Welcome to Lemnos an island of great historical importance to house the first settlement of Europe, to offer a plethora of opportunities for visitors to admire. Archaeological sites, museums, an impressive castle, caves, a petrified forest, host springs, churches and monasteries, as well as numerous sandy beaches, Lemnos can easily be a holiday destination to remember.
Visit the capital town of Myrina to admire its imposing Byzantine castle or make a stopover at the Archaeological Museum where all the finds from the local excavations are housed, revealing the island's long history. Moundros is another picturesque place to visit, also featuring the local architecture, to host an important archaeological site and the Petrified Forest. Several seaside beach resorts offer an escape to relaxation, while numerous luxury hotels and spa resorts, some of which offering high end conference facilities, ensure a warm and joyful stay at the island.
All forms of tourism all well served in Lemnos, with choices and activities to satisfy every visitor. Eco tourism at the traditional hamlets, giving the opportunity for hikes to explore caves and hydro biotopes, thermalism and healing tourism at the local hot springs, or religious tourism though the numerous historical churches and monasteries, archaeological sites of historic significance as well as lovely sandy beaches, are all part of a unique mosaic of a holiday experience.
The island of Lemnos can be accessed by both air and sea. Daily flights serve routes between the island and Athens. The port of Piraeus and Rafina connect with Lesvos daily throughout the year, being also easily accessed by the neighbouring ports of Lesvos, Agios Efstratios, Chios, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Alexandroupoli Volos, Samos, Mykonos, Paros Syros, Kos, Patmos and Rhodes.
Once arriving at Lemnos, the capital town and main port of the island, Myrina is the first impressive icon in the visitor's eyes, named after the wife of the first king of the island. Stretched around a bay, the town's landmark is the imposing Venetian castle built on the hill top right next to huge volcanic rocks. The town is the commercial centre of the island with stone paved streets, neoclassical mansions, some Ottoman buildings and fountains, along with some modern buildings. Other than the castle, the Archaeological Museum built by the Italians, the astonishing building of Karatzadios Library and the Cathedral of Saint Triada are well worth a visit. The second biggest town of the island is Moundros, with strong naval history as it was the Greek navy's base during the Balkan Wars and of the Allied Navy during the First World War, as well as the former capital of the island. Worth visiting is the church of Annunciation of Virgin Mary, while all tourist facilities are available.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
One of the most astonishing and breathtaking sites of Lemnos, quite hard to miss is the imposing Byzantine Caste of Myrina, the largest fortress in the Aegean Sea, built on the 12th century by the emperor Andronicus Komnenos, on the remains of an ancient acropolis. During the 13th century the castle was reformed by the Venetian occupants to reach its final form. Remains of an Ottoman mosque reveal the inhabitation of the castle by the Turks, who were attached by a Russian fleet so as to free the island, to result its severe damage. Nowadays the castle features its high walls crowned with towers, a central fort at the centre of the interior, cisterns remains of houses and an underground vaulted room. Lucky visitors will come across some of the current dwellers of the castle, the local dears, while during night the illuminated castle on top of the dark rocks is well impressive. Myrina also houses the Archaeological Museum of Lemnos, housed in a three-storey neoclassical mansion. The museum includes exhibits ranging from the prehistoric period till the 6th century B.C. from excavations that took place in ancient cities around the island such as Myrina, Poliochni, Kavirio and Ifestia. The latter location houses an archaeological site to be found close to the settlement of Kontopouli that used to be an important religious centre. The Archaeological site of Ifestia features a sanctuary, a cemetery, baths, a Hellenistic theatre, a big palace and an entire line of stoneware statues depicting Sirens and sphinxes to reveal its past glory and political importance during the ancient times. The oldest settlement in Europe build during the 4th millennium BC is Poliochni, a village situated right opposite the ancient Troy. Several excavations reveal the oldest findings from the Neolithic and Early Bronze age around Greece that revealed a great civilization of wealth as the city was twice the size of the renowned Troy, and inhabited by a matriarchic society as several finds prove that Amazon dominated the area. Nearby Moundros village is the Sanctuary of Kavirio, build during the 6th and 7th century, featuring an initiation hall, a palace, and an arcade, as well as a large telestirio with twelve Doric columns as well as numerous inscriptions to provide useful information about the island's history.
THINGS TO DO
Lemnos being the 8th largest island in Greece, while having a morphological diversity with long beaches, mountains, biotopes, lakes, caves and hot springs, offers its lands for a number of activities. Several hiking routes are tracked in the island to provide excellent ground for its exploration. Among the most unique sites well worth exploring cross the Mount of Kakkavos, the church of Virgin Mary Kakkaviotissa which is nested-almost hidden inside huge rocks to make a marvelous contrast between the rocks' earthy colour, and the white washed church with blue doors. The wetlands of Lemnos are ideal habitat for several birds to bread, some of which being the local dear, wild geese, garganeys, whooper swans, shelduck, kastrels, Pelicans, Gulls, Terns, Grebes, Moorhens and dense swarms of Pink Flamingos. Lemnos also features several caves, the most historic one being the Cave of Philoctetes, situated very close to the archaeological site of Kaviria. The cave has two entrances, one from the rock's side and the other one by the sea and was named after the ancient Greek hero. Philoctetes lived twelve years of his life in this cave after being abandoned by his fellow warriors on the way to Troy so as to participate on the Trojan War. Achaeans eventually came back to look for Philoctetes who finally participated on the war since an oracle's prophecy indicated that only his weapons given by Hercules would manage to give an end to the war. The cave nowadays features underwater streams and a serene environment. Last but not least, Lemnos hosts some Hot Springs like the hot springs of Thermae close to Myrina, used since the Ottoman domination where hamams were built, or the mud baths offered at Panagia Plaka at Moundros. Moundros also houses a Petrified Forest, a unique geological phenomenon to date back some thirty million years.
Lemnos also boasts its myriads wonderful beaches, varying form busy and fully organized to quiet and secluded ones. Plati beach is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the island lying beneath Plati village only 2km from Myrina, with a sandy shore and warm shallow waters, fully organized with all the touristic and sports facilities required. A fantastic sandy beach surrounded by volcanic rocks, partly organized and partly secluded, is Thanos beach located close to the homonymous village. Keros beach is a rather quiet, long sandy beach nearby the village of Kalliopi, with turquoise waters to attract wind and kite surfers, who also seek for the beach of Zematas. Situated close to the ancient Kaviros, this isolated and mesmerizing beach offers relaxed swimming and stunning sunsets. Close to Myrina visitors can enjoy the shallow waters and golden sands of beaches like Romeikos Gialos, and Riha Nera. An extensive list of wonderful sandy beaches can narrow down to the beaches of Avlona, Fanaraki, Kaminia, Evgati and Varoskopos.
Lemnos is an island of rich gastronomic tradition and a fine producer of several local delicacies, giving forth aromas and tastes embellished with influences from Asia Minor. The locally produced white sweet Muscat wine is among the best in Greece, along with the punnett cheese. Other products are wheat, sesame, nuts, thyme, almonds, honey, lamb and goat, fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes such as wild greens, black-eyed beans, along with fresh fish and seafood, with extra tasty lobsters. Cooking with the pure and traditional products to make home made pasta, several types of bread and rusks, frumenty, sweet or salted pies with several filling and the local dessert halvas result to gastronomic masterpieces. The lack of mass tourism in the island has maintained the fundamental elements of the local cuisine that despite its simplicity can easily surprise visitors with its unexpectedly totally original finesse.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Airport of Limnos: +30 22540 92700
Port Authority of Limnos: +30 22540 22225
Limnos Police: +30 22540 22200
Limnos Bus Services: +30 22540 22464
Limnos Hospital: +30 22540 22222