Lesbos Island is one of the undiscovered jewels of Greece. Endowed with a diverse landscape, rich cultural history and an even richer natural history it lies in the northern Aegean close to the coast of Turkey. The third largest of the greek islands it is packed with picturesque villages, old churches, scenic harbours, historical sites and mountains covered with acres of forests waiting to be explored.
The islands history from the roman, byzantian to venetian and ottoman periods is still apparent, with many influences from its past still evident in the architecture today.
Mytilene the islands capital is a bustling and busy harbour town and home to the Aegean University. The architecture of the city is a mix of the various influences from its past including many mansions built in the venetian style which give it a grandious air. It is home to several good museums including what many judge to be two of the best museums of art in Greece. One of these is the Teriade Musuem of modern art with works by Matisse, Miró, Chagall and Picasso amongst others. It is an astonishing collection for an aegean island and one that deserves a leisurely visit. The harbour itself is lined with shops, restaurants and many bars and coffee shops where you can relax and watch the world go by. The large byzantine castle overlooks the city and many cultural events are held there during the summer. The ancient theatre of Mytilene, located in a forest of pine trees was one of the largest in Greece, built between 300 and 100 bc it had a capacity of over 15,000 people. It so inspired Pompeii during his visit to the island that he used it as a prototype for the "theatre of Pompeii" in the Roman capital.
As you leave the city and travel around the island you will witness a landscape of extremes, full of surprises. Dramatic mountains rise majestically from the sea cloaked in the green of pine forests, the wetlands and salt marshes around the Gulf of Kaloni which attract wild birds during the migration seasons, fields of fruit trees and olive groves and land covered in volcanic rock. Thanks to its volcanic past the island has many hot springs famous for their therapeutic benefits since ancient times which are well worth the visit to soothe aches and dispel the stresses of home. There is a petrified forest close to the village of Sigri with fossillised trees dating back over 15 million years. It has been declared a natural monument by the greek goverment and the Museum of the Petrified forest and a Geopark have been established to both conserve the area and continue scientific research into its origins.
With endless beaches, many of them including the beach at Skala Eressos winners of European blue flags with crystal clear waters, the island is perfect for sun worshippers. For those wanting to get away from the crowds in the high season there are many secluded little beaches where you can enjoy yourself with your friends on what will often be your own private beach for the day. Many of the quieter beaches have a kantina where you can indulge in a simple lunch of local fresh fish, sip an ouzo and relax.
Lesvos is also popular with walkers with many walking routes sign posted all over the island. In the spring you will bump into birdwatchers and orchid hunters. They are attracted here by the fact that is one of the main migration routes for birds between Africa and Europe with the bonus that has more varieties of wild flowers than anywhere else in Europe. As a result it is one of the premier locations for wild birds in Europe and attracts birdwatchers from around the world.
With a multitude of secluded bays, quaint villages, a vast array of rare flora and fauna as well good food and an irresistible charm Lesvos will captivate you and make your holiday unforgettable.