleaisled basilica, next in size to Our Lady of Agiassos. The picturesque chapel of Agia Paraskevi located in the rock cave on the hill above the settlement. The famous Festival of the Bull takes place here.

The Sanctuary of Lesbos

At Klopedi, five kilometers outside of town, is the archeological site and ruins of an Archaic and Classical-period temple, which some say is the temple of Apollo Napaeos. Column capitals consisting of two large volutes and a palmette filling the space between them supporting the epistyle were found here. Scholars call this type of capital Aeolic. This name is justified not only because of the geographical area in which the largest number of the most typical examples were found, but also because of their shape.


The Town Hall of Agia Paraskevi

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Municipality of Agia Paraskevi

The Temple of the Mesa

The archeological sites at Agia Paraskevi are especially important, since ancient Lesbians worshipped many gods in large sanctuaries in the kambos, fragments of which have been found. The temple of Mesa, dedicated to Zeus, Dionysus and Hera, was the center of ancient Lesbian worship and communication. In the early 4th century BC, it was the seat of the League of Lesbian cities. The site contains many architectural fragments from the temple. In early Christian times, a funerary basilica was built on top of the temple, which was later supplanted by a postByzantine church. An enormous quantity of relics, ruins, altars and remains still exist in the area, testifying to the religious life of the Lesbian people who came here to worship at the great temple of Pyrra. Legend also has it that the Apostle Paul came here in 52 AD to preach Christianity to the inhabitants of the island.

The Bridge of Kremasti

The 8½ meter high Bridge of Kremasti is located 3½ klm northwest of Agia Paraskevi on the road to Stypsi at the fork of the Tsiknias River. The bridge dates from the time of the Gateluzzi (1355-1462). The village has a women’s collective (The Sellada), which produces a large variety of sweets, baked goods, preserves, handmade pasta, trachanas (porridge meal) and much

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The village of Napi belongs to the Municipality of Agia Paraskevi. In antiquity the word napi meant forested valley or a ravine traversed by a river. The ground floor of the village’s Primary School (supervised by the 10th Ephor of Classical Antiquities) contains an exhibit of Aiolic capitals, found in the courtyard of the chapel of the Taxiarchis at Trouloti Napi, and other archeological fragments collected in the area. Other rooms of the Primary School display a small folklore collection of utensils and tools from the traditional Lesbian home. On exhibit as well is a painting depicting Smyrna (Izmir) by the folk artist Theophilos.


Municipal Guest House

Tel: 22530 – 31255

FOOD & FUN To Kotero

Grill Tel: 22530 – 31550 Agia Paraskevi

Taverna – Ouzeri Tel: 22530 – 31002

Municipality of Polichnitos

Municipality of Polichnitos


he region comprising the Municipality of Polichnitos is made up of the beautiful villages and hamlets of Vassilika, Lisvori, Polichnitos, Skala Polichnitos, Nyfida, Vrisa, Vatera, and Stavros. It combines the beauty of its natural landscape with a dynamic human presence since earliest history. Located in the southwestern portion of the island (45 klm from the capital, Mytilene), it has an equal balance of olive groves, pine forests, natural springs, and superb beaches. The name Polichnitos is a compound of the words “polla ichni” (many traces). Local oral tradition has it that out of fear of the Saracen pirates, many small, mostly coastal hamlets (ichni) relocated to their current inland position, surrounded by hills, and invisible both from the Bay of Kalloni and the Aegean Sea. The region is fascinating. The discovery of Paleolithic tools and the systematic recording and study of animal fossils in the Vatera region fill one page alone. There are also countless early Christian churches and monasteries, and picturesque chapels. The stonework used the modern villages is unique. You’ll also find a Folklore Museum, a Museum of Natural History, and the famous thermal spas at Polichnitos and


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Lisvori. The wetlands of the Bay of Kalloni and Almyropotamos are of particular interest. The combination of these attractions and the vast beaches at Vatera and Nyfi, the comfortable lodgings, the fresh fish and shellfish from the Bay, and the many cafés and eateries lining the beaches make this a perfect holiday spot. Must-sees include the Cathedral of Agios Georgios, with its magnificent stone bell tower, considered the most beautiful in Lesvos, and the Museum of Folklore and History, which contains an extensive collection old tools and everyday utensils. Noteworthy, too, is the 12th century Moni Damandrios, with its old frescos. The surroundings are known for their rich flora and fauna. Lisvori produces the sweetest chickpeas on the island, and its aniseed, used to flavor Mytilenian ouzo, is much sought after.


The Municipality of Polichnitos has many important archeological sites. Kourtir, in Lisvori, is one of the earliest Bronze Age settlements. At Achladeri, on the eastern side of the Bay of Kalloni, you’ll find the submerged remains of the ancient city of Pyrra. Sections of the city’s harbor works and traces of its temple are visible on the seabed.




This picturesque village is located in the southern portion of the island, 51 kilometers from Mytilene. In addition to its long history, it has an especially interesting Natural History Collection. The basilica of Zoodochou Pigi (Wellspring of Life) with its fine templon screen is a noteworthy Byzantine monument. The region is famous for its olive oil, which is the primary occupation of its inhabitants. Walk through the inviting narrow little streets and enjoy the tidy stone houses, fragrant flower gardens and the few shops that are still in operation. The weathered walls retain their pastel hues of pink, orange, ochre and blue. And the lively square with its shady plane tree is pervaded with the atmosphere of a bygone era: youths roaming around on motorbikes, children playing in the street, old men chatting in coffee shops. Strike up a conversation with the locals, drink some water from the village fountain and try the bread baked in a stone oven. Every coffee shop serves ouzo and meze, traditionalbrewed Greek coffee and spoon-sweets.

The Natural History Collection

lieved to be unique not only in Greece but in all of Europe. On display in the Vrisa Natural History Collection, which is temporarily housed in the schoolhouse, are fossils, rocks, a number of taxidermed animals, a reproduction of a giant turtle, bones of giraffes, deer, antelopes, gazelles, oxen, and the jawbone and parts of the skeletons of two proboscidean ancestors of the modern elephant. Most impressive of all are the bones of a family of giant apes of the genus Paradolipithecus, the earliest representatives found to date in Europe.

Skala Polichnitos

Don’t miss out on one of the most scenic little coves on the Bay, whose shellfish right from the sea will wet your appetite. You won’t want to leave!


Be sure to visit leeward Nyfida, one of the Bay’s most ethereal beaches. Tavernas there serve excellent fresh seafood and fish straight from the sea. In summer months the locals gather in the café-bars, changing the tone and atmosphere of the place.


One of the most unique regions in the The Paleontological finds from the region’s Mediterranean, Vatera is characterized by its river-fed lakes and lake deposits are be- unrivaled natural beauty. Its 9-kilometer

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Municipality of Polichnitos

stretch of beachfront whose width ranges from 10 to 30 meters is one of the island’s most famous resorts. During the summer you’ll find many lodgings, tavernas and bars for comfortable, carefree seaside holidays.

pine forests the higher you go. The summit offers a panoramic view.


Continue your northward ascent. The pines and spectacular gullies accompany you on you way. On your right you’ll see Mt. OlymKato and Ano Stavros pos. The uphill trail will take you to the deThe Vourkos River empties into the eastern serted chapel of the Prophet Ilias. From there end of Vatera, in an area filled with olive trees the island literally spreads at your feet and the and surrounded by pine-covered moun- view is utterly enchanting. tains. If you follow the river you’ll come across two picturesque little villages nestled Megali Limni in its valley, Kato (Lower) and Ano (Upper) Continuing on, you’ll find the dried bed of Stavros. Stop at one of the little cafés before Megali Limni (Great Lake) with its outdoor ascending into the mountains that rise to the green market. Locally grown produce waiteast and conceal the villages of Plomari. The ing for you to sample include unique Agiasroad from Kato Stavros winds through the sos sour apples, pears, mountain greens, cabolive groves, which are replaced by trachea bage, cauliflower, and grapes.



Marita Studios

Tel: 22520 – 71530

Nyfida Nyfida

Hotel Tel: 22520 – 41841

Vatera Irini

Hotel Tel: 22520 – 61407 Morfoula

Apartments Tel: 22520 – 61093 Irida

Rooms Tel: 22520 – 61119

Porto Focas Studios

Tel: 22520 – 61475

Sappho & Neraida Studios

Tel: 22520 – 61272 Edem


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Tel: 22520 – 61880 Zouros

Rooms & Studios Tel: 22520 – 61259 Villa Pouloudia

Tel: 22520 – 61761

Madonna Studios

Tel: 22520 – 61121


Ancient Pyrra – Achladeri Stou Nonta

Tel: 22520 – 71269

Skala Lisvori – Skamnioudi Limanaki

Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 71345

Skala Polichnitos Meltemi

Tel: 22520 – 71577 To Limani

Tel: 22520 – 41856



Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 41329 Nyfida

Restaurant – Taverna Tel: 22520 – 41841 Grigoris

Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 41838



Taverna Tel: 22520 – 61775


Sappho – Neraida

Restaurant – Taverna Tel: 22520 – 61272 Foteinos

Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 61761 Kozanitis

Taverna Tel: 22520 – 61093 Zouros

Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 61259 Irini

Restaurant Tel: 22520 – 61407

Municipality of Agiassos

Municipality of Agiassos

At Olymbos


n the way to Agiassos you’ll come to a beautiful spot called Karini. It’s a lovely place to stop for a drink or meal in one of the cafés shaded by perennial trees. One of these cafés has a mural painted by the folk artist Theophilos. The itinerant painter frequently relaxed in the hollow of the plane tree there.


Agios Dimitrios

Just outside Agiassos on the way to Polichnitos is a place called Agios Dimitrios. It’s an inviting place to stop and sample the homemade spoon-sweets made by a grandmother, mother and her daughters – three generations serving tradition. Continuing on your drive you come to the famous Tsingos springs. From there turn left at the fork of Megali Limni and take road that goes to the summit of Mt. Olympos, where you’ll find half the island at your feet. To reach hillside Agiassos, you’ll pass through the most densely forested part of the island and across ravines, gullies and streams. There, you’ll also find an ancient trail with lush vegetation, which, if you enjoy hiking,

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will take you up to Olympos.


Agiassos is located on the slope of Mt. Olympos at an altitude of 475 meters, 27 kilometers from Mytilene. With exceptionally lush vegetation, traditional architecture, and inquisitive residents, Agiassos is a listed artistic and religious settlement with a characteristic dialect and a cultural atmosphere that visitors are sure to find interesting. The Agiassos Carnival is well-known, and is distinguished from other carnivals in Greece for its idiosyncrasy, and the caustic, spirited satirical verses recited by local folk poets in the classic vernacular idiom. Agiassos also has a number of crafts workshops that contine a long tradition of pottery and wood carving. The textile shops where you can watch women in traditional dress weaving on looms are completely authentic. Light a candle to the Virgin and visit the Folklore Museum in the church’s courtyard. On display are works of folk art and a reconstruction of an Agiassos period room. The icon of the Virgin Mary dates from the 4th century and the village’s monastery was


Cafe at Agios Dimitrios

founded in the 9th century. It is said that the settlement grew up around the church. The icon is considered miraculous and attracts the faithful from all over the world. The old coffee shops in the square are particularly interesting. Try some of the delicious mezes with ouzo or Greek coffee, made the old-fashioned way, and buy some fresh touloumotyri (cheese) when in season at the grocery. Farther up at the top of the hill is Stavri, another neighborhood of Agiassos. It has a restaurant with excellent home-style cooking. The place is surrounded by chestnut trees, and in October holds a Chestnut Festival. Kastanades (chestnut vendors) grill chestnuts on their foufou (charcoal brazier). And village homemakers make various specialties such as chestnut bread, meatballs with chestnuts, pork with chestnuts, candied chestnut spoon-sweets, and other dishes. The vassilopita (New Year’s pie) with fyllo pastry, spices, and soft myzithra cheese made by the Women’s Collective is excellent. The entire region of Agiassos is encircled by offshoots of the rocky mountain and is known for its dry climate, its lush vegetation, its chestnuts and its gurgling waters.

Don’t Miss

At the entrance to the village is the privately owned Stratis Tsinis folklore collection with examples of local handicraft production. The

well-known Anagnostirio Anaptyxi, the village cultural center was founded in 1854 when Agiassos was still under Turkish rule. Today the Anagnostirio (Reading Room) has a library building and auditorium for films and plays, as well as a Folklore Museum that also houses the Picture Gallery with paintings by Lesbian artists.

The Chestnut Tree Forest

An exciting trail with one of the most beautiful routes on the island begins at the Apesos quarter and ascends southward along the stream. You’ll pass through a chestnut grove alongside the gushing waters. After encountering chapels, farm houses, pine trees and gullies, you can then take the road to Megalohori, the old capital of Plomari. If you visit in October, in addition to the stunning route with its view of the Bay of Yera, you’ll be able to sample the most delicious chestnuts you’ve ever tasted. Instead of taking the route to Megalohori, you can turn left onto the little rural road that leads to Skopelos – there’s a small sign on the left – to cross the impressive Karionas plateau. If you call ahead, you’ll find a meal waiting for you of stewed rooster and noodles, hot savory pie, boiled goat, and kid baked in a woodburning oven. But don’t worry – even if you haven’t made arrangements, they’ll surely be able to rustle up something for you in this

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Municipality of Agiassos


quaint little taverna located at the edge of nowhere. This village is the starting point for wonderful excursions along dirt roads surrounded by ever changing scenery. Take the time to ramble the footpaths and you’re certain to discover something special. Approximately 3 kilometers from Megalohori are the other Plomari villages: Paliohori, Neohori and Akrasi. From there you can also reach the deserted village of Milies


Milies is a nearly deserted village at the top of the mountain. Several years ago, an idealistic local resident began a program of volunteer tourism that has breathed new life into the village. This is an excellent starting point for excursions into the mountains, hikes along the trails, free camping, or a stay in one of the renovated houses. Ask for Kostas Moukas, the heart and soul of the village. If you encounter the old granny who lives in the “rag-house,” take a look inside her remarkable shack, which is covered from top to bottom in rags and cloths. Until a few years ago she was the village’s sole inhabitant. Nowadays in the summer you’re sure to find some locals returning from the big city to enjoy their holidays in the fresh air. Your route next leads to an enormous olive grove and a marvelous view. At a crossroad

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you’ll see a sign to Kournela. Don’t miss out on seeing this virtually deserted village, perched like an eagle’s nest on the mountainside, with its olive trees, olive oil presses, wooden balconies, large terracotta storage jars, overgrown gardens and kalderimia all ravaged by time. These villages literally hang facing one another and have breathtaking views of the valley. The hamlet of Kournela was recently purchased by a private entrepreneur who plans to restore the entire village to attract visitors into the mountains of Lesvos.



Agia Sion

Hotel Tel: 22520 – 22242



The Kafeneio tou Theophilos

Tel: 22520 – 22227 Stavri

Home-style cooking Tel: 22520 – 22936

Agios Dimitrios Agios Dimitrios

Taverna Tel: 22520 – 22209

Municipality of Plomari

Municipality of Plomari


he southern coast of Lesvos, where the land lovingly commingles with the sea, is where you’ll find picturesque Plomari, the capital of the Municipality of the same name that includes seven villages, known as the Plomaritohoria: Akrasi, Ampeliko, Megalohori, Neohori, Palaiohori, Plagia, and Trygonas. The region of Plomari is one of the most important in Lesvos. In the mid 19th century, Plomari emerged as the island’s second largest industrial and commercial center after its capital Mytilene. Due to its coastal position, it further developed as an important junction for marine transport and trade. Here, you’ll find yourself in a continuous olive grove that extends into the abrupt slopes, gullies, mountains, little gorges, and inaccessible semi-mountainous regions that touch the sea on the south. The mountainous terrain on the north and east has helped isolate the region. Its picturesque little villages have golden beaches, lofty cliffs, fantastic mountain landscapes, lush vegetation, distinctive architecture, and age-old traditions that have remained unchanged through time.


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Plomari is the main town with a large commercial center, tourism and Agios Isidoros, an enchanting sandy beach with turquoise water. Lively Plomari is the perfect combination of tradition and evolution. The derelict olive oil presses, the soap factories, the mansions with their unusual architecture, the narrow alleyways, the impressive churches, and the Folklore Museum with its extensive collection are testimony to the town’s great acme of the last century. The market square near the sea and the main square on the waterfront are the town’s economic, social and symbolic hubs. The large Plomari coffeehouses are located here. At one time there was a stage for musicians, a popular attraction for the townsfolk. There are coffeehouses throughout the entire town, mostly along the two central thoroughfares in the market.

History in Brief

(19th – 20th centuries) Operating at this time were 12 soap factories,


Kryfti Panagia

10 olive oil presses, 1 hydraulic flour mill, 2 seed-oil factories and 2 steam-powered talc factories that processed the mineral talc mined in the area. Industrial Plomari of 1912 also had 2 tanneries and two large shipyards. Soap production was particularly lucrative especially after talc became a standard additive to the formula. In addition, raki, or ouzo, production expanded significantly in Plomari. Originally, the spirits were produced in small local stills called rakaria. But by the end of the 19th century these had evolved into distilleries, and ouzo production emerged as an important industry in significant quantities for export.


The various ouzos of Plomari, distinguished for their smoothness and strong aniseed aroma, are famous for their unrivaled taste. A visit to the distilleries of Plomari-Arvanitis, Yiannatsis, Pisiladis, and the Barbayiannis Museum, representing the oldest label, is a most interesting experience.


Plomari has approximately 3,500 inhabitants. From its former industrial acme, only the ouzo distilleries remain in operation and the olive oil presses run by the Collective. Olive oil cultivation continues to be a primary profitable concern for the region, but in recent years tourism has been rapidly gaining force. Plomari combines holiday tranquility with a lively summer lifestyle. Its fine hotels of every category, travel bureaus, shops, bars, cafĂŠs, restaurants, and traditional tavernas operate year round.

The Inhabitants

Although the core of the village were primarily the proud Megalohorites, its limited Ottoman presence and financial prospects drew many outside islanders, mostly seamen, from the Cyclades, Kythera and Psara, who settled here at that time. These various influences created a unique environment with different customs and traditions, and a peculiar vernacular architecture not found anywhere else in Lesvos.

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Municipality of Plomari

Agios Isidoros


dense with olive trees. Ascending by foot along the riverbed, you’ll find the old olive-oil press built in the center of the gulley with a beautiful view of the olive grove. If you continue, you’ll come to the abandoned houses of Mesouna. Take the left fork at the crossroads and you’ll arrive at the beautiful Karionas plateau with its tall pines, stone hill with a medieval castel, view of the Bay of Yera and a little café for refreshments. A downhill road from the chapel of Agia Paraskevi takes you to Skopelos, the main town of Yera.

The houses in the village are built in a dense urban plan. The architectural particularity is due also to the influence of the colonists, and consists of two- and three-story stone houses with terracotta roof tiles and balconies with carved stone cantilevers. Their unadorned romantic classicism, often with pediments on their facades, and varicolored painted wooden window frames and doors are an expression of the good taste of the Plomarians. This aesthetic is readily apparent to the visitor, since the building boom of recent years has not significantly adulterated the character of the town’s old Don’t Miss quarters, which preserve virtually untouched The Cultural Center, housed in a renovated the architectural structures and forms of the soap factory, has a reception/conference hall and permanent and temporary exhibits. past. It is named after the educator, Benjamin Lesvios. Crossing the “Plomaria” To the west is picturesque Ammoudeli and The marina for tourist craft provides all the a little farther down the coastal road is the necessarily services.

pebble beach of Melinta and after that is Drota with its impressive waters. If you follow the The other Plomari Sedountas River, you’ll discover a very shady villages area, encircled by ivy, plane trees and little Megalohori wooden bridges that lead to an old water- This lovely village essentially comprised driven olive press and concealed thickets Plomari until the 18th century. It consists of

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18 smaller villages – the Plomaria – and was the largest farming and industrial center in the region. The great fires of 1841-1843 destroyed Megalohori, and even to this day you’ll frequently hear it referred to as Kameno Horio (Burnt Village). Nestled among the trees, it is situated at an altitude of 600 meters and justifiably is called the Switzerland of Lesvos. The great frost of 1850 destroyed the olive trees, forcing the inhabitants of Megalohori to move down to the sea. Hence the founding of modern Plomari, which until the early 20th century was called Potamos after the small Sedountas River that runs through it. The route through the olive and pine trees, the beauty of the village and the hospitality of its inhabitants make for an unforgettable experience. Keep an eye out for the local honey – it’s among the best in Greece! Nearby you’ll find the olive oil press run by the Protoulis family, which produces the prize-winning Aegean Gold olive oil.

tainside three kilometers outside Megalohori. This abandoned village awaits reconstruction by some local entrepreneur who will turn it into a tourist destination. Across the mountain is Palaiohori, the largest and most active village in the Plomari district.


Ambeliko is a village buried in the gully that descends from Mt Olympos and joins the Vourkos River below. Pine trees and running water, deserted chapels, quaint coffeehouses, a lovely church, a medieval castle and traces of Roman ruins compose its picture. There is a small coffeehouse whose proprietors are happy to treat you to whatever they’ve got cooking in the pot or fry up some eggs from their free-range hens with potatoes and local feta. Not to be missed!

Boros: A Village Apart

Boros is located 16 kilometers outside Plomari. Also known as Neohori, Boros is an old Kournela-Palaiohori village of unique beauty built on the steep The village of Kournela climbs up the moun- slope of a concave cliff over the Prionas

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Municipality of Plomari

Ravine. The name Boros or Bouros probably comes from the abundant waters that bubble up in the gardens and basements of the houses (bora = shower). In 1957 it was renamed Neohori. Few people live there today, but they have the unique privilege of enjoying along with their sublime solitude the unique nature and scenic location of their village. The Neohori Society is very active in publicizing the uniqueness of the village.

The Oil Press Museum

bread, is considered among the best in Lesvos. The road that continues downward takes you to the mystical gully of Kryfti Panagia (Hidden Virgin) and Drota beach.


This quiet little village in the region of Agia Varvara (St. Barbara) right outside Plomari has a lake. It’s worth stopping for meze in the taverna under the plane trees.


This village of small farmhouses will enchant The Boros “Mechanism” is an important and you, and the entire scene will take you back unique monument of traditional industrial to a bygone era. architecture and definitely worth a visit.

Idyllic Beaches


This village west of Plomari has an exceptionally beautiful square with a large plane tree and quaint coffeehouses. It has extraordinarily beautiful natural surroundings with rugged mountains and lush vegetation. Its fresh air, tranquility, and conversations with the locals will relax you for sure. See if you can sample some of the sausages made by the local butchers. And the local olive oil, which is great by itself for dunking


Agios Isidoros

Demina Boutique Studios

Tel: 22520 – 31880 Akroyiali

Hotel Tel: 22520 – 33302 Albatros

Studios & Apartments Tel: 22520 – 31572 Afrodity Studios

Tel: 22520 – 31640 Sappho

Hotel Tel: 22520 – 31338

106 Lesvos Guide

The pebble beaches and turquoise waters of Drota at Akrasi and Melinta at Palaiohori present unique landscapes that are at once exciting and restful. Although they are relatively hard to reach, they are well worth the trip. The tavernas on both beaches are truly authentic. If you have a boat, you simply must go to Kryfti Panagia, located on the rocks. Take a dip in the deep turquoise sea and feel the Aegean coursing through your veins!

Villa Myrevis

Studios Tel: 22520 – 31939


Pantelis Psaros

Tel: 22520 – 93234 Maria

Rooms Tel: 22520 – 93239


Church guest house

Tel: 22520 – 91067




Tel: 22520 – 31466 Melinta

Pantelis Psaros Fish Taverna Tel: 22520 – 93234

To Tavernaki tis Maria

Tel: 22520 – 93239

Mama Katerina

Taverna – Restaurant Tel: 22520 – 32844

Municipality of Yera

Municipality of Yera

Evriaki at Gulf of Gera

Besides Papados, its seat, the Municipality of Yera is made up of the villages of Palaiokipos, Mesagros, Skopelos, Plakados, and Perama. The region saw substantial economic development in the final years of the Ottoman occupation and in the period between the two World Wars. This is evidenced by the many factories (olive oil presses, soap factories, tanneries) and company offices that traded in olive oil and other local products. Yera businesses maintained branches in Istanbul, Europe and Egypt. Other evidence of this economic prosperity can be seen in the mansions in the villages. One of these, the Bravas Mansion, today’s City Hall, was the home of the mother of Nobel laureate Yera The five villages that make up this beautiful Odysseus Elytis. region are arranged like an amphitheatre facing the idyllic Bay and olive groves. The sixth Yera Bay village, Perama, is the harbor for the other The Bay area is a magnificent monument to five. It is located on a lush plain with many nature and to the entire Mediterranean. It is flower and vegetable gardens and running the heart and soul of Yera and is intrinsic to the lives of its inhabitants. The mouth of the waters. Bay resembles a fiord and presents an enchanting sight of silvery olive trees reaching History Historically Yera was known by the name of to the water’s edge and little islets standing Iera (Sacred). In Roman times there was a like sentries at the mouth of the channel. It coastal city on this spot, which was proba- is scalloped with beaches of infinite beauty, bly engulfed in the seismic activity during the and tiny coves line the inside of the Bay as well as its outer Aegean shore. The most 1st century BC.


xiting from the eastern side of the town, take a small detour to the hamlets of Alyfanta, Pyrgi and Kedros, and then head towards the enchanting Bay of Yera. The view of the various shades of green and blue is stunning. The Bay, with its narrow mouth, resembles a lagoon. Pass through Therma and descend towards Dipi, the scenic port of Yera. Farther up on the mountain you’ll encounter Evreiaki on your left, the road that will take you to Perama. This is one of the most gorgeous routes on the island.

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Tarti Beach

beautiful and developed of the beaches is Tarti, which has crystal clear turquoise water and is located at the foot of a verdant hill. Thousands of tourists flock here every summer to enjoy, among other things, the abundant fresh fish served in the quaint tavernas. The beach-side service is not to be missed! Equally enchanting are the quiet bays of Tsilia, Ligonari, Tsafi, Fara and Yialiotissa, which are a boater’s paradise.

Perama The harbor and commercial center of the region, Perama connects Yera to Mytilene by a ferry that terminates at Kountouroudia. Perama was once home to the largest tannery in the Balkans, which closed some twenty years ago. There are other industrial buildings built in the architectural style of the period as well as Byzantine monuments.

Lesvos Guide 109

Municipality of Yera Gulf of Gera

The other villages of Yera

Papados has superb mansions testifying to the acme the village saw in the early 20th century. Noteworthy sights in Mesagros are the mosque with its peculiar minaret and the bakery with murals by the folk painter Theophilos. Irini, the local cultural society, holds many events at Platanaki, the coffeehouse owned by Mrs. Efstratia. In Skopleos,

WHERE TO STAY Elaionas Yera

Perama Yera Lesvos Tel: 6947449615


Yera Bay

Tourist residences Tel: 22510 – 51145 Villa Ariadni

Tel: 22510 – 52080

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make a stop in the square with its enormous plane trees and large public fountain, and enter the little cave under the church of Agia Magdalini. The most important sight in Palaiokipos is the church of Agios Ermolaos, a triple-aisled basilica built in 1795. Visitors who enjoy hiking can choose to wander the along the many olive-lined trails. The most interesting is the one from Skopelos towards Mt. Karionas.

Evreiaki Bay of Yera Fotis

Tel: 22510 – 51792

Athanasios Tsobanellis

Apartments & Studios Tel: 22510 – 83422


Pension Ligiros

Tel: 22510 – 82736




Fish Taverna Tel: 22510 – 51948

Marmaro – Avlonas Despotis

Tel: 22510 – 51234 To Marmaro

Tel: 22510 – 51379



Taverna – Restaurant Tel: 22510 – 82736

Municipality of Everyetoulas

Municipality of Everyetoulas



he Everyetoulas River has irrigated the large fertile kambos, or plain, for thousands of years. Its waters descend from a network of tributaries through an enormous olive plantation that the Municipality shares with Agiassos. The estuaries of the Dipi wetlands are home to a large number of plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and insects, as well as the now rarely spotted otter. The waters of the tributaries have created deep gullies with areas of natural beauty, and the wetlands are included in the Natura 2000 program. Unique experiences await the traveler on the trails through this area. The Municipality consists of the villages of Lambou Myloi, Asomatos, Ippeios, Sykounta, Kato Tritos, Mychou, and Kerameia. Ancient ruins are everywhere, as well as religious monuments: the Byzantine monastery of the Taxiarch in Kato Tritos; the church of the Taxiarch in Asotmatos (1796); and the church of Agios Prokopios in Ippeios (1741). In Mychou in the region of Fousa, there is a cave in which Hellenistic figurines and graves were found. At Paspala in Lambou Myloi you can see a section of the Roman Aqueduct that supplied water to Mytilene. Dipi has old factory buildings, and in Mylelia

112 Lesvos Guide

a recently restored watermill has become an important tourist attraction. Tourism is making gradual inroads into Everyetoulas. Pigadakia is the region’s developed beach and in its picturesque little coves you’ll find tavernas serving fresh fish from the crystalline waters of Yera Bay. For nightlife try Dipi and Pigadakia. Asomatos is a picturesque mountain village, claimed by some to be the most beautiful on Lesvos. Agioi Anargyroi, a stunning area with plane trees and streams, has a taverna nestled in a shady spot. One of the Municipality’s most significant initiatives has been the creation of a Center for Environmental Education at Asomatos, and a Visitor Information Center in Lambou Myloi.



Local Grill

Pigadakia Pigadakia

Ta Pigadakia Restaurant – Taverna Tel: 22510 – 93484

To Tavernaki ton Agion Anargyron

Tel: 22510 – 22765

SHOPPING Stroll around the shops of Mytilene, Chat with the locals, Sample ouzo and meze in the tavernas, And shop to your heart’s content.


Pastry and Sweet Shops Fantastiko

Ermou 23, Mytilene To Spiti tou Glykou (House of Sweets)

Kountourioti 3, Mytilene & in Kalloni Valentino

Eleftheriou Venizelou 6, Mytilene Vyzantino

Odysseus Elytis 13 Gardenia

Yakinthou & Papadiamanti Chrysomallousa Vieneza

Akrotiri Mytilene Kentrikon – Spanelli Bros

Ermou 38, Mytilene

Tel: 22510 – 26088 Stedana

Akrotiri Mytilene Distilleries – Ouzo Labels Tel: 22510 – 37347 Try them all to find your favorite flavor and, aroma MINI – FIMI from EPOM (Distillers Periklis Albanis Union of Mytilene) Ermou 45, Mytilene SMYRNIO from LEBA Tel: 22510 – 24727 Veto from G. Spenzas Matis – Matthaios Distillery A. Klavas – E. Kambouris Kefi – E. Linos Distillery Ermou 78, Mytilene Dimnio from EBA Tel: 22510 – 28140 Tikelli – Tikelli Distillery Psaropoula – I. Giannakakis A. Molyvos Lingos O.E. EVELYN Ta Mylelia Samara – Samaras Distillery ABEE Tel: 22530 – 72197 Giannatsi from Giannatsis EPE Pitsiladis – Pitsiliadis Distillery Mythimna Agricultural Collective Plomariou – Arvanitis Distillery AE Varvayianni – Varvayiannis Dis- Tel: 22530 – 71261 At the turnoff to the fortress of tillery Molyvos Kronos – Galinos Distillery

Local Products



Koutourioti 33, Mytilene Waterfront

114 Lesvos Guide


Ignatios Kalantzis Market

Tel: 22530 – 41679


Adada Shopping geziler

Mini Market in the Market place of Mytilene


Tel: 22530 – 22814

Organic Olive Oil Ioanna Zourou

Moria Lesvos Tel: 22510 – 31456 / 6977800017 Protoulis Bros.

Megalohori Lesvos Tel: 22520 – 92290



Skalohori Lesvos Tel: 22530 – 98355 / 6942200188

Ecological – Organic Products Trofi & Ygeia (Food & Health)

Ermou 251, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 27976

Women’s Collectives of Lesvos Women’s Agrotourism Collective of Skalohori Tel: 22530 – 98887 Women’s Agrotourism Collective of Filia Ermopylaia Tel: 22530 – 98051

Women’s Agrotourism Collective of Agia Paraskevi Selada Tel: 22530 – 31196 Women’s Agrotourism Collective of Agra Ta Lefka Tel: 22530 – 95568 Women’s Agrotourism Collective of Mesotopos Tel: 22530 – 96090 / 96490

Women’s Agroprocessing Collective of Agiassos Tel: 22520 – 23318 / 23089 / 22019 Women’s Collectives in other areas: Anemotia (Tel: 22530 – 98981) Asomatos (Tel: 22510 – 42265) Papados (Tel: 22510 – 84211) Parakoila (Tel: 22530 – 94441) Polichnitos (Tel: 22520 – 42260) Petra (Tel: 22530 – 41238) Mithymna (Tel: 22530 – 71451)


Athanasios Grammis

Mytilene Shop Vernadaki 1 Tel: 22510 – 24225

Tyrokomiki Albanis (Albanis Cheese)

Lesvos Guide 115


Limnou 9, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 45651 Skordou Alex. Dimitriou

Nees Kydonies Tel: 22510 – 94500 At the edge of the village E. Douka & SIA

Mantamados Tel: 22530 – 61295 (shop) Ioannis E. Mystakellis

Tel: 22530 – 61223

Mesotopos Eressos Vassilis Vassilas


Kavetsou 3, Mytilene



Mitropoleos 4, Mytilene Malama

Handcrafted jewelry Epano Skala, Mytilene

Antiques Parelthon

Tambakaria, Mytilene

Handmade Pottery

Sifnos Pottery Works Tel: 22530 – 96191 (Tavari) / Akrotiri Mytilene 6946669769 Tel: 22510 – 25324



Sapphous 5, Mytilene More & More

L. Voutsika 5, Mytilene

Footwear – Leather Goods Xenos




Epano Skala, Mytilene Present Point

Ermou 224, Mytilene Metal – Glass – Light

Kapa Tepé Tel: 6938064279 Afisorama

Ermou 60, Mytilene

Opticians Eye com

A. Giannarelli 11-13, Mytilene Poulellis Vision

Ermou 50, Mytilene

116 Lesvos Guide

Ecclesiastical Items Woodcarving The Vyzantio

Mitropoleos, 12 Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 24445

Bookstores Papsotiriou

Ermou 211, Mytilene

For your boat

Aegean Marine Service

60 klm on the rural Mytilene-Thermi road Tel: 22510 – 24000

For your mobile phone Vodafone

P. Kountouriotou 51, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 27224 Odysseus Elytis 5, Mytilene Tel: 22513 – 00650

Beauty Hair Salons Salon Jorge

Papadiamanti 15B, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 43828

Shopping Spas – Massage

Massage in the Thermal Baths

Call for appointment: 6973529322



Eresos Football Club

5X5 Mini Soccer Eressos Tel: 22530 – 53500 / 6938274742 Olympico

D. Malakis – V. Karvellis

Football fields 5X5 & 7X7 Neapoli Mytilene Tel: 6994949491

Lina Tentoma-Zervou

Neapoli Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 61636 / 6944652750

Private Veterinarians

A. Giannarelli 66, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 46488 Theofilopoulou 6, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 25200 Veterinary Center

Eressou 11, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 28250 / 6944790131 Branch office: Skopelos Yera Tel: 22510 – 84250

Rural Veterinary Clinics

Mytilene Agiassos Antissa Kalloni Mantamados Plomari Petra

Tel: 22510 – 47428 Tel: 22520 – 22288 Tel: 22530 – 50351 Tel: 22530 – 22317 Tel: 22530 – 61032 Tel: 22530 – 32322 Tel: 22530 – 41142

Lesvos Humane Society (Filozoikos Syllogos Lesvou)

Tel: 22510 – 47710 Kivotos (Ark)

Tennis Sailing

P. Kountourioti 47, Mytilene Waterfront Tel: 22510 – 20204 / 6974045461 Mytilene Yacht Club

Makrys Yialos, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 20782 Divisions for Rowing (Tel: 6946551233), Water Polo (Tel: 6976612894) and Swimming (Tel: 6977224374)


Mytilene Municipal Pool

Port (Statue of Liberty) Tel: 22510 – 26477 Open to the public (except August) daily 12.30-15.30


Lesvos Competitive Bridge Society (SLAM)

Animal Welfare Society (Somateio Yacht Club Merimnas Adespoton) Makrys Yialos, Mytilene Tel: 6937400469 Tel: 22510 – 42660 / 6973023831 Every Monday, Wednesday and FriLesvos Animal Hospital day at 8.30pm, Couples tournament Agia Paraskevi Mytilene Air Club Tel: 22530 – 32006 Mytilene State Airport Tel: 22510 – 38765 Pet Grooming & Pet Shops Giataki

Theophilos Hatzimihail 21 Kallithea Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 22765

Motorcycling EDIL

Lesvos Guide 117


Bikers Union of Lesvos Tel: 22510 – 25082 (L. Valsaakis) LE.MO.LE

Lesvos Motorcyclists Club Tel: 6946273257 (S. Valinas) 6974810309 (G. Markou)

Breeze Water Sports

Eressos Tel: 6945039280

Press Centers NewsStand

P. Vostani 6, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 37137 L.A.M.M. This shop stocks 3,500 foreign language Mytilene Competitive Motorcyclists magazines Club Tel: 693261675 (K. Trikos)

Paintball Olympico

Neapoli Mytilene Tel: 6994949491


Lambros Zaloumis

Plomari Square Tel: 22520 – 32851 / 31677 Psaras Travel

Plomari Tel: 22520 – 33555

There are breathtaking trails scattered Eressos Women’s Festival throughout the island, some of which are still Every September for the past 8 years, Sappho unexplored. Others are marked but equally Travel in Skala Eressos has organized the Women’s Festival, which attracts hundreds of unique. women from all over the world. The two-week-long Festival offers live muToumba Ecotourism sic and theatre, workshops, exhibitions, and Plomari sports. Tel: 6932447517 The Festival is a fun opportunity for women email: from around the world to meet in Skala Eressos and share cultural, athletic and social Diving - Water Sports experiences.






eographically, Lesvos belongs to the North Eastern Aegean island group, and, together with the islands of Limnos and Agios Efstratios, comprises the Prefecture of Lesvos. Mytilene is the administrative headquarters and seat of the University of the Aegean. Lesvos has an area of 1,630 square kilometers, 370 kilometers of coastline, and approximately 80,000 permanent residents. It is 5 to 8 nautical miles from Turkey.

How to get there

By air

to the Port of Mytilene. Piraeus Port Authority Tel: 210-4226000 For a recorded announcement of daily departures: Tel: 1440 The following shipping lines have service to and from Piraeus and connect Lesvos with other ports and islands including Limnos, Agios Efstratios, Chios, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Volos, Mykonos, Samos, and Rhodes. Lesvos Maritime Company

Piraeus: Tel: 210-4123185 Mytilene: Tel: 22510 – 28480 / 22220 Hellenic Seaways

Main office: Tel: 210-4199100 Mytilene: Tel: 22510 – 20716 Olympic Airways and Aegean Airlines have daily flights to Mytilene from Athens and Saos Ferries Thessaloniki. Flying time is 40 to 50 minutes. There are flights to Limnos every day except Main office: Tel: 210-5250000 Mytilene: Tel: 22510 – 40802 Fridays and Sundays. Olympic Airways has flights to and from Sigri: Tel: 22530 – 52140 Samos and Rhodes every Thursday and Saturday and direct flights to and from Rhodes every Monday and Wednesday. A one-hour flight also takes you to and from Chios every Tuesday and Thursday. For information and reservations contact the airline offices or the various travel agencies on the island. острова. Olympic Airways

Main office: Tel: 210-9666666 Mytilene Airport Tel: 22510 – 61802 / 60803 Aegean Airlines

Main office: Tel: 210-6261000 / 9988300 From mobile phone: 801-11-200000 Mytilene Airport Tel: 22510 – 61120 / 61059

Connection with Turkey

Boats run between Mytilene and Ayvalik nearly every day. The boat leaves Mytilene at 8.30am and returns at 6.00pm. The trip takes about 1½ hours. For information and tickets call 22510 – 41400. There are also boats to Dikeli two or three times a week. The trip takes 1½ hours. For information and tickets call Olive Groove, 22510 – 37533. You can also take a 2-hour boat ride to the beautiful city of Foça (ancient Phocaea), which is only 2 hours from Izmir. There is a large bazaar there every Tuesday. For information and tickets call Fun Tours & Travel, 22510 – 40802.

Travel Agents Olive Groove

P. Kountourioti 11, Mytilene Mytilene’s Odysseus Elytis Airport is 6 Tel: 22510 – 37533 / 37534 kilometers south of the city on the coastal road. (Tel: 22510 – 38700) (тел.: 2251038700). Fun Tours & Travel P. Kountourioti 87-89, Mytilene By sea Tel: 22510 – 40802 / 6945344240 Ships sail every day from the Port of Piraeus

120 Lesvos Guide


Skala Eresou

Zoumboulis Tours P. Kountouriotou 69, Mytilene Waterfront Alonia Holidays Tel: 22510 – 37755 Molyvos Tel: 22530 – 71355 Mytonis

Panayiouda Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 31777 / 6942424121 Mytilene, Kountouriotou 87 Tel: 22510 – 37500 Picolo Travel

P. Kountourioti 73A, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 27000

Travel Services LTD

Molyvos Tel: 22530 – 71627 / 71629 Nirvana

Petra Tel: 22530 – 41991 Sappho travel

Travel Services LTD

Skala Eressos Tel: 22530 – 52140 / 52130

Samiotis Tours

Kalloni Tel: 22530 – 23519

Eressos Travel

Kalloni Tel: 22530 – 22268

P. Kountourioti 67, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 21966 P. Kountourioti 43, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 42574-76



Kavetsou 40, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 42746, 42313 / 694851027 Zaloumis Travel Plomari

Lesvos Guide 121

DATA Tel: 22520 – 32851 Psaras Travel

Plomari Tel: 22520 – 33555


ACS courier

Mytilene: E. Venizelou 5 Tel: 22510 – 46500

Automobile Rentals Best

Kountouriotou 87, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 37337 / 6947046464 Molyvos: Tel: 22530 – 72145 / 6944554437 Lesvos Car Rental

Loutra Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 27825 / 6932896712 Billy’s

Mytilene: Tel: 22510 – 20006

122 Lesvos Guide

Anaxos: Tel: 22530 – 41057 Homerus

Petra Tel: 22530 – 41577 Costas

Anaxos Tel: 22530 – 41097 / 69749228473 Also offers road assistance AKTI

Molyvos Tel: 22530 – 71358

Road Assistance E L PA

Tel: 22530 – 29866 / 6973234777 For all Greece: 10400 Pallesviaki Road Assistance

Tel: 22530 – 29866 / 6973234777 Intersalonika

Tel: 22510 – 46231



From mobile phone: 11555 (free)


The city of Mytilene has branches of most Greek banks, complete with ATMs. These include Alpha Bank, Aspis, ATEbank, Emporiki Bank, Lesvos-Limnos Collective, Eurobank, Bank of Cyprus, Geniki, National Bank of Greece, Millennium, and Bank of Piraeus. Yera has branches of the National Bank and ATEbank. Branches of the National Bank can be found in Agia Paraskevi and Mithymna, and branches of the Emporiki in Agiassos and Polichnitos. In addition to the ATMs at bank branches, there are numerous ATMs at many convenient locations (port, airport, hospital, town squares etc).

Real Estate Agents

Tel: 22510 – 44245 Remax Tel: 22510 – 20960 Hibiscus Real Estate Services Tel: 22520 – 41885

Construction Companies – Land Sales Asimakis Hatzimanolakis

Iktinou 2, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 41244 / 6947202221


Vostaneio Hospital

Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 57700 IKA

Ependysi & Katoikia (Investment & Residence)

Epano Skala, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 26155


Antissa Tel: 22530 – 56440 Kalloni

Tenedou 1, Mytilene Tel: 22510 – 25888

Kavetsou 17, Mytilene

Health Centers

Lesvos Guide 123

DATA Tarti Beach

Tel: 22530 – 22410 Polichnitos Tel: 22520 – 41666 Plomari Tel: 22520 – 35000, 31111, 32151

Regional Clinics

Thermi Mantamados Molyvos Petra (Petra Pharmacy Stypsi Skoutaro Eressos Agra Anemotia Parakoila Filia Agia Paraskevi Agiassos Ippeios Kato Tritos

124 Lesvos Guide

Tel: 22510 – 71255 Tel: 22530 – 61217 Tel: 22530 – 71509 Tel: 22530 – 41210 Tel: 22530 – 41319 Tel: 22530 – 91209 Tel: 22530 – 92222 Tel: 22530 – 53221 Tel: 22530 – 95333 Tel: 22530 – 98888 Tel: 22530 – 94044 Tel: 22530 – 98254 Tel: 22530 – 31250 Tel: 22520 – 22225 Tel: 22510 – 93150 Tel: 22510 – 93955

Private Doctors

Internists – General Medicine Stratis Yiannikos

Tel: 22510 – 41125 Kavetsou 29, Mytilene Opposite Olympic Airways office Ioannis Zerdelis

Tel: 22510 – 42874 Smyrnis 7, Mytilene Opposite KTEL intercity bus station


Efstratios N. Tapanlis

Tel: 22510 – 47788 / 6949696854 Kavetsou 5 (ground floor), Mytilene


Charalambos Antoniadis

Tel: 22510 – 41014 / 6973698488 Kavetsou 5, Mytilene Maria Yiannadaki

DATA Tel: 22510 – 27730 / 6944327092 Kavetsou 20, Mytilene Georgios Bantavanis

Tel: 22510 – 37390 / 6974956279 Eressou 2, Mytilene

Monastery of Agios Raphael 22510 – 71259 MANTAMADOS

Municipality Police Station MYTHIMNA


Municipality Police Station


Municipality Police Station Taxi

Christina Koutza

Tel: 22510 – 44664 / 6944363959 Agios Therapontos 5, Mytilene Maria Abatzi-Antoniou

Tel: 22510 – 21030 A. Giannarelli 7, Mytilene Christos Atsikbasis

Tel: 22530 – 29211 / 6972826359 Kalloni


Michail S. Katanakis

Tel: 22510 – 40778 / 6932460966 Kavetsou 24, 3rd floor, Mytilene

Useful Phone Numbers MYTILENE

Tourist Police 22510 – 22776 Municipal Tourism Bureau 22510 – 44165 Police 22510 – 41911 Prefecture 156 City Hall 22510 – 27777 Customs House 22510 – 28311 Port Authority 22510 – 24115 Courthouse 22510 – 45489 Post Office 22510 – 20100 Cathedral 22510 – 40892 Agios Therapon 22510 – 22561 Radio Taxi 22510 – 25900 KTEL Intercity Bus Station 22510 – 28873 Local Bus Station 22510 – 46436 Chamber of Commerce 22510 – 28431 THERMI

Municipality Administration 22510 – 71277 Mayor’s Office 22510 – 71200 Police Station 22510 – 71222

22530 – 61200 22530 – 61222

22530 – 71313 22530 – 71222


22530 – 42222 22530 – 41222 22530 – 42022


Municipality Police Station

22530 – 53600 22530 – 53222


Municipality Police Station

22530 – 22288 / 22174 22530 – 22100


Municipality Police Station

22530 – 31637 22530 – 31222


Municipality Police Station Port Authority

22520 – 32225 22520 – 41222 22520 – 41059


Municipality Police Station

22520 – 22080 / 23200 22520 – 22222


Municipality Police Station Port Authority

22520 – 32200 22520 – 32333 22520 – 32296


Municipality Police (Papados) Port Authority (Perama)

22510 – 82226 22510 – 82222 22510 – 51555


Municipality Police Station

22510 – 96155 22510 – 93222

Lesvos Guide 125

Notes 126 Lesvos Guide

Notes Lesvos Guide 127

Notes 128 Lesvos Guide

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