The smells, flavors and ever-changing landscape of Lesvos set the stage for unforgettable holidays in the North Aegean.
Welcome to the home of Ouzo! Whether your chosen welcome is a glass of the island's iconic drink or a delicious coffee in town, prepare for an unforgettable vacation.
We've selected the ten best experiences in Lesvos. How many you choose is up to you. You'll love them all!
SEE THE LINK FOR ACCOMMODATION RECOMMENDATIONS! https://thesmallhotels.com/lesbos-hotels
The history of the main town of Lesvos begins in the 10th century BC. When you arrive, the 'Statue of Liberty', the Church of Agios Therapontas (with its magnificent dome), the Metropolitan Church of Agios Athanasios, the Ottoman monuments (such as the Geni Tzami mosque and the adjacent Bazaar) and the impressive fortress built under the rule of Emperor Justinian are the sights that catch your eye.
Enjoy strolls through Prokymaia via Ermou Street with its impressive neoclassical buildings, restaurants and cafes, the city's cobblestone streets and modern shops, bakeries and taverns. In the neighboring area of Vareia, you'll find the famous museum of Greek folk painter Theophilos, as well as the Museum of Modern Art with works by Matisse, Miro, Picasso and Tsarouhi.
This place with a special atmosphere in the second town of Lesvos is made up of stone and wooden houses, small shops of all kinds, cafes and restaurants and lots of cobblestone streets. And of course the Byzantine castle, one of the best preserved in the Eastern Mediterranean. Walk along the main street of the village, admire the central market and climb up to the castle where the views are spectacular.
In Molyvos Park, an old olive oil factory has been converted into one of the most interesting hotels on the island. It is worth visiting the picturesque fishing port of Molyvos with its rowboats and trawlers, where the islanders' commercial activity never stops. There are various ouzo options where you can enjoy an appetizer paired with ouzo.
Among the most beautiful and oldest geological heritage monuments in the world, this UNESCO-protected natural monument covers 150,000 square meters with hundreds of standing and fallen petrified tree trunks and volcanic rocks. No need to walk it all: The Natural History Museum in Sigri (part of the worldwide UNESCO Geopark Network) will satisfy your curiosity.
The villages of Lesvos are open and welcoming to everyone. That's why I think it's worth visiting the following places while you're there:
- Plomari: The homeland of ouzo with its lively central market and old cafes serving traditional Greek coffee.
- Agiasos: A traditional village preserved on the slopes of Mount Olympus. On its cobbled streets you'll find shops selling wooden sculptures and fabrics. Visit the Church of Panagia with its miraculous icon dating back to the 4th century.
- Petra One of Lesvos' most charming villages and with an incredible view from the Panagia Church.
- Skala Sykamias: The old majestic houses are sure to impress you, as is the chapel of Panagia Gorgona.
- Asomatos: Look out for wooden sculptures and homemade jams and sweets.
- Mantamados: Famous for its fresh dairy products and ceramics. Visit the potters in their workshops and watch how they create their creations on a spinning wheel. In the same area, outside the famous Taxiarchis Monastery, you'll find a picturesque coffee shop serving delicious loukoumades (traditional donuts) and other local products in the shade of plane trees.
- Agia Paraskevi: Famous for its 'Bull Festival', held on the last weekend of June.
- Sigri: A revival of the Ai Yianni Klidona tradition takes place on July 24, followed by a folk festival where fires are lit and locals jump through the streets of the village.
Prepare yourself for 259 km of coastline, Blue Flag award-winning beaches and crystalline waters deep enough for scuba diving.
- In Molyvos you'll find tidy beaches with beach bars and feast on fresh fish in nearby tavernas.
- In Eftalou you will enjoy the hot springs as well as the clear water of its famous beach.
- In Tarti, on the Gulf of Gera, eat fresh seafood in small taverns.
- In Skala Kalloni, with its beautiful beach, you will drink ouzo and try the famous sardines of the same name.
- On the west side of the island, swim under the castle in Sigri, while surfers prefer the nearby Faneromeni beach.
- Groups of young friends often gather at the organized beaches of Skala Eressos, Kanoni and Agios Ermogenis near the capital.
- For family-friendly holidays, head to Petra, Vatera beach with all the necessary facilities for water sports, Anaxos with its tavernas and views of Molyvos Castle, and the well-organized beach of Tsamakia near Lesvos.
- For those who prefer seclusion, choose the beaches of Tsonia, Chrousso, Chryssi Akti and Antissa.
They say ouzo brings happiness to the heart...
The history of ouzo begins with the Greeks of Alexandria and Izmir, who mastered distillation techniques from the 15th century. Centuries later, rakitzids produced a drink of aniseed and fragrant herbs that captivated the wealthy class of the Ottoman Empire. After the Asia Minor catastrophe, the rakitzids migrated to Greece and ouzo found a perfect homeland in Lesbos, due to its vineyards and exceptional anise quality. While enjoying your ouzo, pair it with all kinds of appetizers such as fresh fish, the famous olives and oil of Lesvos and the delicious Ladotyri cheese made from sheep's milk. My grandparents like this yaparlardı
For a unique experience, try ouzo with Kalloni's famous sardines. Look out for some of the other local specialties: giouslemedes (small cheese pies with mint), zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and lakerda (dried bonito).
Hot springs and waterfalls
There are about 14 waterfalls around the island and in the thermal springs of Thermis, Lisvorios, Gera Bay, Eftalou and Polihnitou. In the area of Eressos, in a large olive grove, there is a meditation center offering treatments by the famous Indian mystic and philosopher Osho.
The Ancient Theater of Mytilene in Kamares was built in the early Hellenistic period and has a capacity of 10,000 spectators. It is one of the most important monuments and attractions of Mytilene, along with the Ionian Temple of Messa near Agia Paraskevi, the Ancient Temple of Klopedi near Agia Paraskevi and the Roman Aqueduct in Moria, just outside the capital.
Traditions, relics and priceless treasures of the Orthodox religion: The miraculous 'relief' icon of the Archangel Michael in Mantamado is said to be made of clay and blood, while the 'Iero Vima' in Limonas Monastery has a fountain of holy water on its south side. The Monastery of St. John the Theologian looks like a fortress and is called 'Ypsilos' (High) because of its location on the summit of Mount Ordymnos. And of course, don't forget to visit Pammegiston Taxiarchon Monastery, built in the 16th century.
Roadside Eating and Drinking Spots in Lesvos
With local ingredients, friendly service and a love for preserving traditional recipes, dining in Lesvos promises honest Greek food that is a gastronomic feast.
From the historic Ermis coffee house serving traditional Greek cuisine to the atmospheric taverna-ouzeri Koutsomitis in the refugee neighborhood, Lesvos offers a diverse dining experience.
Each restaurant tells a unique story, whether it's fresh seafood at Balouhanas in the shade of pine trees or innovative appetizers focusing on local produce at A-the Bar.
This is one of the most historic coffee houses on the island, operating since the 1800s and under its current name since 1922. The owners have preserved the ambience, the marble tables, the paintings and even still prepare Greek coffee in the traditional way. The food honors tradition: zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, octopus stewed in wine, hand-rolled dolmades and small fried fish. Try the local "sougania" (stuffed onions stuffed with minced meat and flavored with cumin and cinnamon). A wide selection of ouzo and friendly service will accompany it.
Address Kornarou 2 & Ermou, Mytilini, Phone: +30 22510 26232
In a warm and welcoming space, Eva and Sentan serve flavors from Izmir using local Mytilene products, following the recipes of Sentan's father. Try Turkish dishes such as "giaprak jiger" (grilled liver seasoned with sumac), "kogiun kizi" (slow cooked sheep marinated in ouzo and spices), "tsitme" with zucchini and mint and "Hünkâr beğendi".
Address Lesvos, Pamfila, Phone: +302251 031482
One of the best seafood tavernas on the island is located under the town's castle, right on the edge of the sea. Some of the dishes served here are truly unique, such as fresh pikarel and dried bonito, as well as local octopus grilled over charcoal. They also serve green beans and peas in season.
Address: Epano Skala: Epano Skala, Phone: 22510/55701
Steki tou Yianni
Tucked away in a narrow alley behind the post office, Giannis Karampetsos' haunt is highly regarded by locals all over Lesvos. Adorned with an array of eclectic décor, the menu smells of the sea and freshness. Your culinary journey begins with an appetizer to accompany your ouzo. Juicy tomatoes, fragrant ripe cucumbers, spicy arugula, local olives, peppers and fragrant radishes are served alongside pickled quince. This is followed by boiled greens. The magic ends when the shellfish platter arrives. Scallops, shiny mussels, clams, oysters, prawns and whatever else you can think of, all fresh and delicious. Finally, in addition to a large fish grilled to perfection, the crispy fried red mullet is simply amazing.
Address Therapondos 24, Mytilini, Phone: +30 22510-28.244
Originally the "kafeneion" coffee house of the village, today it has become the gastronomic center of Lesvos. Antonis' place in Kagiani offers a cozy atmosphere, friendly service, a wide selection of ouzo and a wide variety of appetizers, all handmade from high quality ingredients. Try the smoked mackerel fillet with onion and parsley, crispy cheese fritters stuffed with feta and mint and pan-fried, octopus poached in red wine, cuttlefish lightly degreased in a pan with vinegar, baked beans, eggplant meatballs and lightly cured sardines. All this, plus a spectacular view of the sea and the city of Lesbos.
Address Taxiarches, Kagiani, Phone: 0030 22510 61951
To Stavri tou Papeli
Located at the highest point of the mountainous village of Agiasos, this building has become a symbol of the village. The walls are covered with writings in the local dialect, traditional tools and old furniture, and there is an outdoor area shaded by a large plane tree. On the menu you will discover Uzeri classics such as meatballs, sausages, small fish and fried seafood. If you come across an omelette with avroni (wild, thin asparagus) you must try it, as well as the mushrooms and greens they pick from the mountain and cook deliciously.
Address: Agiasos Agiasos, Phone: +30 22520 22936
Located by the sea and shaded by pine trees, Balouhanas offers freshly caught seafood appetizers and sophisticated cuisine. Overlooking the Gulf of Gera, the owners source fish and seafood from local fishermen and grow their own vegetables. Try the 'tiganitelia', a local specialty that resembles zucchini balls, but also includes zucchini flowers and mizithra cheese. Don't miss the fragrant lantern fish with herbs and caper leaves, octopus meatballs and seared skipjack tuna. The wide selection of ouzo includes more than 15 local brands as well as a wide range of bottled Greek wines.
Address Perama, Geras Bay, Phone: +30 22510 51948
Set in a stunning modern space in an olive grove overlooking the sea, chef Minas Papanikolaou prepares ouzo appetizers centered on local traditions and local products, transformed with modern creativity. Try the bruschetta with lobster paste or bruschetta with sea urchin paste and grated tomato with an ouzo-based cocktail.
Address Plomari, A-Luxury Villas, Phone: +30 2252033319, Website: https://a-luxuryvillas.com/
A small tavern overlooking the sea in a peaceful, picturesque village, Maria Xenitelli faithfully reproduces old traditional recipes using only local produce (the vegetables come from her own garden). Be sure to try the stuffed squid, the traditional potato and zucchini fritters and the "giouzlemedes" (local fried cheese pies).
Address: Drota Beach, Phone: +30 2252 091390
Located on the coastline, this restaurant offers a spectacular seaside setting, especially at sunset. Traditional dishes with vegetables from their own gardens, olive oil from olive trees, local meats and fresh fish are at the center of the menu. Try the stuffed vine leaves, tomato fritters, cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms and expertly grilled fresh fish.
Address: Skala Eressou: Skala Eressou, Phone: +30 2253 053665
An atmospheric taverna-ouzeri in a 1960s café in a refugee neighborhood. Serving traditional delicacies such as "Suganias" and local meze dishes - stuffed onions drizzled in a rich egg-lemon sauce, pastourmadopita, dolmades, bread with skordalia, sardine paste and, depending on the season, fresh fish and seafood.
Address Mytilini, Sinikismos, Zaloggou 25 & Koutsomiti, Phone +30 2251 043332
This is a mountain grill restaurant known for its high-quality local meats, especially charcoal-grilled malengka (lamb). Be sure to try the liver, fried amanitas and, when in season, the "svirnies" (asparagus) with fresh local egg omelette.
Address Leptetymnos, Halikas, Phone: +30 698 147 7320
A stylish restaurant in an idyllic location by the sea. Chef Giorgos Hatzelis has created a menu based on Greek culinary tradition and honoring local produce. Signature dishes include pan-seared sole with capers and ouzo sauce and calamari stuffed with avocado foam and wild rice.
Address Porto Plomari hotel, Plomari, Phone: +30 2252 031000
A quiet and friendly place on a seaside pier with vibrant colors and a travel-inspired atmosphere. You'll find well-prepared Greek cuisine such as fennel pie, stuffed zucchini blossoms with rice and delicious prawn fritters.
Address: Eressos Eressos, Phone: 2253 053088
Pelago Mousiko Entefktirio
Located in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Lesvos, this 'cultural' meze house prepares rare old local recipes that can be enjoyed with music and singing. Notable dishes include octopus with eggplant, baked octopus with tarragon and star anise and wine-soaked mutton.
Address Mytilini, Ladadika, Ath. Mitrelia, Phone: +30, 2251 045267
CHECK THE LINK FOR ACCOMMODATION SUGGESTIONS! https://thesmallhotels.com/lesbos-hotels