Built on a rocky peninsula in the 12th century, this is the largest fortress in the Aegean. Its views of the sea are unparalleled, while the hundred or so small fallow deer that live freely inside its walls are friendly to strangers.
If you choose one of the itineraries to Lemnos, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the prehistoric settlement of Poliochne (4th-3rd millennium BC), located opposite Troy, which was one of the most important urban societies of the ancient world. Excavations have revealed that seven cities stood here between 4000 and 1500 BC. The bouleuterion (assembly house) is notable for being the oldest in the world and shows that a democratic system of government existed outside Athens.
Known as the “Sahara of Lemnos”, these golden sand dunes in the north of the island are a spectacular sight. Covering an area of 7 hectares between the village of Katalakos and Gomati Beach, this expanse of reddish sand resembles an exotic African landscape. The phenomenon is caused by the erosion of sandstone, which is deposited on the ground by the wind and the rain. The location is only accessible on foot.
The Chapel of the Virgin Mary Kakaviotissa
Built in a cave at the top of Mount Kakavos, this remarkable chapel has been a dependency of Mount Athos since 1305. It is the only roofless church in the world and offers stunning views of the sea.
The second most powerful city of ancient Lemnos, with its advanced culture, lasted from the archaic era to the Middle Ages (1000 BC - 1200 AD). Excavations have revealed impressive buildings, great works of art, palaces, baths, necropolises, and a beautifully restored Hellenistic/Roman theatre.
One of the most striking natural sights of Lemnos, the sea cave of Philoctetes – where the mythical Homeric hero is said to have lived – is located below the archaeological site of the sanctuary of the Cabeiri. The cave can only be reached by climbing down a rock and swimming into it, but it is well worth the effort.
Built in the 13th century on a pine-covered hill, Kontias is one of the best-preserved villages on Lemnos, with outstanding stone architecture and a strong sense of tradition. The old captains’ mansions of the 19th and 20th century and the picturesque windmills create an enchanting setting.
Faraklo Geological Park
Made of solidified lava and sculpted by the sea and time, the enormous rocks around Cape Faraklo are extraordinary geological sculptures that have to be seen to be believed.
The Sanctuary of the Cabeiri
Built on Cape Chloe opposite Hephaestia, this important place of worship was dedicated to the famous “Cabeiria Mysteries”, religious ceremonies associated with the rebirth of nature that were held in honour of ancient deities called the Cabeiri.
The Alyki Wetland
The island’s most important wetland – and the largest in the Aegean – is formed by the salt lakes of Alyki, Hortarolimni and Asprolimni, creating a lagoon landscape of incomparable beauty. It is an ecosystem of great ecological value as it hosts over 250 species of birds. They include the gorgeous pink flamingos that appear there at the start of every winter.