Although you might think it is called Mytilene, let us sort this out for you. The name of the third-largest island of Greece is Lesbos (or Lesvos). Mytilene is the capital city and main port of the island. This beautiful island is located in the northeastern Aegean Sea, opposite the Turkish coast. It is well known of its traditional villages, the endless pine and olive groves, the famous petrified forest, the sun-washed beaches with clear waters.
Lesvos attracts visitors that want to discover the island for themselves, having little package tourism. Rent a car with Simplybook to explore the diverse villages and landscapes of Lesbos. One thing you can be sure of: the more time you dedicate to Lesbos, the more it will give back to you. Let’s explore together 7 places in Lesbos you shouldn’t miss!
7 places in Lesbos you should not miss!
Mytilene, the main port and capital of Lesbos, opposite the Turkish coast – 8 km northwest of the airport
On the eastern coast of Lesbos, opposite the Turkish coast is Mytilene, the main port and capital of the island. The city is built around the port, from the coast up into the seven hills. Mytilene is a lively town with traditional old neighbourhoods, a Byzantine fortress, the old harbour and a busy historical centre. The students of the University of the Aegean play their part in the city’s everyday life. With many young people living on the island, Mytilene has to offer a rich nightlife too. Here you will find a variety of bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from. Make sure you visit the numerous ouzeries at the waterfront or those hidden in the narrow streets of the town.
Plomari, 40 km southwest of Mytilene
Plomari is the second largest town of Lesbos after Mytilene. It is located at the banks of Sedountas river at the south coast of Lesvos. Without a doubt, Plomari, with its amphitheatrical shape, is much more picturesque than Mytilene. The fishing harbour, the old mansions and the old small factories, reveal the commercial and industrial history of the area.
Preferably, visit Plomari during the evening. Park your car and walk through the streets of the village and the coastal promenade. Without delay head to a kafeneio to grab a bite and try the local ouzo! Plomari is famous for its ouzo and there are several family-owned distilleries in the area. During the hot summer days seek refuge from the sun under the shade of the village’s old plane tree.
From Plomari drive to 2 km east to the village of Agios Isidoros, at the southernmost tip of the island to the long, pebbled beach located next to some impressive rock formations. Agios Isidoros beach is ideal for those of you who enjoy snorkelling. Here you will find a variety of options in terms of accommodation, hotels, tavernas, cafes, and nightlife.
Molivos harbour, 60 km northwest of Mytilene
60 km west of Mytilene is Molivos, also known as Mythimna, probably the most picturesque settlement of the island. Under the medieval castle are narrow alleys and old stone houses with wooden balconies facing the Aegean sea. At the nearby pebble beach, you can find sunbeds and watersport facilities. There are also plenty of tavernas and accommodation available since many visitors decide to stay there during their holidays. Find out more about the beautiful town of Molyvos.
Coastal village of Petra, 60 km northwest of Mytilene
From Molivos drive 6 km south to the coastal village of Petra. Park your car at the village’s entrance to walk by the neoclassical mansions and traditional houses. Next, head to the busy waterfront with the restaurants and cafes looking at the area’s long, sandy beach. Otherwise, continue your stroll in the traditional narrow cobbled backstreets. At the top of the village stands the church of Our Lady of the Sweet Kisses. After you visit Petra drive to the nearby beach of Tsichrada for a refreshing swim!
Petrified Forest, 85 km west of Mytilene
Lesbos is famous for the petrified forest located at the western part of the island. Massive amount of lava covered the forest during an extensive volcanic activity in the area 20 million years ago. This is how the previously verdant tree trunks turned into rocks! Today the petrified trees stand or lay in the forest area in different shapes, sizes and impressive colours.
The petrified forest park is located between Antissa and Sigri, covering 15000 hectares. Visiting it involves a long 2 km walk along with the fossilized trees. Since the “forest” is shadeless, we advise that you go early in the morning or the evening when it’s not too hot. You can still enjoy the view of the petrified forest in the shade of the cafe next to the entrance while having a cold drink.
To learn more about the petrified forest, drive 10 km west to Sigri. There, you will find the Museum of Natural History. The museum houses, amongst others, an interesting exhibit of fossil remains. The collection includes over 40 different species found in the broader area of western Lesvos. The exhibitions take you through the evolution of plant life on our planet, and the various geological phenomena and processes of the Aegean Sea that led to the creation of the Petrified Forest.
Eressos, 85 km west of Mytilene
85 km west of Mytilene is the long sandy beach of Eressos, the birthplace of the archaic poet Sappho. Eressos is located at the bottom of a large fertile valley worth exploring. The river crossing it attracts significant populations of migratory birds and provides a habitat for many forms of wildlife including terrapins. In Eressos you will find all the necessary facilities to relax and enjoy the scenery, as well as a variety of activities if you prefer to explore the area.
Kalloni, 38 km north west of Mytilene
Looking at a map of Lesbos, you will surely notice the enormous bay of Kalloni (=Greek for “beauty”) that gives the island its distinctive shape of a plane tree leaf. Kaloni is a town built in a vast plain with rivers running through it giving life to the vegetation, the olive groves and grapevine fields. Here you can find all kinds of accommodation, restaurants and bars as well as retail shops and public services.
Drive 4 km south to the coastal Skala Kallonis, the harbour of the area with a long sandy beach with shallow, warm waters. At the east of Skala are the salt marshes (Alikes) of the bay. Every season a variety of migratory birds visit the area. Undoubtedly the most popular among them are the flamingos! From here you can drive around 40 km down the east coast to the golden beach of Nifida, just before the bay’s opening to the sea.