A short visit to Lesbos

The Greek island of Lesbos is located in the Aegean Sea, just off the west coast of Turkey. There are boats that travel between the island and Turkey which makes it an easy place to make a trip to when visiting Turkey. Lesbos is the third largest Greek island, and has 86,000 inhabitants, most of whom live in the capital Mytilini (which I will talk about further down). The Ancient Green poet Sappho’s birthplace was Lesbos, and many of the island’s landmarks and tourist attractions take their name or inspiration from her.

We visited Lesbos for five days in July, from the 13th to the 17th, and it was certainly one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.

We started off with a ferry from mainland Turkey to the port of Mytilini on Lesbos. The ferry didn’t take too long, and once we arrived we went through passport control and then we were in the city.

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On our ferry to Mytilini

We had decided before going to Lesbos, after hearing recommendations from friends, not to stay in Mytilini but rather to spend the day there and then drive on to a different town to spend the night.

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The view of Mytilini harbour and town

Since our ferry had been in the early morning, that gave us plenty of time to explore the town before setting off on our trip. We went to the Europcar HQ in Mytilini, got our car and then found somewhere to park it so we could explore on foot. The town is made up of loads of small lanes and pathways that it would be a shame to rely on the car when walking allows you to see so much more of the town.

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Exploring the remains of Mytilini’s old castle

We squeezed into a view hours a visit to the old castle, saw lots of old churches, walked the narrow lanes and even had time to stop for a cold drink by the harbour.

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The view from a café where we stopped for an ice-cold drink

Come afternoon, we realised that we were very eager to keep exploring this fascinating little island, so we jumped into our rental car and tried to navigate the tiny island roads to our next stop – Molyvos.

Molyvos (official name Mithymna) is a super cute town on the north edge of the island. We drove up from Mytilini, and even as we approached the town, we already knew we were going to love it.

Whilst driving into the town, you had a view of a giant hill covered in tiny houses, topped with a large castle. I hoped it would not disappoint, and it didn’t.

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The road leading to Molyvos, and its castle on top of the hill

We were only going to stay one night in Molyvos, but we would have a full day and a half to explore. We were so excited. Once we parked the car, we checked into our hotel and set out exploring.

Immediately we discovered that Molyvos too was a place to be explored on foot.

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The narrow shop-lined streets of Molyvos

There seem to be three principal areas of the town:

  1. The hill, leading up to the castle
  2. The harbour
  3. The base of the hill and the coastline, which is where our hotel was located

We must have walked for miles, trying to explore every single little passageway and set of stairs.

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Ready to explore Molyvos

There were steps leading everywhere, and we didn’t want to miss a single corner of this beautiful town.

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A set of stairs leading somewhere

Once we’d walked up all the hundreds of little sets of stairs, we eventually found ourselves at the castle. The castle is still standing and it is possible to go inside and explore within.

We had a little look, then continued our walk all over the hill and down its sides.

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The castle, and lots of typical houses

Once we felt we’d explored the hill and the base of the hill, we decided to walk to the harbour and have a look. We encountered lots of cats on our way – I was in heaven!

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The door to one of the typical Greek houses, plus kitten

Then when we reached the harbour we were not disappointed. In the evening everything was basking in golden light, and the castle on the hill was illuminated.

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The harbour and the view back towards the castle

That evening, once we’d had dinner in a beautiful restaurant on the hill overlooking the sea, we decided to check out the beach bar that had been recommended to us by some friends. The bar’s name is Congas, and it was very cool. Quite Tiki inspired, with beautiful decor, good music and a great vibe. We had a few drinks there, before we decided to sit on the beach for a while and enjoy the peaceful sound of waves at night.

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Congas beach bar

The next morning we woke up early, and opened the curtains to the most amazing view. Palm trees lined the walkway outside the hotel, and behind the palm trees was the beach and the sea. What a view to wake up to.

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The view from our hotel room

We decided to go and get breakfast, do a bit more exploring before heading off to see more of the island. We reclimbed the hill behind the hotel, up towards the castle, and found a very cute little café with a balcony looking over the sea. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting to have our breakfast.

We ate waffles, with freshly squeezed juice on the side and it was just what we needed before a long day of exploring!

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Waffles on the café balcony, overlooking the sea

Next on our list of places to visit was Eressos on the western coast of the island. Whilst I’d been researching about Lesbos, I saw that there was a place worth seeing en route to Eressos called Petra. It’s a town a few kilometres away from Molyvos. The town is situated along the coastline, and has some beautiful beaches with small streets lined with cafés nearby.

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Petra

The town itself surrounds a little mountain topped by a church known as Glykfylousa Panagia (Our Lady of the Sweet Kiss). In order to visit the church, you have to climb around 110 steps to reach the top. From the top, there are phenomenal views of the town and the surrounding area.

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About to climb up the stairs to the church

Once we reached the top, we had a quick look around before making our way back down to the bottom, grabbing a quick drink at a cute beachfront café before setting off on our way to Eressos.

Skala Eressos (what we determined to be the beach part of larger Eressos) is a beach town on the western coast of the island. This was to be our relaxing part of the stay. We didn’t need to do much sight seeing, instead we could just focus on enjoying being away and spending time together with no distractions.

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The rock in the middle of the sea

Once we arrived, we were amazed by how beautiful the place was. Our hotel looked out over the sea, to a giant rock in the middle of the sea (which we later canoed around!).

The town is very small, and the main part of it consists of a little wooden boardwalk along the edge of the sea where lots of little cafés and hotels have been built. I loved it there so much.

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One of the little cafés overlooking the sea

We ate lots of super yummy food in many of these places, since we were staying here for three nights in total. There was a really cool bar there too, called Parasol, which we visited both at night and in the day time. It sold very delicious cocktails, and also really good milkshakes. I still think about the banana milkshake that I had there.

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Parasol beach bar

We particularly enjoyed two cafés called Belle Ville and Flamingo. Their décor was so cool and tastefully done, and really fitted with the vibe of the place. Everything felt so relaxed and great.

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Enjoying one of the many restaurants that looks over the sea
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At Flamingo café & bar

In the day time, when we weren’t eating or drinking, we spent a lot of time on the beach – sleeping, sunbathing, people watching, swimming, reading. It was so relaxing, and so wonderful to spend time just the two of us on the beach.

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Our legs at the beach

At the beach there was a massive windsurf school – it’s evident that people come from all over the world to attend windsurfing camps and to try their hand at windsurfing. The sea water wasn’t too cold, so I can imagine that windsurfing here would’ve been good fun, and when falling in it wouldn’t have been too cold!

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Our shadows on the beach in Skala Eressos

The beach itself is really long and extensive – it would probably take around 30 minutes to walk the full length of it. Fortunately, at the bar end of the beach there was a cute little café where we could go to get a cold drink after lying in the boiling hot sun for several hours.

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Relaxing in the shade with a cold drink

We didn’t just stay on the beach though whilst we were in Eressos. I had read online somewhere that there was a river with lots of turtles in, so we made it our mission to find those turtles…and we did!

I had also read about a reservoir, but not many people seemed to know about it, but eventually after asking several people and after thoroughly consulting google maps and driving along some very treacherous roads, we found the reservoir! We were the only people there.

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The reservoir

There was also a little hill in Skala Eressos which we attempted to climb, but we were in our flip flops which made things very difficult, and we failed to reach the top so had to try to climb down, without slipping on our sweaty flip flops! That was an experience we won’t be forgetting any time soon.

We also drove up to the main town of Eressos to check it out and see if there was anything there worth seeing. We had a little walk around, but we realised that the reason tourists go to the coast is because there really isn’t much there at all.

On our final day, we drove back to Mytilini for our ferry back to Turkey. We dropped the car back off with Europcar and set off, back to Turkey.

It was a wonderful trip, and one neither of us will be forgetting ever.

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