Lesvos

Mytilene, Lesvos © Koutrolm
Situated in the eastern Aegean Sea, near the Turkish coast, Lesvos is one of Greece's largest islands and well connected by air and sea to Athens, Thessalonika and other Aegean Islands. Quaint fishing villages and pale sandy beaches encircle this delightful destination, with olive groves and pine trees defining the interior. Despite its popularity, many parts of the island have remained virtually untouched and the crowds are much smaller than on other islands.

Mitilini is the main town. However, most holidaymakers head for the northern village of Molivos, and the south coast town of Plomari. Sigri is also popular, given its location near the world's largest petrified forest.

Apart from beautiful, secluded beaches and superb opportunities for walking and bird-watching, Lesvos has relics of a long and proud history. Indeed, the island has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and rose to glory around the 6th century BC, when only Athens rivalled it as a centre of civilisation. Classicists know Lesvos as the ancient poet Sappho's birthplace.



Resorts

See our separate guides to the following Lesvos holiday resorts: Molyvos

Attractions

Donkey Trekking
Donkey Trekking © unicellular

Donkey trekking

Donkey trekking is a great activity for the whole family. Travellers can enjoy day-excursions through verdant green valleys, past olive groves and along mountain paths. Sunset-treks are also wonderful, with tasty, beach barbeques waiting to reward riders at the finish. Along with being a terrific way to appreciate the island's scenery, donkey treks allow visitors to discover its traditions. Indeed, Lesvos is self-sufficient and proud, with well-preserved local customs. It also has a refreshing lack of tourist trappings, despite its popularity with travellers.

Address: Michaelis' Donkey farm, Petra ; Website: lesvos.com/donkey-rides/index.html


Eftalou
Eftalou © siragri

Eftalou Thermal Baths

A trip to the Eftalou Thermal Baths is a wonderful excursion for anyone on holiday in Lesvos. The hot, natural springs are located nearly three miles (4km) outside of Molyvos on the northern coast of Lesvos. Highly popular with tourists, the Eftalou's Springs are located at the beach and are one of the few springs in Greece where men and women can bathe together. The temperature of the water is between 109 and 116°F (43 - 47°C), which is very hot. Bathing in the water is recommended for a number of conditions and illnesses including blood pressure problems, rheumatism, gallstones, and neuralgia. It is also just extremely relaxing and therapeutic! It is recommended, though, that visitors don't stay in the water for longer than 20 minutes in each session due to the extreme heat. There is an old, domed bath house, which has a charming, old-fashioned atmosphere and is an experience in itself, and a newly renovated spa building next door to it which offers a variety of treatments and facilities. The coastal setting is also pretty and enjoyable which adds to the experience. A novelty for children, this is an activity the whole family will enjoy.

Address: 2 miles (3.5 kms) from Molyvos; Website: www.lesvos.co.uk/thermal%20springs/eftalou.htm


Petrified Forest of Sigri
Petrified Forest of Sigri © Tomisti

Petrified Forest of Sigri

One of the two largest petrified forests in the world, the Petrified Forest of Sigri on the western edge of the island, dates back 15 million years and is protected as a natural monument. A visit to the Petrified Forest of Sigri is a fascinating outing for families with children or for anybody interested in natural phenomena. The Petrified Forest was the result of a volcanic eruption around 21 to 15 million years ago which buried the flora and trees of the region - including oaks and sequoias - beneath layers of ash. Visitors can view 'the Pompeii of the plant world' which features some impressively well-preserved specimens; on some of the trees you can still see leaves and fruit preserved for millennia. Visitors can view the Petrified Forest along three main mountain trails: Trail One is called 'Discovering the Petrified Forest' and is a good introduction to the area; Trail Two, 'The History of the Petrified Coniferous Forest', details the process by which the trees were preserved; and Trail Three, which is the longest, takes people to the tallest standing trunks. In Sigri there is an interesting museum dedicated to the forest which displays some stunning examples of petrified wood and explains the process well.

Address: Sigri, 57 miles (92km) from Mytilene; Website: www.lesvosgreece.gr/en/petrified-forest-0