On the island of Lesvos there are many villages that have kept their local character and the image they had in the past unspoiled.
Agia Paraskevi is located in the northwest of Lesvos. Its name comes from the church of Agia Paraskevi, which is built in a cave. It is a beautiful town with traditional architecture and many traditional buildings. It is known for its local traditions and a celebration of the Bull (late June-early July), when according to an old tradition a bull is sacrificed.
It also stands out for the unique ruins in Greece of two ancient temples: the Aeolian style temple (8th – 6th century BC) in Klopedi and the Ionic Temple of Meson which was dedicated to the gods Zeus, Hera and Dionysus. The Museum of Industrial Olive – Oil Production (MBEL), which is housed in an old, communal olive-oil press, is also very interesting. There you can see the olive oil production process from the old traditional manual methods to automation technology.
Agiasos is located on the slope of Mount Olympus at an altitude of 500 meters. It is a genuine traditional village of Lesvos which maintains all the elements of traditional architecture and with a long tradition in woodcarving and pottery.
It is surrounded by lush vegetation, pine trees, chestnut trees, walnut trees and olive groves. The “Chestnut Festival” is quite popular and has managed to become widely known not only throughout the island. A lot of people look forward to that day as they think it is a chance for a mountain getaway, a stroll through the narrow streets of Agiasos and a tour through the paths of the chestnut forest.
While visiting Agiasos it is worth seeing the impressive church of Panagia of Agiasos, where one can find the famous icon of Our Lady and Child, painted by Luke the Evangelist.
Antissa is a semi-mountainous village (280 m.) in western Lesvos. It is located 76 km. from the town of Mytilene, on a volcanic slope overlooking north to the peninsula of Troy in Asia Minor. The village is a continuation of the ancient Antissa, birthplace of the great poet Terpandros.
Some of the sights are: the ruins of the Venetian castle (Paleokastro, Ovriokastro or Geneva Castle, as called by the locals) and the traces of the walls of the ancient city of Antissa at the coast in Vigla. The monastery of Ypsilou is also very interesting with its wonderful collection (manuscripts, documents, gospels, sacred objects and the vestments of Grigorios V) and its wonderful views towards the peninsula of Mount Athos and the Monastery of Perivolis built in the early 17th century with Byzantine style frescoes. Finally near the village lies the settlement Tsithra with the church of St. Nicholas full of painted icons.
A picturesque traditional village at an altitude of 300 meters at the foot of Mount Olympus. It is on the way to Agiassos after Kerameia. Narrow paved streets and old stone houses, several of which have been restored, are found in the village. The church of the village is also interesting. It is a basilica, dedicated to Archangel Michael and Gabriel, built in 1796, on the site of an earlier church with rare frescoes.
It is located in the western part of the island, 67 km. from Mytilene, at an altitude of 300 m. and it is characterized as a traditional settlement by the Ministry of Culture. It is a traditional village with cobbled streets, stone houses with tiled roof and large mansions with wonderful architecture.
The settlement is built inside a volcanic crater. The crater has a diameter of 6 kilometers, the result of its volcanic activity about 21 million years ago. Over the years the original form of the crater has changed. Today we can observe only some remnants of this great volcano.
The sights of the village are: the Gogos Mansion which is today a Folklore Museum, the old Girls’ School, a 19th century building that is now a community guesthouse, the Church (Byzantine) Museum with interesting exhibits in the grounds of the main church of the village and the Boys’ school that is the current primary school. The basilica of Taxiarchon (Archangels) (1832-33) with no dome is also interesting. It has the typical cemetery in its perimeter with unique built-in tombs. Besides there is the Church of the Assumption (1850), which is built entirely of hewn stone.
Eresos is located at the west end of the island and is one of the most famous towns in the southwest of the island due to its history and beauty. It retains its traditional element, which is evident from the magnificent mansions and monasteries that adorn the village. The most important sight is the Pithari Monastery, located in a small green ravine which has been formed by a volcanic eruption, thus creating a unique landscape. The Archaeological Museum houses many findings from the area. Its collection includes findings relevant to Sappho, inscriptions from the town of Eresos, ceramics, tombstones, altars and offerings to gods, blocks of marble statues, etc.
Mantamados is located on the northeastern side of the island. The traditional architecture, the picturesque little streets and cobbled kalderimia make the settlement of outstanding beauty.
The village is also known for agricultural, livestock and dairy products and wonderful ceramics by local potters.
But what makes Mantamados worldwide known is the monastery of Archangel Michael with the legendary embossed icon.
On the north coast of Lesvos lies the beautiful town of Molyvos or else Mithymna, as this was the name of the mythical King Makara’s daughter and sister of Mytilene, Antissa and Arisvi. It is a town of stunning beauty and picturesque architecture. It is amphitheatrically built with beautiful stone houses and the impressive Byzantine castle on the hilltop. Cobbled streets, old neighborhoods, beautiful preserved mansions – among them the mansion of Argyris Eftaliotis, of Elias Venezis, of Krallis etc.- old fountains and picturesque shops, all these compose the incredible scenery of Molyvos overlooking the sea.
Mytilene is the capital of the island of Lesvos and is located in the southeast end of the island. It is amphitheatrically built on seven hills. The traditional elements and the rich history of the city are evident and reflected in the architecture and its monuments.
The Byzantine castle built by Emperor Justinian towers high at the area of Epano Skala. The ancient theater, the Roman aqueduct in the nearby village of Moria, the church of Agios Therapon and the Cathedral with its unique architecture, as well as the Yeni Mosque, are just some of the monuments that testify the different stages of its history.
Furthermore, the neoclassical buildings that adorn the city highlight the exceptional economic development during the 19th century. The impressive buildings of the city halls and the courts are around the port, while the old town is characterized by its traditional architecture and narrow cobbled streets.
The Museums of Mytilene and of the wider area are worth the visitor’s attention and time: Archaeological Museum, Byzantine Museum, Theofilos Museum, Modern Art Museum, Art Gallery.
Located 55 km. from Mytilene and very close to Mithymna lies the village of Petra with its characteristic rock of approximately 40 meters. One hundred and fourteen steps carved in the rock lead to the church of Panagia Glykofilousa (Our Lady of the Sweet Kisses) at the top of the cliff with a stunning view. The church of Agios Nikolaos, a basilica with three layers of frescoes, the oldest of which date back to the 16th century, is also in the settlement of Petra.
The Vareltzidaina mansion is another remarkable monument of the settlement. It was built in the second half of the 18th century in west Macedonian style and inside it is decorated with splendid murals and woodcarvings.
The islets of Ai Giorgis (St. George), Mikro nisi, Glaronisi and Mirmigki are in the bay of Petra. They are a protected area of wild birds and act as ecological observatories.
In the area of Petra the villages Lafiona, Skoutaros, Stypsi and Ipsilometopo are also picturesque.
On the south coast of the island lies the picturesque Plomari, known for its production of ouzo. The cobbled streets, the mansions that have remained unchanged over time, the perennial plane tree in the old part of the village, are some of the elements that compose the settlement which seems to belong to another era.
The organic olive oil presses, the soap factories, the old ouzo distilleries, and its beautiful location make Plomari a village of natural beauty and special interest. The Ouzo Museum of the “Varvagiannis” distillery and the Plomari Folk Museum reflect the rich folklore and industrial tradition of the region.
Settlements which belong to the area of Plomari with traditional architecture and magnificent vegetation are: Megalohori, Neohori, Akrasi, Plagia, Paleochori and Ampeliko.
Polichnitos is located in the southern part of Lesvos over the Kalloni Bay. Its name means many traces of the many villages that composed it in ancient times and were forced to resettle in the current location, away from the sea because of the Saracen pirates. Major attractions are the Folk Museum and the Natural History Museum, rich in flora and fauna fossils of the region from prehistoric times. The remaining traditional settlements of the Municipality are: Vrissa, Vasilika, Lisvori with thermal therapeutic springs and the production of aniseed (a necessary ingredient for the ouzo production), Skala of Polichnitos, Stavros, Nifida and Vatera.
Sigri is located in the western part of the island, 94 km from Mytilene and is the largest natural port of Lesvos, since it is protected by the islet Nisiopi which lies in front of it. It is a village with stone houses and picturesque streets. The castle, which was built in 1757 by Admiral of the Ottoman fleet Suleiman Pasha, is characterized by the Arabic bow with red and white stones that crowns the main entrance gate.
This small village is known worldwide for the unique beauty and importance of the “Petrified Forest” and the Museum of Natural History, located within the village.
The settlement is located in the northern part of the island and is built on the north side of Mount Lepetymnos, offering magnificent views of the coast of Asia Minor. It is the hometown of the writer Stratis Myrivilis, with his statue at the entrance of the village. His personal belongings are exhibited in the Folk Museum of the village.
Traditional village with cobbled streets and stone-built 19th-century mansions and beautiful fountains.
Near the beautiful harbor of Skala Sikamnia, one of the island’s most developed tourist destinations, lies the church of “Panagia Gorgona” (The Mermaid Madonna). The mural depicting the Virgin Mary with a mermaid tail inspired the writer Stratis Myrivilis to write the popular book.