Lesvos

travel | get there and get around

Greek Islands » Lesvos » Travel

Getting to Lesvos

Aegean map

Where is Lesvos? 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 roadsare generally 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 rooms should be booked in advance. Independent travellers will find plenty of cheap rooms in Mytilini.

Updated for 2015

Lesvos flights: travel by air

Flights to Lesvos land at Mytilini International Airport (MJT), officially called Odysseas Elytisis, 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 can be expected in the summer.

Facilities are few; 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.

Lesvos ferries: travel by sea

Hellenic Seaways sails the Piraeus to Lesvos route with five sailings weekly for the 10 hours crossing. Hellenic also offers two sailings weekly from Kavala with an 11-hour crossing 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 over 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 advance booking is recommended. Tickets can be bought online at Turkey World.

Lesvos map: getting around

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.

Lesvos weather is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The northern meltemi wind blows in high summer but Lesvos is considered one of the sunniest Greek islands. The mean annual temperature is 18°C and rainfall is 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.

Lesvos transport: travel on land

Car rental

Roads on Lesvos are generally good but driving can be tiring on such a large and mountainous island. Although there are no express ways, roads are usually uncongested. Those heading into the mountains will find that roads can narrow quickly and the surface deteriorate.

Car rental is available in most of the larger resorts or you can book online - see panel right.

Lesvos buses

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 to Thermi in the north.

Cross-island services based at Mytilini's main square are operated by KTEL. The main routes are to 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.

Lesvos taxis

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 are 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 a price before getting in. Typical inter-village taxis fares are found at Lesvos Taxiservice which operates all over the island and claims cheap rates for island excursions

Lesvos rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Lesvos has a wide variety of accommodation to suit most budgets. Large hotels aimed at the package holiday market are found in the big tourist centres. If you plan a visit in August it's probably best to book ahead 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 sited 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 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 can be found at beach resorts along the south coast, including a large camp site at Vatera.