Built on seven verdant hills, the island’s capital is the centre of the cultural and commercial life of Mytilene, with great monuments of artistic and historical interest such as the imposing Byzantine castle, parts of which date variously from the 6th to the 14th century; the ancient theatre, with its exceptional acoustics; the Yeni Mosque; the Archaeological Museum; the Roman aqueduct; and the Municipal Gallery. The most iconic sight and symbol of the town is the magnificent church of Saint Therapontas (1935), with an impressive dome that dominates the Mytilene skyline.
The Petrified Forest
One of the largest petrified forests in the world, this unique ecosystem in Sigri resulted from a series of volcanic eruptions that shook the Aegean 20 million years ago. The tree trunks fossilised in the volcanic rock display an impressive variety of shapes and colours, while the huge park is part of UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network. Don’t miss the state-of-the-art Natural History Museum of the Petrified Forest.
This striking fortified town dating from medieval times, with its labyrinthine alleys and stone mansions, is one of the most beautiful of Greece’s traditional settlements. The jewel in its crown is the magnificent 13th-century castle of the Gatelouzes (13th century), one of the best-preserved fortresses in the Mediterranean. It is worth timing your visit so you can stand on its ramparts at sunset and gaze out over the Aegean.
The Theophilos Museum
Housed in an old school in Varia, the museum is dedicated to the famous folk painter Theophilos Hatzimichail (1873-1934) and includes 86 of his works featuring landscapes and scenes of life on the island, which are notable for their vividness and intensely Greek character.
The Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production
One of the finest industrial museums in Greece reveals the history of olive oil production on the island through digital representations, historical technological equipment, and unique tools.
The Mansions of Mytilene
Much of the island’s important architectural heritage is associated with the Europe of the 19th century and the industrial revolution on Mytilene. The wealth and status of the upper middle classes of the time is reflected in the listed mansions in the districts of Aklidio, Sourada, Kioski and Makris Gialos.
The Monastery of Limonas
This historic monastery, situated in the countryside near the town of Kalloni, has been the focus of the island’s spiritual and educational life since Byzantine times. It is an impressive complex, distinguished by its library, which is a treasure trove of rare manuscripts and priceless relics.
The Church of the Virgin Mary Glykophilousa
Built on a 40-metre-high rock in the village of Petra, this church stands out for its rare Byzantine icons and episcopal throne, which is a masterpiece of wood carving.
The Kalloni Wetland
The Gulf of Kalloni is one of the ten most important European ecosystems for watching rare birds. Thanks to its salt marshes, the area is home to thousands of migratory birds from Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Teriade Museum of Modern Art
An elegant cultural centre dedicated to the work of the inspired local artist, art critic and publisher Stratis Eleftheriades, who was at the forefront of the avant-garde in 20th-century Paris. The museum’s rare collection includes 26 “Grands Livres”, stunning albums of text and images created by legendary names from the world of modern art, such as Chagall, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, Giacometti, and Le Corbusier.