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Island of the Week

Lesbos

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The town of Thermi on the island of Lesvos.

The town of Thermi on the island of Lesvos.

St George/Getty Images
The blandishments of the islands of the southern and central Aegean are so seductive that many travellers never explore the other enticing islands to the north. Lesbos is the most famous of these. Renowned since antiquity as the home of the woman poet Sappho, this beautiful, large island is an enchanting destination.

Mytilene (Mytilini, Mitiline), the capital of Lesbos, is located on the eastern side of the island and overlooks the harbor below. A Genoese castle, the Kastro of Mytilene, was built on the site of an earlier Byzantine fortification and is one of the major attractions of Mytiline. Troubled throughout much of its history by occupation or plundering by Venice, Genoa, the Franks, the Turks, and the Catalans, Lesbos ultimately re-united with Greece in 1912.

Other Attractions on Lesvos

Other attractions include the unusual petrified forest at Sigri, and a selection of soothing, if sometimes mildly radioactive, hot mineral springs at various places around the island.

Traditional villages abound on Lesbos, and can be visited by any tourist or traveler wanting to experience a more genuinely Greek way of life than that offered by the major tourist destinations.

Native Daughter Sappho

Because of the association of the island of Lesbos with Sappho, generally regarded as an early gay woman writer, gay women make this island a place of pilgrimage. Locals, while proud of their poetess, don't make as much fuss over her orientation. But some visitors, expecting more of a shrine or a more open atmosphere, have been disappointed in the past. Recently, the International Women's Festival held at Eressos has achieved much greater acceptance and is well on its way to becoming a beloved annual tradition.

The Ouzo of Lesvos

Lesvos is also renowned for its ouzo and most visitors end up lugging home bottles of the stuff, which is rarely available outside of Greece.

Other Resources on Lesbos:


Lesvos - General Info - More than Just Another Greek Island
From part-time Lesvos-resident Matt Barrett, an insider's look at this relatively untouched, fascinating island, including the ouzo "capital" of Plomari.

Lesbos - History and Culture
Get acquainted with the rich history of Lesbos at this informative site from GreekNET.

Lesbos - Hotels - General
Here's a selection of Lesbos lodgings from Matt Barrett. Includes some bargains ($25 -$35 doubles, really, depending on the exchange rate) checked out by this Lesbos native.

Lesbos - Sightseeing - Eressos - Monuments
Detailed information on the monuments, monasteries, and museums of the Eressos area.

Lesbos - Sightseeing - Petrified Forest
If you visit Lesbos, don't miss the largest petrified forest in the world, revealing the remains of many vanished species.

Lesbos - Towns - Mithymna (Molyvos)
Detailed look at this active arts town with traditional architecture on the island of Lesbos. Check out the nearby hot springs of Eftalou.

Lesbos - Towns - Scala Eressos - Sappho's Birthplace
Virtually visit the town that claims Sappho as a native daughter.

Lesbos - Travel Agents - Krinellos Tourist Agency
Located in Skala Eressos, Krinellos' offers tours, car rentals, and other tourist services.

Lesbos - Travel Agents - Panatella Holidays
Travel agency with offices in Thessaloniki and Lesbos. Offers on-line car rentals.

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