LESVOS



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


Vasilika, Lisvorio & Polichnítos

After the junction for Aghiasos, the main road to Polichnios climbs from a landscape of olives to one of rocky gorges and pine-woods, passing (33km from Mytilene) the junction with the road for Pyrrha and Kalloni­ (see below in this section) and then descending towards the southern shores of the gulf of Kalloni­ through Vasilika. This is an attractive village whose streets—as at Aghiasos—are shaded into ‘outdoor rooms’ by dense pergolas of climbing plants. The central kafeneion has 19th century folk-art figures of a standing woman and a man sitting cross-legged (or else dancing energetically—it is somehow rather hard to tell which) carved on its imposing, stone door-frame: they are the primitive and serious faced guardians of the locale. Two kilometres further by taking a right branch, you enter Lisvorio, passing a long stretch of wall made in so-called ‘Lesbian masonry’ to the right-hand side as you enter the village: the meticulous, ‘jigsaw-like’ fitting of irregularly cut blocks into a solid and homogeneous surface is typical of the island, and is part of a continuous tradition going back to the polygonal walls of early Antiquity. Lisvorio is famous for its notably hot (c. 70°C), ferrous and slightly sulphurous springs of Aghios Ioannis, which are to be found 2km west of the village. The waters rise just to the right of the bridge and flow down to a small 19th century bath-house below, where they can be enjoyed at more clement temperature in a couple of simple pools.
   Already in Lisvorio, and to a greater extent at Polichnios (42km), a quite different style of architecture prevails from that at Aghiasos. The houses are discrete, four square, symmetrical buildings of the period between 1870 and 1930, meticulously embellished with details in the grey-magenta trachytic stone of northern Lesbos, and frequently characterised by an unusual accentuated pediment in the window cornices. Polichnios is a large settlement spread across a valley between two steep rises. From the summit of the hill of Aghios Stephanos to the south, the full extent of the village comes into view; the roofs are uniform, but the façades are various and highly individual. Near the centre of the town is the olive-oil processing factory, marked by an octagonal brick chimney whose summit is now home to the yearly visits of a family of white storks.
   In the flat and marshy area 1.5km to the southeast of Polichnios rise several mineral springs which, at between 81°C and 92°C, are among the hottest in Europe. In the 2nd century ad, Galen observed that the locals used them for cooking food. The steam and the strong colours of the yellow, red and magenta mineral deposits beside the springs, lend a fantastic touch to a forlorn landscape of tussocks and ruined bath-houses. The waters rise at several points, mixing almost immediately with passing cold water, in the open area between the Old and New Baths: the latter are pleasant and well run (open throughout the year, except Jan and Feb, 8–1, 4–7); the former, the ‘Christianos Baths’, are now dry abandoned structures dating from the end of the 19th century. There are also cold, mineral, drinking-waters at the New Baths.
   Four and a half kilometres south of Polichnios is the attractive village of Vri­sa. On the main square is a small Natural History Collection housed in a former school building, comprising an interesting display of fossilised plants, fish, and early vertebrates, both from Lesbos and from elsewhere, which explains the background to the remarkable early flora and fauna of the island at a time when it was still attached to Asia Minor. (Open summer daily 9.30–3, 4–7; winter Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon 8.30–1.) The finding of a large number of petrified mammal and rep tile remains of gigantic dimensions in the low lying area between Vri­sa and Vatera, gave rise to the creation of this museum by the University of Athens.
   The road reaches the coast at Vatera (52km from Mytilene), whose long, sandy, south-facing strand curves towards a promontory to the west, marked by the modern church of Aghios Phokas (4km). Beside the church are the remains of the temple of Dionysos Bresagenes, oriented perfectly towards the east and crosswise to the promontory. The remaining elements reveal it to have been of curious design—namely monostyle, in antis: the two massive marble antae and the one fluted column of its porch, placed equidistant between them, have been reerected. Some of the paving where the cult statue would have stood is still visible in the interior. In Antiquity the temple and its headland, which would have been visible from afar, constituted the principal landmark between the entrances to the two gulfs, and on the journey between Mytilene and Eresos. The waters south of here are home to both the common and bottlenose dolphins which are sometimes to be seen from this headland. Arion, the 7th century bc musician, poet and citharode, was from Lesbos (Methymna); it was by the intervention of one such dolphin that his life was supposedly saved when he was thrown overboard on his journey back from Sicily.


Lesvos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.
Vasilika, Lisvorio & Polichnitos. 


Random information you might what to know about Lesvos Island
Mandamados
Ancient Pyrrha
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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.

 

KaloniKaloni

 

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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