At the end of our holiday it's always sad to arrive at the airport. Lesvos airport was chaotic (as are lots of greek island airports) - but once your cases are checked in you are free to leave the airport - you have to get back in good time to complete the security checks. Free to leave we were advised of a bar over the road from the airport where there are four poster beds on the beach. I can't remember what the place was called but I don't think you'll find it hard to find and it beats sitting in the airport.
Looking for Lesvos turtles I found on te map quite large lake in the mountains between Molivos and Vafios. It was not so easy to find the way to it, going north Lesvos main road I didn't see any signposts. Only intuition suggested me to turn left (from the road towards Molivos) about 2 km before Molivos and take small but hardened road.
I didn't find any turtle. More... I didn't find any water in this lake. Its bottom was covered by something like plastic foil (it looked like packed and ready to send it abroad;) and the access to the coast was guarded by wire-fence. Strange...
Mountains around, no human being in the surroundings, total silence... Rather weird atmosphere...
Do you want to feel the situation as if there are no newcomers in Lesvos? Do you wonder how the life in this island looked without all that tourist stuff: hotels, folders, travel agencies, car hire offices...?
Going west from Petra towards Sigri turn left just after the town of Vatoussa. This road is leading to Xidira but I stopped before this settlement, in Pterounda and Revma. Both of villages are similair: church, kafenion (local Greek pub; in Revma on the small square under the branchy tree) with local people (from male species only), labyrinth of narrow streets and marvellous quiet atmosphere, rare thing in coastal towns.
There is no anonymous climate. You are noticed just after arrival. But the local peopele are friendly and not insistent. And even if someone mixes up Poland with Holland - there is no problem. He only wanted to start small talk, to say hello, to show you "don't worry". It could be (especially for girls) difficult situation to sit in the kafenion between tens of men's eyes but nothing bad can happen. Relax, drink coffee, forget about the World outside.
Anaxos situated 2 km south from Petra can boast very nice beach and quiet atmosphere. It is also very good starting point for short walk (4 km) along coast.
First part - from Anaxos beach - leads on the coastal stones. You can change a bit you route and climb to the top of promontory where is located a small hotel with nice bar. The panorama of Petra bay and - like on the renneisance picture - "portrait" of Molivos is marvellous.
After 1-2 km you will find pathway along the sea. It runs near two small fisihing harbours and pebbled beach called Avlaki. Here you can find high rated seafood restaurant, which can be the final point of your relaxing expedition.
The Wetland of Kallonis' Gulf is one of the most significant parts of the ecologic assets of Lesvos. The coastal areas that stretch perimetrically to Kallonis' Gulf consist a unified ecologic system, as this area is consisted of a mosaic of salt-pits, small rivers and torrents estuaries, reedy-areas, pine-trees woods and olive groves.
So all these wetlands give natural shelter and become proper place for reproduction to numerous rare and protected species of birds. Particularly the wetland includes the whole coastal area of the Gulf and a great number of terrestrial areas. The salt-pits of Kallonis and Polichnitos, the torrents Tsikneas, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Enea Kamares, Potamea, the lagoon of Meson, the marsh of Skala Kallonbis, of Parakela, Nyphidas etc. The area has been placed among the European Program "Special Areas of Nature's Preservation" of the net NATURA 2000.
At present 134 species of birds have been registered- the 66 are migratory without having included the particular species of the neighboring terrestrial ecosystems.
The last years, the activity of bird-watching at the particular wetland has flourished. The best season for this activity is in spring or in autumn. It is an activity adored by many visitors-naturists -number that is going to increase as a relative program of development is going to establish to the area all the necessary amenities ( installation of organized observatories, establishment of Environmental Information Center etc ). Species like stone curlew, avocet, black-headed bunting, white and black stork, pink flamigos, slag, littleEgret, gray heron, ruddy shelduk, bee-eater, ect.
Among others, the particular area has an extremely rich flora so as a conclusion we can say that the wetland of Kallonis Gulf does not only contribute in offering shelter to various species of birds, but also in the preservation of the area's bio-diversity.
When in Petra, visit the two nearby mountain villages of Petri and Stipsi. Petri is very small but has incredible views of Petra and the coastline. You have to leave your car outside the village and walk the very small little alleys. A little bit further up is the larger village of Stipsi, with quaint little winding alleys and lots of old people sitting on terraces and kafenions lining the main street.
Lesvos is the birthplace of Sappho ,great ancient Greek lyric poetess.She held an academy for young girls ,where they learned poetry and philosophy,which was very rare those days for a woman to do.Some have interpreted this attitude as homosexual and that's the origin of the word 'Lesbian'.Today,at the village Eressos where this academy was,many female tourists come for this reason too...
Going to Lesvos in the first place is pretty much Off the beaten path. The Greek archipelago has so many wonderful islands to choose from, and most people seem to miss this vast island entirely. Therefor, in my book, the whole place is a bit "off". So, you can consider all my other tips on Lesvos in a way as Off the Beaten Path-tips themselves.
However, a real Off the beaten path could be just taking a random route through the inland. we did this, and ended up in the home of a really nice elderly lady living with her turtle, her birds in a cage, her cat and her donkey somewhere just north of harbour-town Kalloni.
Visit nearby Molivos/Molyvos (also called Mithymna) - according to mythology, Mithymna was one of the five daughters of the mythical King Makara.
During the middle ages Mithymna took on the name of Molivos or Molyvos.
The little town is built on a hill with a landmark castle at the top.
The streets can be quite steep, so take your walking shoes!
If you want to experience the wetlands go for an early morning walk. During the hot summer months the wetlands dry up, they host lots of wild birds. Enjoy but please respect the environment