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World icon.png 39°9.45′N, 26°18.16′E
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Yachts berthed alongside in Mytilene harbour - Click for larger view

Lesvos (Λέσβος) or Mytilene (Μυτιλήνη), with an area of 1,698 km2 and 140,000 inhabitants, is the largest of the East Aegean islands. Its tallest mountain is Lepetymnos, 968 m high. The capital of the island and its main harbor is the bustling town of Mytilene, dominated by a large Genoese castle.

The history of the island is long. In antiquity, Lesvos was not only famous as the island of the poetess Sappho but also of the lyric poet Alkeos, the wise man Pittakos, the musician Arion, and the philosopher Theophrastos. Today there are many archaeological sites on the island. During the Byzantine times, the island was invaded many times by the Arabs, the Venetians, and later by the Turks. In the late days of the Byzantine empire, Lesvos was given to the Genoese family of the Gateluzi who built many castles. In the late 15th century Lesvos fell to the Ottomans. There were several unsuccessful attempts to recapture the island, such as the one by Orsato Giustiniano in 1464, another by Pesaro in 1499, and another yet by the Knights of Rhodes (later of Malta) in 1501. Lesvos stayed under the Ottoman rule until 1912 when it became part of Greece. In modern times, there have been a large number of famous Greeks in Lesvos, such as the Nobel laureate "poet of the Aegean" Odysseas Elytes (whose family came from Lesbos), the novelist Stratis Myrivilis, and the primitive painter, Theophilos many of whose paintings one can enjoy at the Theophilos Museum near Mytilene.

Yachts cruising to the island can berth in the main harbour or the brand new marina at Mytilene on the SE coast; the harbour of Plomari or Plomarion on the S coast; the small harbour of Mithimna on the N coast or the port anchorage of Sigri on the W coast. There are in addition numerous sheltered anchorages around the island, depending on wind direction, as well as the large inland seas of Kolpos Kallonis and Kolpos Yeras to explore. Its location makes Lesvos a good staging post for a trip up the Dardanelles and into the Sea of Marmara or the Black Sea or a visit to the largely unfrequented islands of northern Greece, Limnos, Samothrace and Thasos and the Halkidiki Peninsula.


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Map of Lesvos - Click for larger view
1087 Kólpos Petalión to Edremit körfezi
1665 Nisos Lesvos and Çandarli Korfezi to Baba Burnu Ayvalik
G2 Aegean Sea (North)
54382 Nisos Lesvos and Western Coast of Turkey
33 Cape Sounion to Lesvos I.
332 Lesvos Island

Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


See Aegean Sea.

Approach and Navigation

Lesvos is a large island with several harbors and anchorages. The approaches to Lesvos are straightforward except when approaching Sigri where it is preferable to use the S channel, even when arriving from N, unless the conditions are very settled (there are minimum depths of 4.5 metres in the N channel).

Check-in facilities

The only port of entrance in Lesvos is Mytilene. If entering Greece it is advisable to contact the Coast Guard (Limenarchio) on VHF channel 12.

Berthing Options


Please see Lesvos Ports.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

The new, 220-berth Mytilene Marina has now opened at the S end of the large harbour of Mytilene. It offers a much quieter and cleaner alternative to the main harbour itself.


Please see Lesvos Anchorages.

Offshore Islands


Yacht Services and Repairs

Marine Stores

In Mytilene.

Yacht Services/Repairs/Yards

Only minor.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

in Plomari there is a gas station about 500 m E of the harbor (you have to carry)
In Mithimna directly from the pump
in Mytilene a tanker will bring fuel to the dock at Mytilene Marina
in Mytilene there is a faucet under the statue of Sappho. There is also water at all berths in Mytilene Marina
in Plomari there is a faucet at the entrance to the little park
In Mithimna there is an outlet for a hose by the quay
in Mytilene on the town quay and at all berths in Mytilene Marina

Things to do Ashore

Lesvos Sigri12.jpg
Petrified tree in Sigri
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The Genoese Castle at Sigri
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Lesvos Mithymna.jpg
View from the Castle in Mithimna
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The Castle of Mithimna
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Lesvos Ayiasos1.jpg
The village of Ayiásos
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Lesvos Ayiasos6.jpg
A food store in Ayiásos
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Lesvos is a very large island and it will take months if not years to explore. There are several noteworthy archaeological sites . Here are some highlights:

The Town of Mytilene

The Archaeological Museum has a very good collection attractively displayed in an old mansion. It is open from 8:00 to 14:30 every day except on Mondays.

There is a very nice collection of 20th century art at the Teriade Museum-Library. It exhibits works of Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, and of many contemporary Greek artists. There is also a Museum of Folkloric Art.

About 4 km S of Mitilini there is the wonderful Theophilos Museum with many wonderful primitive paintings.

The Castle, on the N of the harbor built by the Genoese Gateluzzi at 1373 is also worth a visit. It is open daily from 8:30 to 15:00 except on Mondays. The Byzantine Museum is closed on Sundays.

In Plomari

A tour of the Barbayianni ouzo distillery is very interesting. One can sample various types of ouzo.

In Sigri

The main attraction here is a visit to the Petrified Forest with 20 million old petrified sequoia trees. You will need to take a taxi (about 20 minutes) to visit the main site. Alternatively at the NW of the island of Meganisi there are also a few petrified trunks. In town there is a new Museum of Natural History which gives a very good orientation on the Petrified Forest and the geological history of the Aegean. It is open from 8:30 AM to 16:30 PM every day except Monday.

If you take the dinghy to Meganisi, it is worth to visit the lighthouse. It is one of the few remaining manned lighthouses in Greece. It is still using the old Fresnell lens, handmade in France in the middle 1980's, and it is rotated by a mechanical clockwork powered by weights.

The small Genoese castle is also interesting. It has a marvelously well preserved massive wooden gate.

To the S of Sigri there are many interesting places to see by walking along the dirt road to Eressos. Just past the bay of Sigri, over the cliff, there is an intact petrified trunk submerged under the shallow water. Further to the S just inland from Plaka there is a marsh with thousands of small terrapins. The scene here is desert like and stark but very beautiful.

In Molyvos

The 13 century Genoese Fortress Mithimna, perched on the N side of the town is worth the climb.

Also it is fun to walk in the narrow streets and alleys of the medieval town.


Ayiásos (Αγιάσος) is a picturesque mountain village well worth a visit. It has narrow streets and wonderful little stores where you can buy all sorts of local products like a flat bread (lagana - λαγάνα) and the most delicious touloumotiri (τουλουμοτύρι) cheese made from goat milk and kept in an goat skin turned inside out.

Grocery & Supply Stores

In every town there are stores where you can buy provisions but the shopping in Mytilene is exceptional. There are terrific pastry stores, and a wonderful market place.


  • In Mytilene there are many restaurants. The restaurants on the SW of the harbor have good fish
  • In Plomari the Bachus restaurant, on the NE of the harbor has very good food
  • At Port Sigri there is a surprisingly fancy restaurant, Remetzo, serving fresh lobsters. It is under the castle. Also the Matravino, at the main square, has excellent food at more modest prices
  • In the village of In Vafios, about 4-5 km from Molyvos the Vafios taverna that specializes in mezedes and grilled meat. Along the road from Mithina to Molyvos the Archontico is a good value.


In Internet cafés.


In Mytilene there is a laundry just S of the harbor.

Motorbike & Car Rentals

In Mytilene.

Garbage Disposal

There are bins around the harbors and in several anchorages.


There are daily flights from Athens and several ferryboats to other islands. Also there is an occasional small ferry to Ayvalik in Turkey.

Routes/Passages To/From

Cruiser's Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

References & Publications

See Greece.

Personal Notes

Personal experiences?

  • I have cruised in Lesvos several time over many years but have still a lot of wonderful places to explore. It is an amazing island.--Istioploos Greece Icon.png Sailboat favicon.png Travels with S/Y Thetis

Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)

See individual entries in ports and anchorages.

This is a useable page of the cruising guide. However, please sail in and help it grow further - add new notes and edit/update the existing information! GRAB THE PAGE AND BUILD IT!.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Istioploos, Athene of Lymington

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