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Nature, Tradition, Gastronomy in Perfect Harmony

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Discover Mytilene

Mytilene is the largest island in the north-eastern Aegean and the third largest in Greece. It has been a popular holiday resort since Roman times, owing to its rare natural beauty and the diversity of its landscapes. Its dense forests, vast olive groves, high mountains, geological parks, thermal springs, rare wetlands, and enchanting beaches make this a true paradise for nature lovers.

Mytilene is a place with a culture that goes back thousands of years, situated at the crossroads of East and West. This is where the ancient lyric poets Sappho and Alcaeus were born, and the folk painter Theophilos, as well as writers such as Stratis Myrivilis and Elias Venezis. Its cultural riches are visible in its archaeological sites, fascinating museums, traditional villages, and incomparable architectural heritage.

In the kaleidoscope of experiences offered by the island, its cuisine holds a special place. Mytilene is the home of ouzo, the enjoyment of which has been raised to the level of an art here, where it is served with an unparalleled variety of delicious mezes.

Discover the island’s natural beauty and let it charm you by choosing one of the ferry tickets to Lesvos.

7 memorable experiences on Mytilene
  1. A visit to the first digital art museum in Greece, in the mountain village of Hydira, the birthplace of the celebrated Greek painter Giorgos Iakovidis.
  2. A tour of the historic distillery-museums in the picturesque town of Plomari, the home of Greek ouzo.
  3. If you choose one of the itineraries to Mytilene, don’t miss the opportunity to walk around the beautiful mountain village of Agiassos, with its picturesque cobbled streets and old houses, surrounded by verdant hills. Make a stop at the 12th-century church of the Virgin Brephokratousa to admire the famous icon of Mary holding the infant Christ, which according to legend was painted by Luke the Evangelist and brought here during the period of the Byzantine Iconoclasm.
  4. Going to ​​Pyrgi Thermis, an area north of Mytilene Town, to admire its imposing 18th-century tower houses.
  5. A relaxing therapeutic bath at the renowned Hot Springs of Eftalou.
  6. Finding out about the island’s great tradition of pottery at the well-known local artists’ workshops in the villages of Mantamados and Agiassos.
  7. Enjoying the sunset at Skala Sykamnias, a harbour where the picturesque church of the Mermaid Virgin Mary in the background looks as if it has been pinned to the rock at the end of the jetty.
Beaches of Mytilene

The endless coastline of Mytilene hides unique surprises for beach lovers, combining natural beauty, tranquillity, and seaside fun in its own special way. Discover:

  • Vatera, for its vast stretch of sand, the longest on the island, as well as its water sports and excellent facilities.
  • The famous Skala Eressou for its alternative atmosphere, gorgeous sunsets and the ouzo at the beach bars.
  • Saint Isidoros, for a refreshing dip followed by a visit to the neighbouring town of Plomari for ouzo.
  • Saint Hermogenes’ Beach, in a cove with an emerald sea surrounded by pine trees.
  • The golden sand at Petra Bay, which offers underwater exploration and magical sunsets with the islands of Myrmigi and Agios Georgios as a backdrop.
  • The series of coves at Eftalou, a setting of wild and unspoiled beauty for romantic getaways.
Postcards from Mytilene: 10 things not to miss

Mytilene Town
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.

Tastes of Mytilene

Mytilene is a place with a long and extensive culinary tradition.

The island is famed for its excellent olive oil, ouzo, and fine local cheeses (especially graviera and ladotiri), and for the incredible variety of its fresh fish and seafood, which gives it a unique gastronomic identity.

Be sure to try the renowned papalina (sardines from Kalloni) and scallops, as well as giouzlemedes (fried mizithra cheese pies), sougania (stuffed onions), the popular Mytilene sfouggato (a baked omelette with courgette) and octopus balls with ouzo. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the local baklava (platzenta) and gemata or prospesmata (kinds of almond sweet).

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