Lesbos

Overview

Introduction

Once home of the legendary poet Sappho, the island of Lesbos, Greece (located 150 mi/240 km northeast of Athens), has been important in the region since 3000 BC. Today, its main attractions are spear fishing and a unique terrain, ranging from rolling fields to pine forests, mountains and (fairly empty) beaches.

Visit the main city, Mytilene, set in a crescent-shaped bay in the shadow of a 14th-century castle. Mytilene is also home to six museums, including a pottery and earthenware museum.

On the west side of the island, near Eressos, are the ruins of the ancient women's commune where Sappho wrote. Although the site is not much more than a crumbled stone wall, visitors still go to pay tribute to the great Greek poet. Writers, actors and artists flock there for summer festivals.

The north side of the island (37 mi/58 km) is home to the two seaside towns of Petra and Molyvos, both great for enjoying the beach or scuba diving.

Petra's cliff-top church can be seen from miles/kilometers away. Stop there for ice cream and stretch your legs with a 114-stair climb to look at the Orthodox church. From the church, enjoy a panoramic view of the red clay-top roofs lining the north shore.

Molyvos' castle sits on the top of a weaving hillside town and claims first place for the city's attractions. This venture requires steep uphill walks that are not kid or stroller friendly. Although it was built by the Byzantines, stones date back from the Trojan War. From the Venetians to the Catalans, to the Genovese and the Ottoman Turks, this castle has seen it all.

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