Some of my observations about transport in Lesvos.
1. Generally about driving around
90% of Lesvos is mountainous, roads go up- and downhill, it's difficult to find some straight section, turnings are main elements of every road.
The road system is not bad but also not very good. There are no express roads with 2-3 lanes but on some roads the movement is not so big.
Please pay attention that (because of mountains and turnings) 15 km distance doesn't take you 15 minutes of driving.
2. Main street very often looks like the way to the private backyard
It can be funny but also tiring. Usually roads between towns are wide enough to drive safely. But in towns almost every road is suddenly getting narrow. And its surface from asphalt is changing to pebbles. It is relict after the times of mule-communication. These animals didn't need too wide streets and now there is no possibility to rebuild town streets and make them more useful.
So don't be suprised that sometimes main road is changing for something looks like the way to the small backyard :)
3. Rent a car: negotitions & insurance trap
Renting a car (the best way to see all the island) always negotiate the price. I'm sure you get some discounts even in main season (August).
Pay attention to the sort of insurance they offer you. Often chepaer price is connected with special insurance, which means that you don't have to pay for the repeirs only if they are over some amount (100 or 300 Euro). If you destroy the mirror for 50 Euro you have to pay using your money. This can be challenge for you - 99% of repairs is just for the small problems and in that kind of situations your insurance values nothing.
4. Public transport: Anaxos-Petra-Molivos-Eftalou
There is good public bus service between these towns. Buses are going almost every hour. The bus stops are signed KTEL and there is no timetable on them. Sometimes you can get timetable from bus personel or in your hotel. Ticket Petra - Molivos costs 1,20 Euro.
Lesvos is 1,5 hour to Ayvalik in Turkey. Ayvalik is also such a beautiful place, similar to Lesvos. There are daily boat trips to/from Lesvos and Ayvalik. Many people living in Lesvos comes to Ayvalik for shopping. If you are in Lesvos, give one day to visit Ayvalik and Cunda (a small historical town in Ayvalik)
Lesvos is one of the biggest islands of Greece, but when you rent a car you really can visit all the places you want. In Molivos there are lots of company's (but I think also in other towns there are enough possibilities) and we chose Avis. They offer full insurance, except for the bottom of the car which is never insured in Lesbos. Make sure that you have enough gas when you leave because some roads are really deserted (you drive also in the mountains) and I can imagine it isn't pleasant to get stuck there. When you arrive at the gasstation you don't have to put the gas yourself (like it's here in Belgium) but you wait for someone who comes to do it for you. I really recommend renting a car, because public tranportation isn't developed very well and you don't see anything of the island if you go by bus (there are only a few busses a day). In summer there's a bus that goes from Molivos to Petra and Anaxos several times a day, but it's for example almost impossibile to visit Mytilini by bus (3/4 busses a day and the first one is at 7 o' clock). Another pleasant way to explore the island is the scooter. You can rent one almost everywhere but you need your driver's licence. We didn't do it because we've never done it before, bus a couple of friends went by scooter and they were really enthousiastic about it.
If you want to explore the island by yourself, it is best to rent a bike or a car. You can do that in almost every town. This way you are not bound to certain times.
If you want to have dinner and just want to go cheap, take the bus. I only have the times of bus arrivals in Anaxos. The bus stop is at the main road, ask around when you get there.
The times are:
From Anaxos to Petra: 0,90 euro each
From Anaxos to Molyvos: 1,80 euro each
When you want to go somewhere AFTER 20:15 pm, it's best to take a taxi. They usually drive around all night down the road Molyvos-Petra-Anaxos and back. So you can either wait along the main road for one to come or start walking in the direction of the place you want to go. One will stop for you. If not... well, walking is good for you!
You can also ask at a bar if they can call a taxi for you.
The price from Anaxos to Petra by taxi: about 4 or 5 euros.
From Anaxos to Molyvos: about 6 or 7 euros.
Ofcourse this depends on how nice (or cute) you are, or how nice the taxi driver is.
When you arrive at the airport and you stay at one of the places Anaxos, Molyvos or Petra, it is about 50 euros to get there by taxi. You can also take the bus, but that's a 2 hour drive and you stop at every accomodation to drop people off. Also the guide will give you tips and warnings through a microphone that is wired to very loud speakers, which isn't a very nice thing when you arrive at night and you would like to sleep. VERY annoying.
International airport at the island's capital MYTILINE
(also called MITILINI).
BY FERRY BOAT:
From Piraeus, all year. Distance: 188 n.m. (12 hours). Information: Port Authority of Piraeus tel: +30 14226000,
Taxis are cheap for local journeys - we hired a car to explore the island. There is a choice a car/motorbike rental places in Petra, or your hotel will recommend one to you.
Airplane 3 - 4 times a day from Athens "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport and 1 - 2 times a day from Thessaloniki "Macedonia" airport. Flight lasts 30 - 50 min. It depends on the type of the airplane.
Aegean / Cronus Airlines
Ship every day from Pireus at 18:00 via Chios. Journey lasts 13 hours. Every other day the highspeed "Aeolos Kenteris" leaves Pireaus at 16:30 via Chios. Journey lasts 6 hours. Once a week ship from Thessaloniki port via Limnos. Journey lasts 14 hours.
There are bus departures many times each day from and for Mytilene, but there is no bus for the villages of Plomari.
Departure from Mytilini to Plomari Daily 11.00 - 13.00 - 15.00, Saturday 13.00 and Sunday 12.00
Departure from Plomari to Mytilini Daily 07.00 - 07.45 - 13.15, Saturday 07.00 and Sunday 07.00
If you want to take a taxi, you ‘ll find it in the main square, in front of the park. If you are far away you may call the number: 2252033331.
Why not take a taxi? And look, there is even a great way to contact them...
Seriously though, I recommend to rent a car, by far the best way to get around this vast island!