The Greek islands have been a popular destination for a long time. But if you’re like me, then you are turned off by the incredible throngs of people you cannot help but run into at a place like Crete. The island of Lesbos, on the other hand, is green, fun, accessible and, best of all, relatively quiet.
It is a little bit of a trek to get to Lesbos because the island is actually closer to Turkey than to Greece. But ferries do leave Piraeus (which is a major port in Greece and relatively easy to get to) every day, usually around dusk. You’ll arrive at the provincial capital of Mytilene at around 7 AM. The key is not to spend much time in Mytilene; there is much more to do in the island’s other major cities of Eressos, Kaloni and Molyvos.
Eressos is the birthplace of the Greek poet Sappho. Widely considered to be the originator of modern lyrical poetry, Sappho’s poems are full of powerful emotion towards other women. The association of this island with her poems is how we get the term “lesbian.” As such, the town is a popular destination for lesbian tourists. But it is also a spectacular family destination that boasts one of the best beaches in the world.
Kaloni is one of the two big bays on the island. If you like to fish, this town will feel like heaven. The locals claim that the region’s sardines are internationally renowned and treasured. Last, you have to drink some ouzo while you’re in Kaloni. It is the national liquor of Greece, and it is very similar to anise. I mention this because Kaloni serves the best ouzo in all of Greece.
You should end your day in Lesbos in the town of Molyvos. It is on a beautiful harbor, and has a hotel called the Sera Horse that is both affordable and convenient. That’s true of the island as a whole, really; everything is inexpensive but it does not detract from the experience. You save money by traveling to Lesbos, but you have just as much fun here as anywhere else. Traveling to Lesbos is a great experience and a great value; that’s why it is one of my favorite Greek islands.