Unexplored Lesvos

Out of print

Renowned for its olive-oil, Lesbos is also known by the name of the island's capital Mytilene and as the home of world famous ouzo. Lesbos is the land of many legends and myths, the birthplace of lyric poetry and one of antiquity’s most famous poet, Sappho. Belonging to the island group of northeastern Aegean islands, Lesbos is the third largest island in Greece. With a total surface area of 1630 sqm.and 370 kms of coastline, Lesbos is located very close to the Asia Minor coast of Turkey across from the Gulf of Adramytiou and is separated by a cluster of islets known since ancient times as Moschonisia.

The island is essentially divided morphologically into two with an almost vertical line, starting from Molyvos and ending at Kalloni. The eastern part of the island is lusciously green, full of olive groves and pine forests, while the western part is dry with scattered rocks, boulders and bare mountains which are the direct result of the volcanic explosions that occurred more than 20 million years ago.

The lunar landscape of the barren west side of the island crosses small creeks and in the purple mountains sprout pink oleanders and osiers, while grapevines find a way to exist in the valleys created by the decomposition of volcanic-rich material.

This geological upheaval has endowed the island with many medicinal springs and today hot and cold water gushes mainly on the coast, while the volcano has evolved into a unique monument of nature, the Petrified Forest.

Besides the endless sea of olive groves, you can find oaks, chestnuts and pine forests covering most of the island, whilst many herbs and plants also grow amongst them. Included in the unique Lesbian flora are the yellow rhododendron, the rare peony, many wild orchids and black pines. In the Mt Olymbos forest live the Turkokotsobanakos, Galia as the locals know the runty Asian squirrel, species found exclusively on the island. The salt-water habitats of the Kalloni and Gera bays are suitable resting places for migratory birds including the flamingo, the black stork, the masked shrike, the marsh goose and Audoin's gull, attracting the intense international interest of birdwatchers who come to observe the migratory birds in spring.

Today Lesbos still has a wide variety of picturesque settlements in mountain areas and a huge selection of coastal beaches, from the very rocky to the vast sandy beach of Vatera. Sappho's island has a history spanning back 3000 and in some areas 5000 years, as well as a very interesting and unique architectural tradition that can be seen even in the smaller villages.

For an insight into the life of Lesbos, delve into the island's museums including the Teriade and Theophilos museums in Mytilene as well as the Petrified Forest Natural History Museum in remote Sigri. In Lesvos, tradition, culture, history and the arts blend in with the untouched natural environment. Explore the castles, waterfront mansions and small cafes where locals kickback with ouzo served with scrumptious mezes. Scout the road network that will lead you through olive-grove covered mountains, offering numerous choices to those who want an alternative adventure. The light here is magical, the scents are breathtaking. In the springtime thousands of flowers and migratory birds resting in water habitats deserve your visit.With a temperate climate and almost always sunny throughout the year, Lesbos ranks among the best year-round travel destinations for the discerning traveler.