The third largest island in Greece following Evia and Crete, Lesbos is a lush island paradise full of glorious greenery and olive trees, offering a scenic spot for your 2018/2019 cheap holiday. Lesbos has long expanses of desert-like plains, salt marshes and sandy beaches, bringing an untamed beauty that’s irresistible to holidaymakers from across the globe.
The capital city and island port, Mytilini town, is vibrant and bustling all year-round, and has plenty of great places to eat and stay. Just a stone’s throw away is where you’ll find the northern coastal town of Molyvos, or Mythimna, a picturesque place with stone houses and winding alleyways. Lesbos is popular with holidaymakers of all types thanks to the wide selection of activities, ranging from cycling and hiking to birdwatching.
Twitchers will delight as there are more than 279 species of birds here including birds of prey and wading aquatic birds. With historical sights, a huge helping of Greek character and beautiful beaches, Lesbos has all the beautiful landscapes and attractions that you could wish for in a Greece Island escape. Lesbos is a great island for more active holidaymakers looking for a good balance between a gorgeous landscape, great climate and fun activities. Things to do here include cycling, hiking, swimming, diving, tennis, sailing and birdwatching.
Lesbos has a wide selection of attractions, including areas of natural beauty, historic attractions and monuments and museums. The scenic village of Molyvos is often touted as being the most beautiful on the island, so it’s well worth spending a day or two here exploring the cobbled streets. One of the largest castles in the Mediterranean, Mytilene Castle dates back to the 5th and 6th centuries and occupies an enviable position on a hilltop. Bird lovers will delight in a visit to Kallini Salt Pans, where you can spot avocets, terns, egrets and black and white storks. If you’re a big bird buff and can visit during the migratory season, you’ll get to enjoy watching the birds head to the wetlands in many thousands. If you can’t, don’t worry as there are many birds to see throughout the year. The main attraction of the salt flats is the bright pink flamingos, a memorable experience whether you’re a birdwatching enthusiast or not.
Lesbos has some of the best food and drink in the whole North Aegean, with a wide selection of traditional Greek dishes. The food here includes Greek classics such as tzatziki, salad, stuffed vine leaves and moussaka, Italian pizzas and a choice of international cuisines too. Fish is a very popular dish on the island, caught locally and served in many local taverns. While you’re holidaying in Lesbos be sure to try the Kalloni sardines, sougania, or onions stuffed with minced meat and rice, sfougagato, omelette with vegetables, and the local cheese Ladotyri. Those who have a sweet tooth will love the sweet dishes and desserts available in Lesbos, including loukoumades, a type of honey puff, and the classic Greek baklava, which comprises layers of flaky pastry with honey and nuts. Two of the most famous dishes in the area include Ouzo, an aperitif that is flavoured with anise.
Lesbos has a good range of family-friendly activities, whether your family prefers an active day out or keeping things laid-back. If your family love nature, the Petrified Forest makes a great day out and will really get the young ones interested in the natural environment. This forest is located 12 kilometres from Sigri and was petrified by volcanic activity. Other natural marvels in Lesbos include the iconic salt lakes close by to Kalloni, where you can spot vibrant pink flamingos, making for an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Man-made attractions include the Agios Raphael Monastery, said to be a miraculous religious site, as well as a place of pilgrimage. Another great family outing is Molyvos Castle, a hilltop fortification surrounding by houses and pine trees.
Lesbos has a wide range of activities including water sports, land sports and even a flying club in Mytilini. If you’re up for trying something exciting during your holidays in Lesbos, swap lounging on the beach for one of the island’s more adrenaline-pumping activities such as kitesurfing, windsurfing or surfing. Sigri Kite offers water sport courses in Lesbos for all ability levels, whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro. As many of the water sport schools on the island offer equipment rental, all you need bring is your enthusiasm to have a great day out whether you choose to go swimming, surfing or diving. Other fun things to do include motorcycling on the sands, as well as cycling, archery, kayaking and climbing. Thanks to the balmy climate and beautiful natural terrain, kayaking or climbing is a great way of getting to know the environment of Lesbos more closely while keeping fit. There’s also the Lesbos Scuba Oceanic Centre, a dive centre that has been operating since 2002.
One of the undoubted jewels in the crown of the island of Lesbos is the selection of beaches. The most beautiful of these beaches includes Eresos, an expanse of clean sand that stretches for 2.5 kilometres, with clear blue waters. Eresos is a Blue Flag beach thanks to its exceptionally clean sea waters and pristine sands, and is one of the most popular beaches with visitors.
Skala Kalloni is also something exceptional. Well served by the town and close to the infamous Kalloni Salt Pans, the beach itself is sandy and well serviced by a delightful cafe and free sunbeds. The water is shallow and warm making it the ideal place to swim or for children to splash around in safety.
Other beaches that are worth a visit are Vatera, which is 9 kilometres long, the largest beach on the island. With its beautiful deep azure waters and soft sand, Vatera is an impressive sight at all times of year. Something of a well-kept secret, the beach at Saint Hermogenes is small but stunning and surrounded by verdant pine trees. Another breath-taking beach is Saint Idisore, situated 2 kilometres from the heart of Plomari. This beach was awarded the seventh best beach in Greece and has a great set of amenities. If you’re looking for a place to have a quiet swim or take a romantic stroll away from the crowds, head to the pebbled beach of Melinda.
Visitors to Lesbos will discover that the island has a vibrant nightlife across the whole island. As with many holiday destinations, the best place to visit for nightlife is the capital city, and Mytilini is no different. Here you’ll find plenty of excellent nightlife venues including the Kohilia Beach Bar, FishEye, Queen Café Bar, Hacienda Café Bar and the BarCode Espresso and Cocktail Bar. If you’re heading to Lesbos with your friends on a hen do or girls’ only holiday, Eressos is a great place for female-focussed entertainment. It’s worth noting that Lesbos has a long-standing association with lesbian culture and remains a popular choice for same-sex female couples. Some of the most popular waterfront bars and clubs in Lesbos include Cavos, the Trequila Bar and Palatino, which are each located at one of the island’s most visited beaches.
The stunning scenery and picturesque traditional villages in Lesbos make it ideal for couples’ holidays in Greece. Its wonderful mix of culture, attractions and gorgeous weather has long made it a favourite with those on honeymoon. Some of the most romantic sights on the island are the hilltop monuments such as Molyvos Castle, and the Petrified Forest, which was petrified by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The other big draws to the area include the beautiful beaches, several of which have Blue Flag status thanks to their clean sands and waters, and the island’s incredible flora and fauna, such as the pink flamingos at the Kallinos salt flats. Lesbos as an island has a historic connection with lesbianism and same-sex relationships, making this a popular choice for gay couples.
As you’d expect from an island with a long history, Lesbos has a rich and diverse culture. According to Greek mythology, Lesbos was the patron god of the island. Macar, the first king of the island, named many of the larger towns in Lesbos after his daughters. An abundance of grey pottery was found on the island, suggesting that the island has been continuously populated since Neolithic times. During the middle ages, the island belonged to the Byzantine Empire, and later became part of the Latin Empire. Some of the most popular cultural attractions in Lesbos include the Natural History Museum of the Lesbos Petrified Forest, the monastery of Moni Taxiarhon and Theophilos Museum. The Byzantine-Genoese Castle stands majestically above Molyvos and serves as a reminder of the bygone civilisations of the island. Lesbos has a great cultural legacy that unites the early composer Terpander from the 7th century right through to 20th century poet Odysseus Elytis, a Nobel Prize winner, and the ancient painter Theophilos. Ancient philosophers Epicurus and Aristotle were the leaders of a political academy here, while the iconic poet Sappho called the island home.
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