The Greek island of Lesvos is somewhat isolated in the north-east Aegean Sea, Lesvos lies off the coast of north-east Turkey in the island group that includes Samos, Ikaria, Chios, Thassos and Lemnos.
It has good travel connections with an international airport near the capital of Mytilini and daily ferries from Piraeus (Athens). Most visitors arrive by charter flight direct to Lesvos or on a domestic flight from Athens.
Ferry journeys from Athens are long with journey times up to 15 hours. Even a fast ferry in the summer takes about seven hours and usually arrive after midnight.
Although Lesvos roads are mostly good, the island is very large, and car hire is recommended.
Accommodation is plentiful with rooms to suit most budgets. Large hotels are found in most resorts, but it's a good idea to book in advance. Independent travellers will find plenty of cheap rooms in Mytilini.
Flights to Lesvos land at Mytilini International Airport (MJT), officially called Odysseas Elytis, is located about six kilometres south of the island's capital town of Mytilini.
There are package charter flights from many European countries throughout the summer months.
UK charter flights to Lesvos usually operate on Thursdays with a few Saturday flights from Gatwick and Manchester.
Domestic flights operate to the Greek capital of Athens up to seven times a day, depending on the time of year with a journey time of 50 minutes. There are also flights to Thessaloniki Airport operated by
Sky Express on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The airport has only one small terminal for both international and domestic flights, so delays are routine in the summer.
Facilities are few, just a cafe, a souvenir shop, a small duty-free and a travel store.
An airport bus runs hourly into Mytilene, but services may dry up during the afternoon siesta. Several car hire companies operate out of Mytilini International.
Hellenic Seaways sails the Piraeus to Lesvos route with five sailings weekly for the 10-hour crossing. Hellenic also offers two sailings weekly from Kavala with an 11-hour journey that calls in at Chios, Mytilini and Limnos on the way.
NEL Lines operated services from Piraeus to Lesvos until the Greek government axed subsidies following complaints about delays, but NEL still runs a fast boat ferry service twice a week from Thessaloniki to Lesvos calling at Kavala and Limnos on the way to Lesvos and sailing on to Samos and Ikaria before making the return journey
Blue Star Ferries operates a fast ferry from Piraeus to Lesvos on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and in the other direction on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
A Thessaloniki to Rhodes return service, run by Blue Star Ferries every Friday, calls in at Sigri on the east coast of Lesvos, calling at Chios, Samos, Patmos, Kalymnos and Kos.
A ferry service to Turkey (Ayvalik) operates every day in the high season, but the service is reduced in the winter to a few times a week, weather permitting. The crossing from Lesvos to Turkey takes about 90 minutes. The ferry does take cars, but it's small, so booking is recommended. Tickets can be bought online at Turkey World.
Lying close to the coast of Turkey, Lesvos is 70 by 45 kilometres with an area of 1,630 sq km. The island has two very large narrow-necked bays to the south at Kalloni and Geras. Abundant springs and tidal rivers ensure some areas remain wet even in high summer and large salt pans attract migrating birds.
The hilliest areas are in the north around Molyvos and to the south-east above the Gulf of Gera. Uplands are cloaked in pines and oaks, with olive, vine and citrus groves on many hillsides.
Climate of Lesvos
Lesvos weather is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The northern Meltemi wind blows in the high season, but Lesvos is considered one of the sunniest Greek islands. The mean annual temperature is 18°C and rainfall averages 750 mm.
Summer months are dry and high summer brings more than 12 hours of sunshine with thermometers often topping 30°C in July and August.
Winters are mild with long spells of sunshine. The rainiest months are December and January.
Levos five-day weather forecast
Roads on Lesvos are good, but driving can be tiring on such a large and mountainous island. Although there are no expressways, roads are usually uncongested. Those heading into the mountains will find that roads can narrow quickly and the surface deteriorates. Car rental is available in most of the more significant resorts, or you can book online.
Lesvos has two bus stations in Mytilini. The station based at the harbour car park runs services to the city suburbs, to the airport and Thermi in the north.
Cross-island services, based at Mytilini's main square, are operated by KTEL. The main routes are to Petra and Molivos with journey times of about two hours.
Local services connect more remote villages to the main routes, but timetables can be unreliable.
Regular buses link Mytilene with Ipio, Sikounda, Agiassos, Vassilika, Lisvori, Polichnitos, Vrissa, Vatera, Kato Tritos, Paleokipos, Plakados, Papades, Skopelos, Trigonas, Plagia, Plomari, Kaloni, Filia, Skalohori, Vatoussa, Andissa, Eressos, Sigri, Petra, Mithymna, Agia Paraskevi, Parakila, Agra, Messotopos, Mistegna, Nees Kidonies, Mandamados and Klio.
Timetables are usually published at Lesvos Online, but I can't vouch for the accuracy.
Taxi ranks are found at the airport and in Mytilene town centre near the country bus station. Taxis are usually painted silver or yellow and found at all the main resorts such as Petra, Molivos and Kalloni. Most villages will have at least one local taxi driver on call in the main square. Outside the capital, drivers may prefer not to use a meter but will charge about one euro per kilometre. Always agree on a price before getting in. Typical inter-village taxis fares are published by Lesvos Taxi Service which operates all over the island and claims cheap rates for island excursions.
Lesvos has a wide variety of accommodation to suit most budgets. Large hotels aimed at the package holiday market are in the big tourist centres. If you plan a visit in August, it's probably best to book as hotels can be block-booked weeks in advance.
For cheap rooms, the capital of Mytilini is probably the best. There are many small hotels and domatia off the main thoroughfare of Ermou, near the harbour. Small hotels also line the waterfront but the prices rise and night noise can be a problem.
Accommodation is available in the picture-postcard resort of Molyvos, and several inexpensive hotels are on the waterfront below the old town.
Those on a tight budget can opt for Molivos Camping site just outside the resort.
There are plenty of hotels and apartments at the popular beach resort of Petra, five kilometres south of Molyvos and, if you fancy something unusual, try contacting the local Women's Agricultural Tourism Collective in the central square for a room in a local family home. You can reserve a room online.
Skala Eressos in the south-west is Lesvos' busiest beach resort and has plenty of hotels, pensions and apartments, including a couple of women-only hotels. More holiday accommodation is at beach resorts along the south coast, including a large campsite at Vatera.
|Size||1,632 sq km|
|Season||May – Oct|
|Time (GMT)||+2 hrs|
|Coast Guard||Dial 191|