Mytilini, capital of LesvosLocated on the South - Eastern tip of the island, Mytilini is the largest town and consequently the capital of the Lesvos. An administrative and cultural centre, Mytilini has a population of 40,000 and is host to the islands Airport and the main seaport of the same name.
The town centre of Mytilini is located just 6km from the airport making this an ideal stop-over for the weary traveler and offers the visitor a wonderful view of modern Greece mixed with a fascinating insight into the culture, traditions and architecture of this enthralling island. Mytilini occupies seven hills which rise like an amphitheatre around this enthralling and charming town.
It's fortress is one of the largest known in the Mediterranean and lies above the town to the East. It is extremely well preserved has a colourful past, not surprising when you consider that it has been occupied and modified by many forces including the Romans, The Byzantines, the Turks and even the Venetians. Today, during the summer months a variety of cultural events are held within the fortress walls, in a section which has been modified and tastefully modernised.
The architecture of Mytilini is magnificent and one can wonder through the streets for hours gazing at old mansion houses, churches and other spectacles of a long forgotten world.
Mytilini also has it's very own 'Statue of Liberty'. A young Greek sailed on a ship to America. He was very poor. Upon his arrival in the port of New York he was smitten with the Statue of Liberty which he saw as his symbol of hope. His first rented rooms in the new city overlooked the statue and he vowed that one day, if he made enough money, he would return to his native Mytilini and build a statue for his beloved town. His dream came true and here she is today!
Mytilini has it's very own statue of Liberty guarding the shores of the North harbour. In the background you can just see the famous castle nestling on the hill, the castle is one of the largest remaining fortifications in Europe and is well worth a visit.
There are actually two harbours here. The wide inner port which is home to the familiar fishing boats of all shapes and sizes has a wide road and pavements along it's length and is lined with cafes and restaurants where you can sit and while away the hours watching the Aegean Ocean lapping gently at the harbour wall. Here you will also find many of the islands banks and shops of every description. To the North of Mytilini, lies the main commercial port where the inter-island ferries dock blow the 'statue of liberty'. If you are traveling to or from another island by boat you will more than likely find yourself here.
One street behind the main harbour road, you will also find the church of St Therapon with it's imposing dome which dominates the skyline and just about every photograph you will ever see of Mytilini town. (See below for more about the interior of this beautiful church) The waterfront is also an ideal destination for an evening walk as the town takes on a serenity and peace from the daily hustle and bustle of everyday life here.
The main shopping centre in Ermou Street sometimes referred to rather misleadingly as 'the market place' runs parallel to the main promenade and consists of small streets literally brimming with traditional shops and the modern influences of designer labels and souvenir kiosks. There are fish shops here which proudly display the freshest fruits from the seas surrounding the island. Don't forget though that the usual afternoon siesta is taken from 2pm until 5pm and most shops close, although larger supermarkets and restaurants tend to remain open throughout the day.
If you have hired a car from us, you will find the point of collection just a five minute walk away from the main docking point at the harbour, as well as at the airport which is six kilometers further South from the main town. The main bus depot is also close by where you will find details of routes servicing the whole island. Public transport is reliable, but not particularly suited to tourist travel. Whilst bus routes service the island, they are not with any great regularity and should only really be considered for use on one way journeys. In other words, going somewhere is possible... getting back on the same day is not necessarily an option ! Journey's can also be slow and the temperatures can soar above 90 degrees especially in high season so be warned, and always travel with plenty of bottled water which is readily available from most shops and cafes.
Most Greeks here will have at least a smattering of English, not to mention German and French, but do not expect this to be the case as you travel further inland. Take a small phrase book, and if all else fails resort to miming. It works and you'll always raise a laugh!
If all that wasn't enough.... you can even find beaches here!
The architecture of Mytilini is magnificent and one can wonder
through the streets for hours gazing at old mansion houses,
churches and other spectacles of a long forgotten world.
Having said that, if your idea of a perfect beach is a long stretch of sand, you will find those anywhere but here. Nevertheless, the waters here are extremely clean and the little coves dotted along the coastline facing Turkey are popular enough and great for a quick dip.
The National Tourist Board is responsible for the beach of “tsamakia” which is located below the castle walls. This is an 'organised' beach and as one would expect offers the visitor numerous water sport activities. Smaller beaches can be found out toward the airport.
Click here for museums in Mytilini
Click here for day trips to Turkey from Mytilini
Click here for Accommodation in Mytilini