Sifnos – The chic Cycladic

Sifnos – The chic Cycladic

 Keeping a low profile, without boasting for its virtues, Sifnos reveals very quickly its rich qualities! It’s picturesque, with a valuable gastronomic inheritance, rich in folk art and tradition, architecture, aesthetics and natural beauties which are everywhere around you.

 Do you like walking around? Start with a walk along the “Steno” in Apollonia.  Especially during afternoon/evening hours. Everyone’s there at that hours! Have a drink while listening to fine music, make your purchases…. Don’t miss the unique strolling around the alleys of the medieval “Castle” settlement. Follow the descended the stairs to the chapel of “Eftamartyros”, perched on a rock emerging from the sea. You will be compensated! Still not enough walking? Walk from Apollonia to Artemonas through the narrow streets, taking pictures at every corner / courtyard / door way that suddenly looks more scenic than all the others and reach Artemonas with the magnificent neoclassical buildings, the bougainvillea houses and the elaborate ceramic pots that decorate the chimneys (flaroi). Are you a real hiker? Sifnos has a well organized network of trails with maps and all (100 km) –

 Do you like swimmming? Of course! You don’t have to go far! Covering all tastes and at short distances you can reach every beach. Sandy ones (Kamares, Platis Gialos, Apokofto, Glyfo, Fasolou, Vathi, Herronissos – the furthest …), rocky, for dives from rocks (Panagia Chrisopigi, Seven Witnesses / Castle …). Organized … in Kamares, Platis Gialos and Vathi and you will find everything at your feet . Or maybe you and the beach trees (Glypho) and then settle there for hours. If you fancy a boat tour you can have it, too. You will discover small lonely bays just for you.


 Do you want to eat well? You came to the right place. The path was well shown by Tselemendes the first Greek cook to publish a cook book! You will traditionally eat: “mastelo”, capers’ salad, dishes with “manoure” and local “mytzithra” (local types of cheese) and of course “revithada”, the famous chick peas soup. Do you want more modern dishes, gourmet cuisine, appetizers, Italian cuisine? There are top choices in every field, hosting excellent restaurants in narrow streets, verandas, courtyards with immense views …

 Do you love sunsets and sunrises?

“Chrysopigi” church on the cracked rock, with her bell tower, is the perfect scenery to see the sun rising up, coloring the Aegean sky. Then sunset at “Agios Simeon”, at the highest point of the island. You can see the church from “Kamares”. At night it’s illuminated looking like a spacecraft! In the evening it “dives” in orange. Do not miss the sunset view from up there!

Agios Simeon

 Do you want to entertain yourself? Drink your cocktails at the bars along the “Steno” in unique settings. See if your visit comes upon a local feast “Panigiri” at some chapel or the “Tselemendes festival” or some other event organized by the superactive Cultural Association of the island. Be informed about the cultural events of the island on their pages: ,

Lots of things to learn about Sifnos on the most accurate web tourist guide 

Where the unique charm of Sifnos comes from, it is up to each one of you to discover. Look for its hidden gems and take with you what will make you want to turn back over and over again.


We stayed at Meropi Rooms & Apartments . We also highly recommend Nymfes Hotel  both in Kamares

We TRIED & we liked: “Maiolica” in Platis Yialos  (modern Mediterranean cuisine- fantastic!!!)

“Drakakis Cafe” in Apollonia, (small dishes – very good)

“Cayenne Restaurant Art Gallery” in Apollonia, (more gourmet, slightly expensive but it’s worth it- perfect)

“Okyalos” in Apollonia, (We had wonderful Sifnian dishes)

“Mamma Mia” in Apollonia (Italian cuisine) (very good)

“Doloma” Bar in Apollonia (on a nice corner)

“Kitrino podilato” in Artemonas (for a nice dessert or coffee in a lovely courtyard)

“Smaragdi” in Artemonas (we had a nice breakfast)

“Syrma” in Kamares (delicious breakfast on the beach) . Free sun loungers!

Beach bar “Old Captain Bar”  in Kamares. Really nice shadowy setting, great music, good service.

Kyma” beach bar in Kamares. Nothing special. The sunbeds are charged for 3€ each

We tried “loukoumades” at “Three blond angels”. .  Average for our standards.

WE VISITED the ceramics workshop of Yiannis Apostolides, on the road from Kamares to Apollonia. Do not miss it!


Amorgian dive into the big blue !

Amorgian dive into the big blue !


   Amorgos! You step your foot on the island, having seen a bunch of pictures that have stunned your mind and are urging you to see for yourself! And you do it!

  You arrive at Katapola, a natural, sheltered port with the three settlements, “Katapola”, the harbour, “Rachidi” in the middle and “Xylokeratidi “ across the bay.  Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in numerous shops that cover all your needs (supermarket, bakery, cafés serving breakfast, taverns, even laundry … see suggestions below) along with the renovated Municipal Camping. Stay here (“pension amorgos”–  at the port) and you’ll have everything you need at hand! From here you will also take the boat that leaves every half hour for the nearby beaches of the bay. Later walk along the beach, enjoy the sunset on the benches along the coast and choose one of the picturesque taverns in “Xylokeratidi” to taste the Amorgian cuisine (try at “Youkali”). You will walk in the alleys of the settlement, walk past “Panagia Katapoliani”, a monument of the island and the fountain of Katapoliani that brings drinking water from the mountain !!!. Agios Panteleimonas

In “Rachidi”, you will see the neoclassical building of the Primary School and the imposing parish church of Ag. Georgios. And if you feel like walking a little further, then take the dirt path after the settlement of Katapola to the west, and you’ll arrive at Ai Giannis who sees over the whole bay, with the statue of Erato, gazing the sea every day. Walk east ways, crossing “Xylokeratidi”, with its houses descending into the sea, and you reach the picturesque chapel of “Agios Panteleimonas”, with the homonymous beach and the Maltezi beach just below (20’ easy hike- wear a hat though). Take your swimsuit with you! You might want to dive into the wonderful waters! Alternatively take the boat and reach Maltezi beach (boats in front of Cafe Kamari, for 4 € both ways) that is sheltered and organized, though small and crowded. You can take your dives in “Kato Akrotiri”, a 2nd beach at 150m. far from the port to the west.

 Next thing you do is rent a car (we did so in (Αsset rent a car) and start to get to know the island. You can also get the KTEL (bus) of course. There are frequent routes to all destinations. See what’s in your interest!


Beaches 2 beaches left and right of the harbor with sand and some municipal umbrellas Maltezi (sandy – few deck chairs – from 20′ hike, 5’ by boat /4 € return ticket)


“Youkali”, Xylokeratidi

For breakfast

“Kamari” (must taste the handmade pies of Mr. Giorgos), “Honey and Cinnamon”, “Teleion” Sweets / Crepes “Pothiti’s sweets”, “Elychrison”

Explore Kato Meria

 Olympia - ship wreck  Scattered villages in the southwestern part of the long shaped island are spread depicting the strong rural element of the island. The road from Hora passes through “Agios Georgios the Valsamitis” and Markiani and suddenly you feel a scene change, away from the island’s touristic profile. On your left, the view of the endless blue of the sea and on the right, the hinterland with the dry fields, small valleys and the farmhouses. Drive through the villages of Kamari, Vroutsi, Arkesini (one of the ancient cities of the island), Kolofana and Kalotaritissa (26 km from Chora). On the way you will definitely stop to see “Olympia” ship wreck in the bay before Kalotaritissa. Carefully hike down the path to the beach. Don’t be lazy! It’s worth the effort! Driving further on, you reach the sheltered bay of Kalotaritissa. From here, boats take you to the islet of Gramvousa (uninhabited today) with the virgin beaches of crystal clear waters! In case you want to stay here for a swim, some sun loungers and umbrellas (8 € per set) as well as a canteen will make your stay more comfortable. Otherwise, you may need an umbrella of your own. The beach is sandy and the waters wonderful!


Mouros  Close by is “Paradisia” bay and the chapel of Agia Paraskevi with its popular festival where the local dish “Patatato” (baked goat meat with potatoes) is served, a special traditional dish of the island.

  Should you feel hungry, “Marouso” tavern at Arkesini will host you in their yard! Taste the rooster dish! It’s  in a family portion! Mind your order! One serving suits for two! Prices are more than reasonable!

  In the same area is the beach of “Mouros”, their “best” beach as they say. And they are right! Fine sand and pebbles on the beach, under high rock formations. A scenery unique in its entirety, with incredibly turquoise waters and sea caves for exploration. You will walk a bit on the path that goes down there. Take an umbrella with you! A free parking space and a fish tavern high on the plateau will serve your needs.



Kalotaritissa beach (sandy – few sunbeds – 8 € the set with umbrella / canteen) Gramvousa beaches (sand and fine pebbles – boat from Kalotaritissa) Paradisia beach (sandy – small canteen) Mouros beach (sand and fine pebbles – downhill path – 5 ‘descent / 10’ ascent – free parking and tavern high on the plateau)


“Marousso” tavern, in Arkesini

Agios Pavlos

Heading northwest


  On the way to Aegiali you make a stop at “Agios Pavlos” bay with Nikouria, an  uninhabited islet opposite the beach where you can get by a boat from the impressive beach of Agios Pavlos that resembles an earth tongue entering in the sea with the turquoise waters. A hotel is right on the pebbled, sheltered beach. Another 5 km distance and you reach the second port of the island, Aegiali, which is in fact a village complex. There is “Ormos” (otherwise Yialos – the center of Aegiali) with the harbor pier. Just over “Ormos”, on the slope, lays the settlement of “Potamos” with a breathtaking view, while above the hill, “Langada” and “Tholaria”. “Ormos” bay, with many hotels/cafes /restaurants/ souvenir shops and bars will cover your needs. You will sunbathe on the longest sandy beach of the island (there are no sunbeds but many “armyrikia” to offer you their shade if you like).  Eat at the “Port of Kyra Katina” in the narrow alleys. Choose “Ormos” in the evening if you are looking for a bit of nightlife at a more intense pace! Do not imagine anything too intense though! The island is best suited for quite holidays and is ideal for camping lovers.

In “Tholaria” (3 km from Ormos), near the site of Ancient Aegiali, you will wander in the traditional arches, the narrowlyTholaria whitewashed alleys with cafes and traditional restaurants and in “Langada” (4 km from Ormos) you will be urged to stop for a photo shot at every wonderful corner or door at the paved square on the eastern entrance of the village! Visit during sunset hour, when the panoramic view becomes even more magnificent. Driving down, the “Holy Trinity” chapel, wedged in a rock cavity, will surprise you on the way!

All villages are an excellent example of Cycladic architecture with traditional tavernas and local bakeries with Amorgian delicacies, traditional Amorgian roasted raki, accompanied by amorgian dishes such as goat, thyme honey and the famous Amorgian fava with capers.



Aegiali beach (sandy – inside the settlement – many shady trees) Levrosos beach (next to Aegiali beach – sandy – hike on the path after the long beach or drive Agios Pavlos beach (pebbled – hotel with beach bar- access by car) Nikouria Beach: (sandy – opposite Agios Pavlos – by boat / hour from Agios Pavlos or Aegiali


“The Port of Kyra Katina”, Ormos “The tavern of Nikos”, Lagada


  The jewel of the island is “Hora”, with the 13th century Venetian castle, built at 65 meters height also hosting the church of Kyra Leoussa in it. Take the key to enter the castle (ask at café “Helios”, at Lozza Square) and carefully climb the narrow stone staircase. Admire the view from the loopholes towards Hora and the surrounding islands, especially near the sunset.

  Walk on the narrow, cobbled alleys, up and down paved steps, past numerous churches and through the two squares, Lower and Upper Loza (very scenic) with all kinds of stylish shops to invite you to try their delicacies. Amorgian feasts such as the Savior’s (Christ’s) on August 6th and the celebration of the traditional Amorgian “pasteli” (sesame and honey sweet) are revived in these squares.

  Go up to the Upper Neighborhood with the whitewashed houses, move to the east and you will find yourself in “Emprostiada”, a series of arches, head right Emprostiadaand you find yourself in “Troulos” neighbourhood which is the entrance to the windmills on the breezy hillside of Hora. Located just opposite the castle, in a panoramic, prominent position they are proudly standing for hundreds of years against the winds that usually blow strong. Fabulous sunset view! Taste Amorgian dishes in “Arbaroriza” (at a nice quiet corner) or at Καθοδόν and “Tranzistoraki” (on the main street) and treat yourself a desert at “Callisto”.

  At 5 ‘drive from Hora swim in amazingly clear waters in “Agia Anna”, with the homonymous chapel, reviving all the magical scenes from the movie “Big Blue” by Luc Besson. It’s not exactly a beach! Pick a rock (since there is barely any sand) and live the ultimate relaxation and freedom of diving in these waters!

  Look up to your left! The monastery of “Panagia Hozoviotissa” (9th century AD) looks like a white dove on the steep rocks. You notice the road that leads there, shortly before turning to Agia Anna. On its five meters width and eight levels – floors, all the cells of the monks, the guest quarters, kitchens, bakeries, warehouses, cisterns and wells, Panagia Hozoviotissaare wedged into the rock that is transformed into a functional structure and a marvelous sample of functional local architecture. Walk from the bus station to the platform or leave your car in the space before the entrance.  Climb the 300 stone-paved steps to the Monastery.  What a fantastic view of the endless blue sea! Step up the stairs and follow the instructions to chapel with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and the treat of traditional roasted Amorgian raki. Caution! There is dress code as usual, specific visiting hours… and a shop at the entrance. A must see!!! (Visiting hours: 08:00-13:00 & 17:00-19:00)

And if you are fond of hiking, you will enjoy unique experiences following the well-designed network of trails with a variety of routes (almost 20) in the wild beauty of the island! Far from mass tourism Amorgos is the place where you will feel really free!




Agia Anna beach (rocky – few paved steps – café / canteen – free parking area) Syrma beach ( right of Agia Anna on the same bay – short downslope dirt path/ rocky)


“Arbororiza”, “Καθ’ οδόν”, “Liotrivi”, “Transistoraki” (tavern)

Sweets “Callisto”


KTEL Amorgos (bus timetable) Check itineraries and prices / they change during the season

Asset rent a car tel. 22850 74301 35 € / day (18-20 July)

Port Authority – Katapola: 22850-71259

Police – Hora : 22810-71210

Health Center – Hora of Amorgos: 22850-71207

Doctor – Aegiali: 22850-73222  /  Catapola: 22850-71805

For more information


25/7: Agia Paraskevi, Kato Meria                                 26/7: Roasted raki Feast, Katapola

19/8: Pasteli feast, Hora                                                8/9: Festival of xerotigana,Aegiali

Visitable winery  “AMORGION“, Katapola

Traditional Guest House “Embrostiada” , Hora,


A tasty Sifnos

A tasty Sifnos

The first time we visited his beautiful island, George, our friend from Sifnos, told us: “Sifnos has an energy that you either accept it and worship the island, or you reject it and never come again.” After three years holidays’ in a row in Sifnos, guess what has happened! The DNA that builds our chromosomes has now a trickle of the “blue” of Sifnos!

   As you understand, it’s a little difficult to tell you which places we visited and what we ate in all three visits. “So here are the highlights. And you’re lucky, to come along at the best!

   How do you go to Sifnos? Just …take a boat from Piraeus. There are many itineraries offered during the day by various ferry companies. You’d better get the fast ferry. Three hours later you’ll be there! Here’s a tip: You will find it handy to have your car with you. Sifnos is a big island which means you need a means of transport. You can always rent one but we can’t guarantee the prices! If, on the other hand, you don’t have a car, no worries! KTEL with its frequent itineraries all over the island, will be at your service.

   For a stay we will tell you a name: HOTEL NYMFES in Kamares (at the port). George (yes, it is the one that we mentioned above) and Moscha (his gentle sister) are our friends, we really can not tell you anything about their hotel: neither about the Greek, most traditional and handmade breakfast nor about the pool that will cool you off on the days when you are lazy enough to go to the beach, or the rooms that have a view to the harbor and the sunsets of Sifnos. No, we won’t tell you anything, so that you don’t think we are biased! Just look at the photos and draw your own conclusions.

  Have you been settled in your room? Put on sunscreen and off to the sea. Sifnos has beaches for all tastes. From sunset and calm, without human intervention, to organized beaches with the comfort of sunbeds and umbrellas. Choose among the sandy beaches in Kamares, Vathi, Platis Gialos, Apokofto, Faros, the pebbled one in Vroulidia (hold your breath on the way back, walking the up cliff path!) And if you wish for a beach on rocks, then go to Chrysopigi. You know, there is the church of Panagia Chrisopigi! Exquisite! Most photographed sight! You may have heard about the many weddings taking place there.

   We went to nearly all of them. Do you want to know our favourite ones? Kamares, at “Syrma” café, Wire (very polite people, free of charge sunbeds along your order. You’ll enjoy your coffee as well as their dishes ). Faros (Glypho), see that you go relatively early there, to catch up the shadowy spaces under the trees to lay your body and finally the Apokofto, which also has trees along the beach and you enjoy a view of Chrysopigi.

cafe Wire Apokofto Faros

   And now we reach our favorite theme. FOOD! We don’t know if you’ve heard, but Sifnos is the island of gastronomy! The Greek chef of the 20th century, Nikos Tselementes was born and first cooked here the famous Siphneian chickpea recipe. And of course, there is also a Gastronomic Festival named after Nicholas Tselemnedes. On September 2016, Artemonas organized the 10th festival in a row, and it has reached the point when the festival is slowly expanding to the rest of Greece and abroad as well. We also met the president of the Cultural Club of Sifnos Ms. Maria Nadali The success of the festival was more than certain being organized by such active members of this club. Visiting each pavilion and tasting the traditional delicacies of each place is, by no doubt, a form of happiness. Good food is also happiness (Yes, we ate a lot and we returned heavier)!

Nicholas Tselemnedes Gastronomic Festival

    And here’s what we tasted! In Kamares, if you want cooked food and delicious seafood, go to “Meropi”. If you want “gyros” or “souvlaki”, go straight to “Maria” at Avlemon. In case you wish for Italian flavours, we recommend the pizza house Da Claudio. You’ll eat well!

   In Apollonia you can choose “Dremon”, the Italian “Mamma Mia” and Art Restaurant Cayenne (a bit pricey but you will experience a cultural and delicious taste shock).

   In Artemonas, visit Mosaic and the Yellow Sweet Shop Bike.

    Finally, for something completely different try the Lebanese delicacies in Maiolica in Platis Gialos . Strong and spicy flavors in deliciously served dishes!

    And when you are done with food, wouldn’t be nice to go for a drink? Oh, yes! You’re gonna go! You have a lot of choices, especially in Apollonia, but for a special experience choose Rabaga. A great multi-purpose place that combines food, drink, shopping and fun.

  Before we let you go back to what you read, we suggest that you go to Castro. Great location with panoramic view. If you are an early bird, then this is your place to be! A perfect sunrise spot!

  P.S. 1: Hey!… We forgot to tell you about the church of Saint Symeon, at the top of the mountain, above Kamares! A 360 ° view! What’s more, at night, when it’s lit up, it looks like it’s flying!

  P.S. 2: Almonds and anthers cooked by Gregory in Artemonas! And the ceramics, a gift to mummy by Giannis Apostolides in Kamares

  P.S. 3: Don’t forget to bring all the above home as souvenirs. The memory of Sifnos will be with you forever !!

Pametaxidaki in Syros!

Pametaxidaki in Syros!

     The summer of 2015 will be recalled by everyone as a latecomer. While waiting for the hot days to come, the eurogroups, the referendum and the capital controls outran them. All these sudden developments forced us to change our plans. The departure for Syros was postponed until after the referendum. We set off on 6th July, a little cheerless at first, but our mood quickly reversed as the time of arrival on the island was near.
Many things connect us to Syros and turn us back in 1991, when we first stepped foot on the island as newly appointed state teachers. We spent eight years of our lives in that place, which offered us great moments and strong relationships with people we met there. It’s them we are going to visit now!

        As the boat approaches the northern part of the island and changes direction to the south, we are trying to identify the Chalandriani area, where more than 600 graves with grave goods were found (prehistoric). Shortly afterwards the bell of St. Dimitri is heard tolling and at the same time the whistle of the boat. Immediately after that we could see the characteristic hills of Ermoupolis and Ano Syros, and the pier with the Port Authority. The journey lasted for three and a half hours on Blue Star Ferry 2. A fast and comfortable journey let aside the strong wind blowing that day. There was the same feeling on our arrival, although six years have passed since our last visit. Everything was so familiar, as if we hadn’t missed anything! Matina and Michalis were waiting for us and hosted us in their home, high on the hill of the Resurrection, overlooking the stunning harbor and Agios Nikolaos church. We had so many things to talk about!
The following days we stayed in Vaggelio and Christos, in Azolimnos, the first village after Ermoupolis, to the south of the island. We have shared many years of our common life on the island. And how wonderful those years were!
So what can one do and see on an island like Syros?
It’s a small island with a long history that goes back to the 3rd millennium BC and through successive historical periods reached the prosperity of the early 19th century, when the population was growing rapidly, along with the commercial activity of the port. The outbreak of the revolution of 1821 and the massive influx of refugees from Chios, Smyrna, Psara, etc. changed the island immensely! From the settlement of Ano Syros, the activity was transferred to the port, Hermoupolis which, very quickly, became the largest urban, industrial and commercial center of free Greece. Rich, unique architectural buildings, decorated with ceiling paintings, spiritual and cultural development and the operation of the shipyards have characterized Ermoupolis for many years, for almost the entire 20th century, before its decline. From 1990 and onwards, a new flourishing period for tourism development began for the island. The city was ready with dozens of mansions, squares and historic buildings of the public to receive, as a living museum, visitors who admire its unique beauty that does not remind in any way the Cyclades. Characteristic is the harmonious coexistence of Catholics and Orthodox inhabitants on the island, since here is the most famous center of the Catholic Church in the country. (For the significant and very interesting history of the island, and particularly of Hermoupolis, one can search for information on the internet or be informed by a guidebook before his visit, something that, in my opinion, is necessary in order to see this place as it deserves to be seen!)
Let’s start with a city tour. The walks on the cobblestone streets of Syros are a “must”. Going up the street of St. Nicholas, from Miaoulis Square, in front of OTE, will offer you the opportunity to visit the old image of Syros. A few meters further on, we come to the famous theater “Apollo”. It was built in just two years, (1862 to 1864) on standards and influences from La Scala of Milan (among others), to meet the housing needs of a permanent theater for the city that then had an explosive spiritual movement and radiation. It enjoyed years of golden prosperity during the years of growth, hosting renowned artists and great theater groups. In 2000, the rehabilitation was completed after years of neglect. The old ceiling paintings and the famous wooden galleries that were not saved were replaced, restoring the old glamour of the theater. You can browse the floors and perhaps take a tour by volunteer high school students who have taken the role of tourist guides for the summer! We were delighted by that!!
Continuing the uphill road with the most typical mansions, architectural masterpieces, some restored and others abandoned, testifying the life during the glorious times of the island, we meet Velissaropoulos’ mansion on our right, now the Labour Centre of Cyclades. At the entrance, you can see the initial letters (G.D.V.) and you can visit it to admire its walls, decorated with frescoes and its impressive painted ceilings.
A few meters further up, a road to the right of the triangular garden with the monument, “Apollo” road, will lead you in a residential area with old family mansions, of renowned ship owners and wealthy merchants. Today they have turned them to luxury lodges and hotels. The road leads to the small square with the Cyclades Prefecture being the dominant building. There is a great story to be told for each one of them, if you want to look it up.
  Just above the triangular garden lays the church of St. Nicholas (built in 1870). A symbol for the people of Ermoupolis, with its blue dome standing out, visible from afar, the church is impressive both inside and out, day or beautifully lit at night. Lined with historic pictures, priceless offerings and precious sacred vessels, with incredible marble iconostasis, an artwork of C. Vitali,  is a sight you should definitely visit! What’s more, there is an organ that works and accompanies the services, an influence of the Catholic churches.
From Agios Nikolaos and as far as “Doxa”, walk uphill overlooking the sea, through the “Vaporia” district, which today retains its glamour, with its neoclassical mansions, bringing into life the aristocratic atmosphere of the era of prosperity. Especially those who face the beautiful bay (Asteria), formerly a fishing anchorage with makeshift shelters carved in the rocks. Today it’s one of the city’s “beaches”. Do not imagine sand, pebbles and such things. Two concrete piers with stairs, and a “beach bar” equipped with sun beds fill in the scenery. More like a Pool Bar! Only that the pool is natural! The sea itself!!! If you are an “early bird”, there is nothing more enjoyable than a morning coffee in “Asteria.” Just after the church of St. Nicholas, on the right, there is a road that goes down to the bay, where many locals take a swim, overlooking the beautiful neoclassical mansions, most of which have now been restored, changing owners or use. There we had our coffee one morning, away from the noise of every human activity, listening only to the sound of waves and a few whispers of bathers that reached our table, along with relaxing music in the cafe “Stars.” Of course, there is nothing keeping you from taking a swim in the crystal clear water in front of you! If you want to view the bay from above, choose one of the tables of All day Cafe-Restaurant «… sta vaporia…” (22810 76 486). You may have noticed it on your way down the stairs!
   Getting on with our stroll in “Vaporia”, on the road that leads from Agios Nikolaos to “Doxa”, the same impressive, neoclassical mansions are located on parallel and perpendicular streets of the district. Huge buildings, with high-ceilinged rooms, impressive balconies with ornate corbels and fantastic sea view, luxury entrances with columns and knockers on the big wooden doors, a landscape of unique beauty with lush bougainvillea gushing from the walls that surround the gardens. It goes likes this as far as a mansion at the left right on the road turning, with characteristic palm trees in its  garden.
For anyone who wants to continue further, the road leads to “Ai Dimitris” church and the desalination plant, through a dry and windswept mountain scenery. The view from there is unique! Tinos, Mykonos right in front of you. (If you plan to go and combine it with a walk in Vaporia, leave your car in the first parking of “Doxa”, go down to your strolling in Vaporia and return again to take it and continue). Another option is to turn left (by your car) towards” Dili” and “Vrontado” districts. You can follow this “horseshoe” type road, that leads to the other side of Syros (south) and separates Hermoupolis from Ano Syros. ‘A totally different world lays here! Old refugee- neibourhoods (although very few of the original houses have survived today), on the side of the city center with another church on the hilltop, the “Resurrection of Christ” (1909). Make a stop here. The panoramic view is of course unique!
In the historic center of Hermoupolis you should spend one more, maybe two days, or even better a morning and an evening so that you can see the city at all hours. If you are there during morning hours, drink your coffee in “Cafe Greek ‘, at the square, on the corner of Chios Street, (the street where all the grocery stores / fish shops and shops with traditional products are gathered). Excellent coffee, in the cool breeze under the arches, accompanied by fresh “louloumi” (Turkish delights) we bought from “Korres”, right opposite us (if you intent to buy loukoumia, and I’m sure you will because they are a famous local product, buy them from “Korres” in the square. They are unmatched! And of course you will also get nougats (halvadopites) made from Syros’ thyme honey and freshly baked almonds.)
And what a view! The Town Hall in Miaouli Square. The heart of Ermoupolis beats here. Most visitors and residents pass by the square many times daily. The square is one of the largest in Greece .The statue of Miaoulis (a hero of the 1821 revolution against the Turks) with the cannons on his feet and next to it the marble bandstand, where bands used to play and enjoy the locals, adorn the eastern part of the square that is visible from the port via El. Venizelos road. One side is full of tables where the cafes serve refreshments and ouzo under the arches of the old buildings while on the other side stands the Town Hall. Huge in size, with a marble staircase in the center, it is the work of the great architect E. Ziller (1898). Enter and admire the historic building with its impressive stairs, patios and ceiling paintings and tour the halls that host historical relics.p>

In the same building, follow the stairs leading to the City Clock, and there is the Archaeological Museum of Syros. Relatively small, it hosts representative samples of Cycladic vessels, figurines and other findings from Chalandriani, but other islands as well. On the other side of the building, with an entrance from the side of OTE, is the Cultural Center of Syros which hosts the Museum of Cycladic Art Replicas, following the example of Athens Goulandris Museum.
While visiting the square, you can also take a walk through the market streets. All the shops are in the narrow alleys between the square and the coastal street and especially on Protopapadaki, St. Proiou and Thimaton Sperchiou streets. You’ll find handmade jewelry and decorative objects and local products. A really nice shop for traditional foods “Prekas” (22810 87556), at 4 Chios str.. Buy capers, “San Michalis” cheese, olives, sesame bars and anything else you find interesting!
If you find yourself there in the evening, the coastal street with numerous cafes, taverns and bars overlooking the harbor and the impressive building of the Customs with the transit warehouses, would be the best choice. We tried the “Plaza” (serves snacks / sweets-tel. 85 337 22810), the “Barola” and “Severo” cafe/bars. All the night life is concentrated there, particularly in the evening. However, in the mornings as well, although it’s bathed by the sun, it is equally beautiful. Walk along the sea wall, overlooking Tinos, Mykonos, “Gaidouronisi” with lighthouse and Vaporia, in the area of “Nisaki” , along the buildings of the Yacht Club and the School of Skippers.
Setting off from Hotel “Hermes” and taking coherently the streets “Th. Sperchion”,  “Protopapadaki str.” And “St. Proiou” following a long straight road you can reach Neoreio and “Heroon” and the road leading out of town, to Manna and Azolimnos. At some point on St. Proiou str. you will encounter the church of “Assumption of Mary”. The “jewel” of the church is the icon of “Assumption”, an invaluable work of El Greco.
All these sights went back in the morning. We took photos of every corner that reminded us of the past and enjoyed beers on the beach with our old, good friends, tsipouro  in the taverns in the narrow streets behind “Protopapadaki” str. (‘in Ithaca of Ai’), and a drink at the “Palace” owned by George Zormbanos in memory of the past !
While neoclassical Ermoupolis inspired writers and poets you are transferred yo  a very different scene during your visit to Ano Syros which in turn inspired songwriters with its beauty. It is the first settlement created in the island centuries ago and the historic capital of the island.
The shape and position your city was dictated by the phenomenon of piracy that for centuries plagued the Aegean islands. Tight construction of whitewashed houses with colored doors and windows, arcades and narrow cobbled streets, facilitated the communication of residents without having to go out of their homes. Everywhere bougainvillea on the whitewashed walls, terraces of geraniums and countless steps leading to innumerable levels. And every now and then, an opening to reveal the blue of the Aegean. Two – three cafes and restaurants, with that of “Lili” standing out for us. We have spent many evenings in the “cellars” with the wine barrels in the winter, under the large portrait of Markos Vamvakaris (a song writer and bouzouki/baglama player), next to the old juke box! And in the summer, out on the terrace of the new shop, overlooking Ermoupoli.
You can enter the heart of the settlement through the Portara, which once used to close for safety, The settlement is inaccessible to cars. The road will lead you in front of the “Lilis” tavern, past the museum of M. Vamvakari where his personal belongings, photographs and manuscripts of the well-known rebetis are exhibited, and a little further to a small square,( looks more like a terrace), with a great view (there is a tavern). At the top of the hill stands the Cathedral and center of the Catholic diocese “St. George”. The church has gone through numerous vicissitudes during the centuries and has recently been restored. Catholic bishops who served the church are all listed, by their names on a marble slab in the arcade outside the temple.
You can reach more easily the church from the upper entrance of the settlement (entrance “Pano Terma”), near the windmill, the last windmill that has survived today, renovated and offered for rent. In both entrances there is limited space for parking.
TIP: For your stroll in Ano Syros, it is preferable to select evening hours, if the weather is too hot. However, in the morning it’s quite different and very beautiful! At 10:00 we were ready for coffee! Unfortunately, we did not find anything open at that time!
The road continues above “Pano Terma”, leading to the northern part of the island. For those who like to see the northern part will do so through narrow streets and chapels, huge capers, small settlements Foinikia the Mytakas the Kyperoussa the Lygeros the Plati Vouni. The springs of Syringas, giving tasty water sold in tanks, San Michalis who gave its name to the delicious cheese of Syros, and the archaeological site of Chalandriani …. Here is where the paths start that lead to the north beaches of the island (Letters, Lia, Eagle)  isolated and not accessible by car. Alternatively and more easily you can visit them by boat from Kini. A unique experience!
And when it comes to swimming, where would you swim? While choosing a beach can take you around the island! The first beach, after Ermoupolis to the south, is  Azolimnos, 4 km from Ermoupolis. Organized, with free sunbeds and many taverns if you want to combine dinner. The Beach Bar “Iguana” offers sun loungers free of charge (you only pay what you order). It serves waffles, pancakes, etc. For dinner “Philomela” would be a good choice. Then you meet the beach of Vari. It is also organized, with two restaurants / cafes on the beach, picked by young people. Crowded, therefore and more noisy (music, rackets, etc.). Rarely wavy.
On the next turn, “Achladi” beach, a little beach with a taverna and at 3 kilometers further “Megas Gialos” beach. On the road, sandy endowed with natural shade. After 17.30 it is half shaded. The other half is occupied by sunbeds. There are taverns, a mini market and a kiosk. Park on the road sides. A family beach with calm, shallow waters. Do not choose to swim here if a strong south wind is blowing. And we continue at 3 km., reaching the beautiful village of “Possidonia” (Della Grazia) with the impressive villas. You will notice them on your way to “Agathopes” beach surrounded by gardens with tall pines and palm trees. On the sharp downhill road turn left when you see the sea. Watch out for signs. The road leads to a beautiful beach with fine sand, organized (we were requested extra charge for umbrellas). There are few trees that shade some places. The old cafe / restaurant on the edge of the beach was under reconstruction. Passing the beach by car, following the road up the hill you will reach the quiet beach of “Komito”. This year there is a small, but very helpful beach bar, with loungers and umbrellas. Both beaches are open to the southwest.
Back at the intersection of “Posidonia”, if we turn left, after two/ three turns, you see from above the beach of “Phoenix”. It’s close to the road with trees shading it. Beautiful sea but you have to step on an extended stone slab to get in. Continuing on the right, at the end of the beach, the road leads north to Galissas. We reach the long sandy beach, well organized today, with the hotel complex of Dolphin Bay at the slope and the hill with the chapel “Agia Pakou” on the top. The sea is very shallow, for several meters from the coast and there are facilities for beach volley, beach soccer, water sports (A sports- tel. 6936342004). Several options for coffee and eating here. The cafe / bar «Argo” with its vivid colors on the walls and the nice music was our frequent choice back then. On this own part of the beach lays the only camping on the island.
What has changed a great deal since the last time we visited Syros is  beautiful Kini, a village at the west part of the island. You can visit Kini if you take the street that goes past the hospital. Facing west, it offers a fantastic sunset! Once isolated, Kini is now visited by a lot of people, since it has improved the services to the visitors, offering an organized beach with sunbeds, free of charge, beach volley, locer cabins and many options for quality food / coffee / drinks. A tavern that stands out is “Allou gialou” (22810 71196/6938565865) and “… two cicadas on the tamarisks” (71 151 22810)Back in the days we were living on the island, we spent many Sunday afternoons with our friends at ‘Zalonis’.
For those who prefer a more tranquil beach, although the road that was built allows now more people to visit it than in the past, look for the way from Kini to “Dolphin”. You will be rewarded for your trouble. There is a tavern there, as well.
If you are in the mood, you can explore some beaches that are only accessible by boat. Remote beaches to the north / northwest of the island, like “Lia”,”Barbararoussa” and “Grammata” (= letters) that was named after the inscriptions carved on the rocks by seafarers hands, found there to protect themselves from rough seas or washed up shipwrecked on the small bay. It would be a unique experience !  The boats usually depart around 12:00 and return five hours later. You can inquire about here: Perla-I, Daily cruises (6947308580)
Many things bind us to Syros. And no matter how many years will pass, we always long for travelling there again. In fact, it’s not only the place. More than anything it’s the people we met there, tied with them for life.
SUGGEST IONS… ..for those who have the time or inclination for further exploration
• In the harbor, in front of the building of the Cyclades Region, there is an tourist information stand. You can obtain brochures with information and the association of tourist accommodation guide book that is distributed for free.
• Visit the “Industrial Museum of Syros”
• Drive to the inland villages of Syros. “Chroussa” and “Piskopeio” villages with the beautiful summer houses, built in huge estates. Once glamorous resorts in the mid and late last century, now crumbling to reveal the size of their wealth.
• There are a bunch of other coves with small beaches, almost prive,  you can look for them if you want (“Santirinioi”,” Fabrica”,” Ambela”, “Kokkina”,”Armeos” ….)
• Look for the program of events “Syros Culture”. It is rich and variable and you will surely find something that interests you.

Lesvos of novelists and poets

Lesvos of novelists and poets

The largest island in the eastern Aegean Sea in 7 days.

On July 29, we started our journey to Lesvos. We arrived in Mytilene, on Tuesday, around lunchtime, on the flight of 15.00, by Aegean from Thessaloniki. The trip lasted for just 35 minutes, and in 50 minutes time in total (counting in the boarding-landing) we were ready to pick up the cars that we had already booked and set off for the hotel. Having already arranged to stay in “Heliotrope Hotel”, it was very easy to reach the hotel’s reception in 5’ minutes time. So in less than an hour and a half from the moment of departure, we were already at the hotel, ready to enjoy our stay.
That same evening, and after a 20 minute’s beautiful drive south ways of the airport, we arrived at the small, picturesque bay of St. Hermogenes. The beach of Ag. Hermogenes, in a picturesque bay at the mouth of the Gulf of Gera, with the chapel of St. Hermogenes in a prominent spot, is small but fascinating, as the pines literally reach the coast. The only tavern, a little higher from the beach, under the trees, was perfect for a cold beer and the first dishes of local cuisine ready to be tested.


We start our trip from the eastern part of the town, named “Epano Skala”. Heading to the north, at a distance of 6 km far from Mytilene, we come up to the junction to “Moria” (a Roman aqueduct) and right after that “Afalonas” to the left and, a kilometer further along, to the right “Pamfila” and it’s beach “Skala”.

The first village one meets when entering the Municipality of “Thermi” as one comes from Mytilene, are “Pirgi”. A key feature of the region, the towers that still impress with their architectural grace. These were fortified country houses, rural estates where the affluent residents of Mytilene used to spend their holidays. Amid towers and trees “Panagia Trouloti” emerges,  a great Byzantine church which, according to tradition, was built in 803, by Empress Irene the Athenian. The seat of the municipality is “Thermi”, which is in residential complex with the “Towers of Thermi” and welcomes a large number of visitors every year, due to its beaches but especially for the “St Raphael’s Monastery” that stands on the hill of “Karyes”.

Turning left, over the beach and the town on the hill “Karyes”, stands the monastery of Saint Raphael, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world. In the two-storey church, with the impressive walls paintings, the relics of the saint martyrs Raphael, Nicholas and Irene are kept, found in a miraculous way after persistent believers dreams. In the monastery, there is a hostel to host pilgrims who choose to stay overnight.

After the pilgrimage, we go down the road to “Thermi” and then turn left to “Thermi Beach” and “Mistegna”. The area of “Thermi Beach” gathers many people every summer, visiting the swimming area “Canoni”, which is a few meters down the main road and has every kind of restaurant shops and entertainment choices, the picturesque harbor and traditional cafés  or ”ouzeri” (shops that serve the local Greek product along with traditional dishes to accompany it called “mezedes”). Additionally, one can try the bathing facilities with hot thermal waters, reaching a temperature of 46.9 degrees Celsius. In the area lies the now deserted hotel “Sarlitza Pallas”.
Sarlitza Pallas

We follow the coastal road and, after passing “Thermi”, the main road will lead us consecutively to “Mistegna” and “Scala Mystegnon”, “Nees Kydonies” and “ Scala Neon Kydonion” with their picturesque harbor.( * The word “Skala” is  a common name used for a quarter of a village that is built by the sea, although its main part lays further away, usually on a hill above). They both have picturesque “Skales”, with many taverns and rooms to let. There you can taste special dishes like grilled octopus, which is the most delicious across the island. Shortly after “Skala Neon Kydonion” you reach “Xambelia beach” with the beach bar in the center of the beach. Free sun beds are offered to the visitors. The beach is sandy but when entering the sea you have to step on a  pebble bed but after that sand covers the seabed. A little to the north there is a small creek, “Petalidi” (pebble beach-quite crowded on that day), where we arrived through a dangerous route as the narrow road that leads from “Skala Thermis” to Petalidi is open to the sea without any guardrails. Further to the north we meet the beach “Pedi”, a beautiful beach with clear waters.

The road continues parallel to the beach, while a small road to the east leads consecutively, first on the beach “Aspropotamos” and then to the preserved settlement of “Tsoukalades” in St. Stephanos, while opposite there are the small fishing isles “Tokmakia”. Moving on, at a distance of 6.5 km,  we reach our next destination, the town “Mantamados” with strong elements of tradition and religious sentiment (within 38 km north of Mytilene) T

Monastery Taxiarxis, Mantamados

he village is widely known for the Archangel monastery and the great and important tradition in the art of pottery, as well as for its dairy products. The monastery stands at the end of the village. It is stone built, beautifully preserved and hosts dozens of visitors daily. It is the pilgrimage of Archangel, the monastery of the patron of the island, the Archangel Michael with the legendary, embossed icon. The story goes like that: in the 11th century, Saracen pirates, led by Sirchan invaded the old monastery of the Archangels and slaughtered all the monks except one. Novice monk Gabriel, the relics of who are now kept in the monastery, was in the sanctuary and climbed on the roof of the temple. The pirates followed him. It was then that a loud roar was heard and the roof turned miraculously into a stormy sea. Over the foaming waves a huge Soldier holding a firing sword, rushed against them. They fled in panic and later were found dead, bludgeoned by the Archangel. The monk, overwhelmed by the miracle and the appearance of the Archangel, as soon as he pulled himself together, wished to paint his face. Immediately, as if enlightened by the Archangel, took a sponge, which he used to reverently gather the blood of the monks in a bowl, toss with white soil and began to mold his face, as he had seen it on the roof of the temple. Indeed, after completing his face and because he run out of clay, he made the rest of the body in a child’s proportions, very small, something that can be seen only if you opened the canopy.

Tour guides say that the miracles performed by his grace are shocking. He notified and protected the area from the Saracens next raid, while the building of the present church in 1879, started and ended with a wonder. First, he was covering  the foundation with dirt and carrying the tools of masons to the spot where the old church was, showing the place where he wanted to rebuild the new temple, and in the end he gave the money needed for completion. Every now and then, his eyes are filled with tears or his face sweats and Christians wipe it with cotton. He used to appear regularly during the Turkish occupation and the Turks respected him for his many wonders. He was wearing iron shoes and running everywhere to protect Christians. It is no coincidence that Mytilini was  liberated from the Turks on November 8, 1912, the day of his feast.

Outside the monastery, in the courtyard of a church, next to the cemetery, the holy water of the Archangel flows for the pilgrims to drink and take with them. Next to the monastery there is a cafeteria with tables in the shade of trees and serving their special donuts with local honey. You should definitely try them!

In “Mantamados” there is also a restored mill – museum, where visitors can obtain information on how was the pressing of the olives done, with old presses and see pieces of factory equipment manufactured in Smyrna, early last century. In the area of ​​the mill – museum there is an exhibition hosted every summer, from late July to late August. The “Pallesviaki Ceramics Exhibition”, which attracts thousands of visitors and in which, all ceramists of Lesvos exhibit their new creations. In the courtyard of the mill – museum there is an open-air amphitheater, where cultural events are hosted. We unfortunately we found it closed.

Mytilene from Kagiani

Before leaving the settlement, it’s worth trying the dairy products of “ Mantamados” mainly the yogurt, made the original way, in traditional clay pots called “gragoudes”. And of course, as we were told “Do not leave without trying their donuts”. We tried them at “Prinari”, next to the church, and we can certify that they were perfect.

On our way back, we stopped for a swim in the beach ‘Xambelia ” that we had met earlier on our way to “Mantamados”.

In the evening we looked for a tavern. We were starving and craving to taste the local speciatities!  Our information led us to tavern “Antonis”  that was relatively close to the area were the hotel was (Varia). We ascended the road to “Kayani” region (from the Turkish Cayo = rock) (or “Archangels”) from where the view to the harbor and throughout the city of Mytilene was amazing. The area is dominated by the impressive church of the Archangel who imitates the architectural style of “Agios Therapondas” in Mytilene, a masterpiece of architecture. Byzantine style with a woodcut iconostasis and a large full-length image of the Archangel made of wax and gum. Unfortunatelly, there was no vacancy in the tavern!!!! We should have booked first, they told us. It seems that the restaurant is famous for its food and the view (old shop nevertheless; They really need to renovate. On the other hand, maybe they don’t, since other things  count more in a tavern).

In search of other tavernas, we took our second option, the “Rebetika” (2251040740), in “Epano Skala”. That’s the name for the eastern port of the city where there are plenty of taverns-ouzeri, all in a row by the sea. There we ate beans, sardines and anchovies, flowers and “stuffed puppies” (a fish dish), triangles (fish as well) and the tasty oil-cheese “saganaki” (baked cheese) . All very tasty!

A long but beautiful day ended, with a visit to the patisserie “Gardenia” in the center of the port street of Mytilene. It was worth it!!!
Olive -Museum of "Archipelagos Company"


Starting from Mytilene, we explored the southern “leg” between the two bays of the island of “Gera” and “Kalloni”. (Departure from the hotel at 12.00). We followed the main road to “Kalloni” and at the intersection we headed to “Plomari”. We passed close to the wetland of the River “Evergetoulas”. Although it was midsummer, some birds and enough flamingos could be spotted in the background.

We continued along the coast, and near “Pigadakia” we turned right (west) on the road that led inwards, leaving the sea behind us. The road,  offering a panoramic view of the Gulf, led us to “Papados”, a village where we stopped to visit the wonderful Olive -Museum of “Archipelagos Company”, formerly owned by the grandfather of Odysseus Elytis. A worthy visit especially for the kids,  that learned about the olive oil extraction process at that times and also got some information about Elytis in a tribute room there was there.

Charming streets,  paved with granite (at least in the area around the mill) and traditional houses and restored mansions create an exceptional image.

Driving through the village and asking for the correct direction we should go to reach our next destination, we were led through the shaded by trees streets  to the picturesque “Plomari”. Or rather its “Scala” which was just before the village. “Plomari” is famous for its beautiful and clean beaches. The most popular and largest beach is the sandy “Agios Isidoros”, located 2 km before the center of “Plomari”. Although we were informed otherwise, it was not well organized. There were pebbles at the entrance to the sea. We swam with masks watching the many fish that were gathering  over the rocks at the right side of the beach.

A walk at the center and the harbor of “Plomari” completed our visit to the region. What’s worth visiting is the folklore museum, the  cultural center, housed in a renovated soap factory and hosts a display on how soap was produced, and of course the “Ouzo Museum of distillery “Varvagiannis” at the entrance of the village on the left of the road. Of course the whole area around the winery smells ouzo !!! In the taverns of the harbor you can enjoy authentic flavors of the island, together with some of the famous local ouzo labels (Varvagiannis, PITSILADI, etc.). For our dinner we were told about the tavern “Ahivada” without eventually trying it.

We did not have the time but, they say that right next to “Melinda” (the nice beach west of “Plomari” with the characteristic 10 meters high rock above the beach), following a path, you can visit “Panagia” a chapel hidden in the slot of a rock, through which hot waters gush. For those who want to enjoy a quiet swim, the pebbled beach “Drota” in  “Akrasi” would be an ideal destination. Another option is “Ammoudeli” beach, located 300 meters from the central square of Plomari”, westwards on the road to Melinda. On the beach there are two restaurants and a mini market. Famous and awarded with a blue flag is the long beach in “Tarti” east of “Plomari”.

On the way back, we chose to follow the coastal road that runs from” Perama” and  “Evriaki”, around the Gulf of Gera. These areas are of touristic growth and as we noted they are picked by many visitors for their sandy, organized beaches. In the old, diserted, industrial buildings in “Perama”, at the port of “Gera” one can discern signs of their acne in the past: old tanneries, soap factories and mills in the former large industrial center. In “Perama” there is a ferry that connects it to the opposite side of the gulf.

In the afternoon, we strolled around the narrow alleys in Mytilini. Starting from “Varia” and heading towards the city center we admired the imposing mansions with their large gardens. Incredibly beautiful buildings, one next to another, not only in this region but also throughout the whole city  add to the typical architecture of the town. Towers, houses with oriental elements (sachnisi), rich houses of the 19th century, with  neoclassical and baroque elements and buildings of later times,  built by wealthy merchants and industrialists, influenced by European architectural patterns with bold ornamentation.
the church of “St. Therapon”
The beautiful street of “Ermou”, gathered the greatest bulk of shops of all kinds with the church of “St. Therapon” dominates each photo of the port of Mytilene. The walk to the waterfront, from the building of the Prefecture up to the Customs Office and the Statue of Liberty on the other end, gives us the opportunity to admire beautiful old and restored buildings. At that point, it’s  worth going up the road, next to the castle, in the “Epano Skala” area,  where there are magnificent buildings such as the Ministry of the Aegean and the Court House (old Ottoman high school). To the east of the harbor stands the famous castle of Mytilene and below the south side, after the grove, the beach “Tsamakia”. The city Castle impresses with its medieval color. It was built during Justinian times while changes were made during the Turkish occupation. Many underground tunnels and tank capacity of 4,000 square meters have survived the years. Part of it is used as a venue for cultural events during the summer months. Among the highlights is the Ancient Theatre in the wooded hill of “Agia Kyriaki”, whose construction dates back to the late Roman period. It is regarded as one of the biggest theaters of antiquity, with an average capacity of 15,000 people and excellent acoustics.

In the same area there are the old and new archaeological museums and the Traditional Lesbian House. But museums are best to be visited in the morning.

Our evening walk led us to “Martano” pizza and pasta restaurant. We fully recommend Martano!


The visit to the “Museum of Theophilos” (tel. 22510 41644/28501 -open 10.00 am-16.00pm, except Mondays) was the one that started our day because it was close to our hotel. The same morning, we regretfully departed from the hotel for our next destination. Over the next four days we would stay in “Petra”, on the northwest part of the island so we that we can explore the rest of island driving shorter distances. We covered the 80 kilometers in an hour’s time.


The village of “Kalloni” was on our way. “Kalloni”, with salt lakes and the wetlands full of birds, despite the late summer time, was buzzing with dozens of cars in motion parked randomly here and there. We were really repelled by this fact. We drove as far as “Kalloni’s Skala”, but we decided not to stop there either.

«Theofilos Hotel», our hotel in “Petra”, disappointed us, unlike with the village “Petra” itself which is beautiful and we were able to enjoy it after our protests to the hotelier. The problem was that when we booked the rooms through an internet site we were shown very different pictures of them. But when we got there we were led to rooms with old furniture, ripped towels and problematic bathrooms!!!!!.

After the frustration and since we realized that we had no choice being cheated in a high season with no vacancies, we decided not to spoil our mood. We had a swim on the beach of Petra (organized, with free sun beds) and in the evening after a small stroll in the narrow streets with the traditional shops we sat at the first restaurant we came by. It was a Grill house, “To steki”. Adequate food, without anything special though. For those who like cooked food, around the corner, on the first floor above the cafeteria there is a restaurant run by the women’s association, with homemade dishes that say they are very tasty, cooked with local products (tel. 2253041238-41309).Terrapins on the way to Sigri


On Saturday night, a heavy storm broke out. In the morning, everything was wet and it was a little cloudy. It was the perfect chance to visit “Sigri”  with the petrified forest. The western part of the island is very distinctive and totally different. Volcanic, barren, with wild beauty.  Driving past “Skoutaros” and “Skalochori”, we continued towards “Vatousa” on a road meandering like a snake. The tourist guide mentioned that is one of the most beautiful mountain villages, with large mansions and remarkable public buildings, that declared the village a traditional settlement. We decided to make a stop on our way back but unfortunately we couldn’t make it.

We continued along the road westwards, passing past “Antissa” and turning right at the junction to the High Monastery and “Sigri”. The road, as in many other cases, was not  well-marked and this made it difficult enough to find our way, having to stop and ask for directions  whenever that was possible. So, since here in the wilderness we rarely met someone, we were mostly guessing the direction with the help from the map.

Finally, in the southwest of the monastery, 9 km far from “Sigri”, we arrived at the 20 million-years -old unique Petrified Forest (entrance fee: 2 euros). On a 286-acre landscaped park, in the area “ Bali Alonia”, we were informed about the way a volcanic eruption was the cause that an entire prehistoric forest was buried and petrified,  maintaining the structure of the plant tissues in a  perfect condition. Very impressive! Stunning in fact!  The heat of the sun, however, was getting annoying. It was already noon when we started wandering in the forest (no real trees there, by the way). The landscape was bleak and barren. Some of our friends, after walking the main path, chose to cool off in the small cafeteria. Don’t miss the experience, no matter how tiring it may seem!

Petrified Forest

We left in search of the Museum of Natural History, which eventually was in “Sigri”. We admit that we did not expect to find a museum of these standards in a place like this!. The awesome presentation of the displays such as :rocks, fossils of all kinds, plants and animals, presentation of plant evolution and activity of volcanoes, interactive boards and simulators of earthquakes impressed us. There, we experienced the sense of shaking to the power of the six major earthquakes on the planet. We left excited.

As for “Sigri”, it is picturesque, with its castle (not open) and the beautiful sandy beach next to the road. Taverns and cafes offer what one needs.

Following once more the main road, in the opposite direction, we arrived at the junction of the monastery and this time headed south to “Eressos”. A winding road again. There is a shortcut though from the south (from “Sigri” straight to “Eressos”), 9 km long (dirt road). We were advised not to take it unless we were driving a 4X4 car!

Birthplace of Sappho and Theophrastus, “Eressos” and “Skala Eressou” 3 km to the south , is known for its beach. Black sand, a wide and very long beach. At the entrance to the common in the island pebble beach and the water was cooler than in the other beaches. The beach itself was organized but we were surprised that we had to pay for the umbrellas and sun loungers (6 euro per umbrella including two sun beds).  The sea was nice indeed.  On our walk along the beach, we saw several beach bars and many waterturtles in the water stream that crosses the beach at some point. To the east, many taverns with their tables on wooden platforms right on the beach sand were inviting at that time. Trusting a friend’s tip, we chose to eat at “Soulatso». We tried grilled octopus, mussels and tasty meat dishes and delicacies of the region. We stayed until late in the evening there, by the sea. We didn’t go back until eleven o’clock. It was an hour’s drive to reach “Petra”. In the darkness, as were driving down the hill, the castle of “Molivos” and the rock with the church of “Virgin Mary” in “Petra” were shining like golden crowns on the hills.


It was a morning to relax a little, after yesterday’s long day. But you have to get tired, to see things! Enjoying our coffee and some morning delicacies at the cafe ‘Briki’, the first on the harbor of Molyvos, was really what we all needed before the walk to the castle of Molyvos. The castle is offering the visitor a fantastic view of the city below, Petra and the Asia Minor coast (within walking distance to the north). Quite enjoyable was the swim in the sea in “Petra beach”, since in “Eftalou” (we had planned to visit it today) it was very  windy since the wind was blowing from the north. “Yako Bar” offered us free sun loungers on our order.

Today, we decided not to use cars. Instead, we took the chance to wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of Petra  (an important architectural monument is the mansion “Vareltzidena”, tel. 22530 41510) and climb the 114 steps to the monastery of “Panagia Glikofilousa”. After that, we headed to the coastal square, where they had organized an evening with traditional dances. There were many people everywhere so all the taverns were crowded. We had to find somewhere to have dinner. Our pick was an unlucky one, but we had a nice ice cream to our consolation!

Late at night, we decided to have a taste of the nightlife of Petra. The previous nights we were looking at the strong lights of the Night Club “OXY” at the tip of the peninsula that hides “Molyvos” from “Petra”. The decoration resembles the bow of a ship and gathers all the young population in the area who want to entertain with loud beat music. The view was just wonderful and the evening we spent very enjoyable.

7th DAY – MOLYVOS- ANAXOSPetra's traditional market

The plans today included visiting the north part of Lesvos (“Skala Sykaminias” etc.) but since we had not had enough of “Molyvos”, we combined our visit there to swimming in the nearby beach of “Anaxos”. We skipped the hotel breakfast and replaced it with one in  “Bazzar” in Molyvos (just before the left turn that leads to the harbor). We were attracted by the beautiful, shady terrace. A beautiful spot, indeed, but unfortunately we can’t say the same for the food and the service. The sandwiches were good, though.

Our walk through the winding, cobbled streets, among the magnificent stone mansions, under the foliage – shaded pergolas (called “Salkimia”) was a unique feeling. Dozens of little shops sell what usually might interest the visitors. We bought ceramics from the “Water and Soil”, coarse salt, and local oregano (the truth is that it was kindly offered to us by a shopkeeper who did not sell Lesbian oregano but gave us some of his own). The existence of a Municipal Art Gallery, a Library and an annex of the School of Fine Arts, testifies the important cultural life of the region. We were impressed by the well organized cultural events. Having planned a bunch of events, and even art workshops for children…

We visited the castle but we found it closed. It was a Monday! The truth is that we thought it’s summer and it should have been open. (tel. 71 803 22530). We walked around its outer wall perimeter, admiring the view from “Eftalou”, as far as “Sykaminia” and the coasts of Asia Minor across the channel.

We came backwards for a swim in Anaxos. A perfect beach which was the best of those we visited. Sandy and organized along its length, shaded by trees besides the umbrellas of the beach bars. We arrived at “Jalouse” where we enjoyed the sea and the shade until the afternoon, when we felt really hungry.

Molyvo's Castle Mytilene by night

“Paradosiako”, is a traditional tavern (on the way to Anaxos- tel. 2253041058) and the place we wanted to eat at. It was proposed to us by a friend. After the ride we had on the train (Village Train tel. 22530 72 211) in the three villages, we set off from Petra, it took us to Anaxos- Petra- Molyvos- 1 hour. We were not lucky with the tavern. It was full and we ate at the “Reef”, a tavern on the beach of Petra by the sea. Very tasty and large food portions. Excellent service as well!

That was our last night! We got ready for departure ,  so that in the morning we would have time to have one last ride in Mytilene for the necessary shopping (oil cheese, sardines) and a coffee in the harbor before we go to the airport and deliver the cars (Lesvoscarrental, tel. 2251027825).

Sunset at Petra
lesvos map big


The 7 days- holiday in Lesvos filled us with unique images never experienced before in another island. We will especially remember the diversity of the natural environment. Verdant mountains (olives, pines, sycamores and oaks), streams, numerous springs, volcanic rocks, hot springs everywhere, dozens of beaches, wetlands and rare variety of architectural forms that one meets here,  compose an image that will remain unforgettable. The days were few to discover it more extensively as we could. I think that not even a fortnight is enough. We didn’t visit “Sykaminia” in the north, “Vatera” and “Polichnitos” in the south but also the beautiful, as they say, “Agiasos”  in the central highlands of the island.


Every summer, the Municipality of Mytilene organizes a series of cultural events entitled “Lesbian Summer”. Important artists participate and it’s nice to watch it.
During the first week of August, another feast takes place called: “Celebration of Ouzo” in which the local producers offer free ouzo!

Traditional houses and restored mansions in Mytilene