Lesvos Displays True Greek Island Life

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Lesvos, a Northern Aegean island, is the third largest island in Greece. What separates it from many other Greek islands is that it has many more inhabitants, around 120,000, and only a fraction of the tourists. It’s a perfect place to get a true feel for what real island life is like.

Lesvos is one of the greener islands of Greece and the economy relies heavily on agriculture. It is a primary producer of olive oil, ouzo, and wine. The island is also known for producing and inspiring creative artists and thinkers through the ages. It was once a major cultural center known for its Philosophical Academy where Epicurus and Aristotle once taught.

Mytilini is the busy main town and port located on the eastern coast of Lesvos. In some instances, Lesvos is even referred to as Mytilini, which is good to know if you plan on traveling here. Mytilini is a lively student town that is set on the ruins of an ancient city. The waterfront area is where most of the town’s sights can be found. The Archaeological Museum of Mytilene, in a 1912 neoclassic mansion, displays finds from the Neolithic through the Roman eras.

The church of Ayios Therapon, built in the 19th century, has a Byzantine Museum that is filled with icons. The Kastro, which today serves as a military bastion, offers a fine view of the surrounding area. The Musee-Bibliotheque Teriade was the home of Teriade whose publications helped promote modern art. Here you can find paintings by Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse. The Museum of Theophilos, in the former house of folk artist Hatzimichalis Theophilos, includes 86 of his works.

Ermou is the main bazaar street where you can find the best shopping in Mytilini. Visitors can buy nearly everything here as they walk through the fish market, antique shops, and old mansions. Nightlife in Mytilini can be found in the harbor area. The cheaper and more informal establishments are on the east side while the more sophisticated and expensive establishments can be found on the south end.

The city of Molyvos features a picture-perfect harbor front and is home to many artists. Its Kastro is a Byzantine-Genoese fortified castle that offers beautiful views of the sea below. It also features a full calendar of concerts during the summer months. The Leimonos Monastery houses 40 chapels and an impressive collection of precious objects. St. Ignatios Agalianos on the ruins of an older Byzantine monastery founded it. Women are not allowed inside the main church.

Skala Eressou is the city that, according to legend, was the home of the poet Sappho. Many gay women come here to celebrate her for her sensual poetry.

If you are looking for the island’s best beaches, head to Eressos. This old village is separated from the coast and was developed to protect its inhabitants from pirate raids. The most popular beach is the town beach. A small island is within swimming distance and the winds appeal to windsurfers. Many rooms are available to rent within walking distance of the beach.

Agiassos is considered the prettiest town on Lesvos. It features gray stone houses, cobblestone lanes, a medieval castle, and local handicrafts including pottery and woodwork.

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