Last Updated on March 28, 2021
Lesbos, a Greek island located in the Aegean Sea, is famed for Sappho, the ancient Greek poet who captivated her audiences, modern and old, with an incredible way with words. One of the world’s most famous lesbians – and certainly one of the earliest documented – Sappho’s sexuality allowed her to have a unique connection with the famous Greek muses.
This is where the island’s name is derived from. Today, Lesbos is known for its historic ruins, echoes of the ancient Greeks who lived there over two thousand years ago, its fantastic Mediterranean weather, the food and the fact that it has over twelve historic churches that were listed on the 2008 World Monuments to Fund’s Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world.
With so many sites to see, adventurous travelers will enjoy what Lesbos has to offer. Here are a few highlights you must see when visiting this beautiful island.
Lesbos Global Geopark
Protected by UNESCO, the Global Geopark is an ancient forest preserved by a massive volcanic eruption 20 million years ago. The park has been extended across the island and it features rare and impressive fossilized tree trunks. The trees that existed at the time were completely covered with lava and ash from the volcano and the rain soon saturated it creating great rivers of this strange, black concoction. Today, the fossilized trunks have retained their upright position with their roots intact and you’ll be able to see details in the bark and the actual interior of the trunks. The colors inside are fantastic. Make sure you visit the park’s Natural History Museum where you can discover more about the geography of the park itself.
Petra (and its 140 steps)
If you visit Lesbos, do visit the village of Petra, where you’ll find a lovely church on top of a great rock in the middle of the village. Take heed, there’s 140 steps to get to the church which can be quite the mission when the summer midday sun is up, but the climb is well worth it for the views. You’ll be able to see right out into the Aegean Sea and the beach Avlaki, right below. Here you can rent sun beds and enjoy the beach-side views.
Tip: The church is very pretty and quite conservative inside, so ladies should cover their shoulders and really short shorts won’t be allowed
Church of Petra
This is one of the most spectacular beaches in Greece. It’s length is pretty impressive; stretching a very long 8km, and it’s almost 50 metres wide. Beach lovers and those who want to mix some relaxing times into their Lesbos holiday will enjoy these pleasant sands. There’s plenty to do here and there are a lot of food and drink outlets, so it’s an easy day out.
The Teriade Library and Museum of Modern art
For a small Greek island, Lesbos certainly packs a punch! Noted by historians as an astonishing collection of art for a remote Aegean island, this museum is definitely worth a visit. Set in an olive grove, the contents of the museum consists of twenty nine books by Teriade, the famous art critic. What’s fabulous about these books is that they’re illustrated by the great artists of our time, Picasso, Matissue and Miro to name a few. Visitors can enjoy perusing the books which are displayed in special cases and framed to the wall.
Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Agiasos
This breath-taking church is located in the centre of the small village Agiasos and is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. When you enter the church you’ll see a yard where there’s an ecclesiastical museum where visitors can learn all about the surrounding area. The church itself is a three-aisled post-Byzantine basilica, with a marble templon, and was constructed in the 19th century.
Tip: If you’re visiting Lesbos in August then you might catch the folklore festival that occurs in Agiasos on the 15th of the month.