LESVOS



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Lesvos or Mytilene - The central south of the island: Plomari & Polichnitos - West: from Kerameia to Polichnitos & Vatera


West: from Kerameiato Polichnitos & Vaterato Polichnitos & Vatera

Asomatos & Aghiasos
The main road to Polichnios (south from the junction 13km west of Mytilene) is at first immersed in olive groves once again. After 1km a sign to the right for ‘Mylelia’, indicates a track which leads north through the groves to a functioning water mill—a good (and not over-restored) example of several in this valley that profited from the seasonal waters descending from the southern slopes of Mount Olympos. As the main road begins to climb after 3.5km, to the right, under ancient plane-trees fed by spring waters, is the attractive taverna at Kari­ni—haunt of the painter Theophilos (see above pp. 42–6): a tree in which the painter is said to have dwelt can be seen. The village is dominated by the buildings, walled courtyard and chimney of a disused olive factory. It was on this lucrative industry of olive-oil production that the two beautiful *villages of Asomatos and Aghiasos (4km and 7.5km by road respectively to the south of here) grew rich; they manifested their wealth in the simple but substantial stone houses that line their precipitous streets. A reclusive self-sufficiency has historically characterised these two centres and means that even today they have preserved (Aghiasos, in particular) traditions of song, dialect, mu sic, ceremony and panegyria of their own. The feast of the Virgin (15 August) in Aghiasos is justly one of the most famous in the Aegean. At To Stavri­, a simple ouzeri-cum eatery (whose walls are a treasure-house of objects, graffiti and pictures) at the northern end of the village, local music and song can sometimes spontaneously begin late in the evening and last well into the night. Both villages have unusual churches, with broad, luminous naves to accommodate their large communities. At Asomatos the wooden ceiling of the church is finely painted in late Ottoman style. At Aghiasos the original foundation of the Panaghia Brephocratousa (‘Protectress of infants’) goes back to 1170, though today’s structure was rebuilt after a fire in the 19th century. The treasure of the original monastic foundation was the darkened ancient icon of the Virgin, reputedly brought to the island in the early 9th century by Agathon of Ephesus, when it was already of considerable antiquity. Opposite the porticoed entrance, a conglomeration of water-stoups and fountain spouts cluster in the corner of the courtyard, composed of carved stonework of many different periods. The surrounding monastic buildings are contiguous with the labyrinth of the village’s paved spaces and streets, shaded always by dense pergolas of wistaria and vine. Every open space becomes an outdoor salotto. Even the main streets are canopied with climbing plants. The feel is that of a village in the mountains of Epirus: it is easy here to forget that you are on an Aegean island.
   Though readily accessible by road and by bus, the two villages are also linked by a network of stone kalderimi: it is by walking along these that it is possible to appreciate the unhurried and loving care with which the olive has been cultivated on Lesbos—the immaculate walling between each successive terrace and around the root complexes of individual trees on the steeper slopes; the laboriously constructed stone paving of the mule-tracks that wind sinuously around the cavities in the hills; and, above all, the age and density of olive-trees, which are planted here closer together than they would be in Italy or Spain. In spring these groves are carpeted with blue lupins, may weed (dog fennel), peacock and crown anemones, barbary nut iris (sisyrinchium), and a variety of orchids—such as Orchis picta, with dense clusters of rounded and striated petals of a deep pink-purple on a straight, fleshy stem.


Lesvos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.
Asomatos & Aghiasos.


Random information you might what to know about Lesvos Island
The Gattilusi Castle
The castle of Mytilene
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access

Lesvos Island, Greece.


By air:
Domestic flights from Athens, four times daily with Olympic Air and two or three times daily with Aegean Airlines, serve Mytilene through out the year.
There are daily Olympic Air connections with Thessaloniki, and 6 days a week with Aegean Airlines, including a twice weekly local, Eastern Aegean route with Olympic, from Thessaloniki to Rhodes , via Lemnos and Chios and (once a week only) Samos . The airport is 5km from the centre of Mytilene.
By boat: The principal route from Piraeus to Mytilene is served by Hellenic Seaways, via Chios, with a daily 12.30 departure from Piraeus, arriving at Mytilene 21.00, and returning to Piraeus again overnight.
GA Ferries run 3 times weekly along the route from/to Chios and Samos to the south, and Lemnos and Kavala to the north.
There is a weekly Saos Ferries service from the port of Sígri (north west Lesbos) on the route be- tween Kavala, Lemnos, Aghios Evstratios (to north), and (to south) Psará and Lavrion (for Athens). Crossings to Turkey (Ayvalık/Dikili) run 4 to 5 times weekly during the summer season (May–early-Oct) only.

Lesvos Travel Guide

beaches

Lesvos Island, Greece.

 

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Lesvos Travel Guide

eating

Lesvos Island, Greece.

The port area of Mytilene has many small (mostly new) tavernas, dedicated to providing interesting, fresh and varied Levantine–Aegean dishes with localredients, good local breads, and offer a pleasant atmosphere.
Two which are particularly to be recommended, are: *Matzourána (30 Komninaki St.), one block in from the east side of the harbour;
and *Machalás (27 Mitrelia St.), two blocks in from the north side of the harbour.
A more "folkloric" setting and some good local dishes are provided by Zoubouli, on the corner of Sarandoporou and Venedakis Streets, behind the north- east corner of the port.
For traditional vegetable and fish mezedes, prepared with care and imagination, nothing can beat the Taverna "Rebetis" on the waterfront, overlooking the north harbour from its southeast corner.
11km north of Mytilene, shortly after Pyrgi Thermis, beside the church of St George, is the Taverna Aghios Giorgios—good for fresh fish, and popular with locals on Sundays especially.
On the road to Polichnítos, below the village of Asomatos and 3km after the junction at Kerameia, is the Taverna "Karini" in the deep shade of plane-trees and vines beside a stream; the food is ordinary, but the setting delightful.
At picturesque Skala Sykaminiás on the north coast, the tavernas in the port have mostly become, through popularity, over-priced or poor in quality; but 1km to the west along the track by the shore from the harbour, is To Kyma, still unspoiled and with good fish dishes.
Taverna "Vapheios", in the village of that name 6km to the east of Molyvos, has good local specialties and sunset views to match.
Right in the heart of Molyvos, the tiny and basic *Obelisteria "Methymna" (further up the street past the Demarcheion) deserves special recommendation for the care with which the owner chooses his excel lent meats and produce, serving the client with the tastiest salads and grilled meats to be found on the island, simply seasoned with fresh herbs, and provided at very modest prices. Space is limited, especially in winter.

Lesvos Travel Guide

further reading

Lesvos Island, Greece.

Longus (2nd century ad), The Pastoral Story of Daphnis & Chloe, an ancient romance novel set on Lesbos (translated in Reardon’s Ancient Greek Novels, 1989).
Richard Brooks, Birding on the Greek Island of Lesvos—revised 2002, is an invaluable guide to the island’s unusually rich birdlife.

Lesvos Travel Guide

lodging

Lesvos Island, Greece.

Notwithstanding the décor which is a little over the top (an endemic problem in the two or three converted man sions which offer accommodation in Mytilene), the hotel Pyrgos of Mytilene (T. 22510 27977, 25069, fax 47319, www.pyrgoshotel.gr. Upper price range.) on the hill to the south of the harbour, is the city’s smartest hotel—welcoming, comfortable, providing a good breakfast with freshly baked items, and open all year round. The road-side rooms can be noisy, however.
An inexpensive alternative is the Hotel Orpheas (T.22510 28523, fax 21930), in a converted mansion mid-way between the two Archaeological Museums.
Not far outside Mytilene (11 km to the north), at Pyrgi Thermis, is the delightful Hotel Votsala- (T. 22510 71231, fax 71179; www.votsalahotel. com. Apr-Oct. Medium price). Welcoming, informal, and pointedly un-touristy and unpretentious, this simple and beautiful hotel on the shore, run by a Mytilenean architect and his wife, is perhaps the most civilised and enjoyable solution on the island.
Molyvos has a wider variety of places to chose from: on the shore below the town, is the Olive Press Hotel (medium price), arranged around the courtyard of a converted olive mill (T. 22530 71205, fax 71646).
In the heart of Molyvos is the delightful and simple Nassos Guesthouse (inexpensive; T. 22530 71432, www.nassosguesthouse.com);
and nearby, for real simplicity in an old Ottoman-style house, Pension Chrisi (T. 22530 72193). Not far away, between Petra and Anaxos, is the Clara Hotel & Bungalows (T. 22530 41532, fax 41535, www.clarahotel.gr); the complex, which has comprehensive facilities and is set in its own gardens, has fine views of Molyvos and Petra, but is a little distance from both and is not on the beach.
In Plomari, the nicest lodgings are provided by the Hotel Leda (T. 22520 32507; open May–Sept only) in a fine traditional mansion with views out to sea: it is in the centre of town, up a flight of steps from the main square.
The only accommodation which is part of one of the thermal spring spas are the rooms offered at Thermes Polichnitou (T. 22520 41201).

Lesvos Travel Guide

museums

Lesvos Island, Greece.

Archaeological Museum

Lesvos Travel Guide

practical info

Lesvos Island, Greece.

811 00 09, 812 00 & 813 00 Lesbos:
area 1630sq km
perimeter 370km
population 108,000
max. altitude 968m.
Port Authority (Mytilene): T. 22510 40827, 47888.
Travel and information: Pan Tours 22510 46595, www.pantours.gr, Dimakis Travel 22510 27865, www.dimakistours.gr

Lesvos Travel Guide

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