With an area of approximately 480 km² Lemnos is the ninth largest island in Greece. While the other two North Aegean islands of Thasos and Samothrace, are mountainous and forested, Lemnos is hilly and barren. In summer, the predominant color of the landscape is brown. Lemnos is a destination for a relaxing holiday in close contact with nature. Sheltered bays, long sandy beaches and landscapes of volcanic rocks, interspersed with small hills and plains where most durum wheat is grown and traditional villages of stone houses. The beaches are excellent and uncrowded. From mid-August usually strong winds can affect the bathing, but are welcome by the windsurfers who come to the island because of that winds. The island does not live completely by tourism, as many of the other known Greek islands, but mostly still on agriculture. Therefore, life is still original and not focused exclusively on tourism. The best time to visit Lemnos is from May to end of July and from 15th of August till end of October. In the first two weeks of August the island is full of Greeks from the mainland who return to their villages for holidays and family meetings. From mid-August winds get stronger which is interesting for surfers.
The myths about Lemnos are closely linked to the god Hephaestus. According to the legend, the goddess Hera was quarreling with Zeus. When her son Hephaestus, tried to protect her, Zeus became angry and threw him from Mount Olympus. Hephaestus landed on Lemnos, where henceforth he lived in his smithy on the island and taught the first inhabitants of Lemnos, the Sinties, the art of processing copper.
The island experienced a bloom in the pre-Christian time. In its eventful history Lemnos was hit by many conquerors because of its important strategic location west of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Being conquered 512 BC by the Persians, Lemnos won its freedom back after the Persian Wars. Later the island was occupied by the Romans, the Venetians and the Turks, until the liberation in 1912 during the First Balkan War. During World War II, the strategically important island was occupied by German troops.
Main Town and Villages
MyrinaMyrina is the capital and the largest city of the island. It is known for its beautiful waterfront and shopping street, neoclassical mansions, and good beaches. Particularly notable is the Venetian fortress on a hill with a special view of the city and the coast; when visibility is clear, you can see Chalkidiki peninsula (Mount Athos) and other surrounding islands (Samothrace, Imvros, etc.). In the castle area, deer roam freely. Myrina is the administrative center of the island, with the ferry port, a hospital, good shopping possibilities, doctors, pharmacies, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, etc. Here you will find everything that you cannot find elsewhere on the island. The tiny museum's collection in Myrina gives more about Lemnos' importance in history. Also, memorials in Myrina and Moudros commemorate many of the battles fought at the region throughout its long history.
ThermaIf you drive about 6 km from Myrina towards the airport, you reach the turnoff to Therma, a facility with thermal springs. The small spa facility offers visitors not only relaxing baths in the 39-43 degree warm thermal water but also mud therapies with the famous "Lemnos healing earth", therapeutic and relaxing massages and beauty treatments.
PlatiThis small and beautiful village is popular for its beach. There are some taverns and tourist facilities near the village.
ThanosThis traditional village is surrounded by greenery and has a beautiful view over the sea.
KaspakasA small village on the slopes of a mountain. It has many traditional stone-built houses and narrow paths for strolling. Approximately 3 km northwest of Kaspakas are waterfalls, which are worth visiting especially after rains.
KondiasOne of the most beautiful villages in Lemnos. The village stands on a pine-covered hill. A walk along the traditional stone houses, the abandoned windmills, the streets lined with plane trees and the picturesque church of Aghios Dimitrios should not be missed.
MoudrosSecond largest city of Lemnos, with a beautiful harbor for fishing boats. Moudros was the base of operations for the Greek fleet in World War I and in World War II it was occupied by the German Army being a major port for the Armed Forces at the strategically important island.
RomanoKnown for its old black stone houses, the remains of fossilized trees, and the photogenic ruins of wind mills.
KontopouliA beautiful village near Kavirio and Ifestia, the most important archaeological sites on Lemnos. It's worth to sit in one of kafenios around the Platia (central square) to have a coffee, to watch typical rural life, and to talk with locals.
PlakaAt the east end of the island, a beautiful village with traditional architecture and a small fishing port. The old windmills situated close to the village are good photo opportunities. 2 km northeast of Plaka stands the church of Ag. Haralambos on a hill with a wonderful view over the north coast. It is best to be here just before sunset because of the special landscape as background.
- Nea Koutali
- Portianou, where you can see the mansion that was Winston Churchill's headquarters during the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign as First Lord of the Admiralty.
- Kontias has beautiful restored windmills.
- Moudros has beautiful sunsets.
By boatFerries change their routes monthly, there are at least 4-5 ships a week, usually departing from the ports of Lavrio (Athens), Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Kavala. Its important to inform yourself about the departure times at the day of travel because changes in arrival/departure times are common. Delays are frequent. Ferry routes often change within a year, reaching a peak during summer. Ferries need about 14 hours from the port of Piraeus to cover the distance and about 5 hours from Kavala.
There is limited anchorage available for private yachts, but services and supplies are very good. Arrivals should report to one of the port authority posts located at Myrina or Moudros. The port authorities are also good sources of information for weather forecasts (especially gale warnings), as well as about any military exercises in the wider region.
Lemnos International Airportphone: +30 2254 092700, +30 2254 029400The relatively spacious airport serve the increasing transportation needs of the island.Regularly there are one or two flights a day, from and to Athens, and extra charters in summertime tourist season. It is about a 40 minutes' flight from Athens airport to Lemnos.
Buses are two times a day to destinations. Notice that usually there is no return back to your starting point on the same day, in case that you decide to return at night, as local buses run one-way routes to destinations. There are two one-way routes to the destinations, the first usually at 12:00 and the other at about 14:30, which is usually crowded by teens after school returning home at their villages. Check departures at the local bus station square in Myrina.
Taxis are also available, widely used to carry passengers between the airport and Myrina or the rest of the villages, at reasonable prices. Car rental prices are affordable for a couple, better be sure that there will be a car available during "high seasons"(August). Most destinations have decent driveways, but asphalt is not an option approaching the beach. Strong motorbikes are the best selection during summer, provided that the proper care is taken for speedy traffic among tractors, scarce road lights, strong winds and alcohol tests by the police.
Sunsets are magnificent (especially under excellent visibility weather conditions), as those islands and Mt. Athos, are visible almost from every peak or elevated viewpoint on the island, due to the fact there are no high mountains on Lemnos.
Obvious differences are observed between the style of stone cottages in the rural villages, and the style of the little mansions in the relatively urbanized Myrina. Romeikos Gialos and Androni's renovated 19th century buildings depict the neo-classic architecture fashion of that period; while Kontias village at the southwest represents a picturesque village of the same time. However, it must be remarked that the building activity, increasing since the past decades, added a lot of modern houses expanding the areas of the villages and Myrina.
Many festivals in accordance with the Greek calendar holidays take place each year. Of these following the church are the most popular, with shows of traditional dance and music, sometimes becoming folklore, such as the Dormition Feast. Check also the "sardine festival" and the Day of St. Sozon. Moreover, music events and parties are organized in the summertime. A small theatre is also available for performance art groups or feature film shows.
- In the capital Myrina, take a stroll around its cobblestone streets and climb up to the castle, not just for the view but also for the chance to see a few of the island's fallow deer.
Chapel of Panagia KakaviotissaA visit of the chapel of Panagia Kakaviotissa, dedicated to the Virgin Mary is highly recommended. The chapel lies on Kakkavos hill in a cave, surrounded by steep cliffs, 4 km from Myrina. The unique views and tranquility of the landscape are worth the somewhat difficult climb.
Poliochni9 km east of Moudros near the village of Kaminia, this important archaeological site was the best-known city in the northern Aegean after Troy in the 3rd millennium BC. It started as a small Neolithic village and evolved into a thriving city that lived from copper. You can see ancient pottery, ruins of houses, barns, aqueduct, theatre and a parliament. The small museum explains in detail the history of the place and is worth a visit. The view from the archaeological site of the sea and the surrounding area round out a visit.
IfestiaThe ancient site of Ifestia, located near the village Kontopouli, was from the Neolithic to the early Christianity an important religious centre. The excavations show remains of a large settlement, with ruins of a castle, a cemetery, a baths, an Hellenistic theatre and a temples of the mysterious, once only on Lemnos and its neighbouring island of Samothrace manicured worship of Cabeiri, a “Sanctuary of the Great Gods”. The identity and nature of the deities venerated at the sanctuary remains largely enigmatic, in large part because it was taboo to pronounce their names. Literary sources from antiquity refer to them under the collective name of "Cabeiri", while they carry the simpler epithet of Great Gods, which was a title or state of being rather than the actual name. The cult of the Great Gods existed in ancient Greece as one of several mystery cults in addition to the worship of the Olympian deities. Mystery cults are cults or religion whose religious doctrines and rites are kept secret from outsiders. The inclusion in such a community of worship was usually carried out by special initiation rites. Because the mystery cults have broadly maintained their secrets, their myths and rites are hardly reconstructed and there are only a lot of conjectures based on ancient writings and archaeological finds. The sanctuary was destroyed by the Persians in 511 BC. The Athenians conquered Lemnos in the early 5th century and rebuilt Ifestia again, but introduced their politically democratic system. In the early Byzantine period Ifestia was abandoned because the natural harbour silted up due to continuous soil erosion and developing Christianity was averse to the old mystery cult.
KavirionThe Temple of Kavirio is 3 km from the archaeological site of Ifestia. It is an old sanctuary also dedicated to the Great Gods (Caveiri). Its assumed that the sanctuary of Kavirio was founded around the 6th or 7th century B.C and hence is older than the famous Sanctuary in Samothrace where these particular gods were also worshipped. After visiting the site you should definitely have a look at the “Cave of Philoktetis” which is directly below the excavation site. According to mythology, this is the place where the Homeric hero Odysseus, on the way to the Trojan War, had left behind his comrade Philoktetis who was bitten by a snake, in the hope of a cure. It is said, that he owed his recovery due to the therapy with the famous “healing earth” of Lemnos. This earth was a major export of Lemnos especially in Roman times but was in use till the 19th century. It was mined near an extinct volcano. This mountain in the mythology was the workshop of the gods blacksmith Hephaestus.
KoukonesiA small island close to Moudros, which can be reached via a causeway. The island is an important archaeological site, with possible links to Troy. On display there is nothing spectacular, but the hike over the dam and the views of the Gulf of Moudros are worth the detour.
AlikiIn summer Aliki is a big salt lake where you can walk on and a „must see“ destination in Lemnos. During rainy season it gets to a wetland. This wetland of Aliki- Chortarolimni (inbetween Kontopouli and Panagia) acts as a resting and wintering area for many species of migratory birds. The bird fauna of the region consists of more than 30 migratory and endemic species. With good luck you can see quite a number of flamingos.
Ag. Nicholas ChurchThe church is beautifully situated on a small island connected by a causeway to the peninsula at Portiano/Nea Koutali. At the end of the peninsula is a stone pyramid of World War I with a good view of the bay. The path goes through a bad dirt road.
Gomati DunesThese dunes are the largest sand dunes in Greece. Locals call them "the only desert in Europe". The dunes are accessible via a dirt road. The beach nearby is also worth a visit and has a beach bar.
CyclingAs the island is relatively flat this sport gains more popularity every year. Rent a bike in Myrina (2 shops) or Kontopouli
Water sportsEspecially surfing and kite surfing. The wind conditions on the beach of Keros are best for these sports. Furthermore, the usual tourist water sports pleasures are offered at the beaches near Myrina.
Scuba divingScuba diving is not allowed in some places for archaeological and military reasons. You have to inform yourself at a diving school in Myrina. There is a sunken city and other very worthwhile diving motives.
SPAVisit the modest but neat spa area with hot mineral springs at Therma
BirdwatchingLemnos is a stopover of bird migration. The salt lake Aliki and the marshland at Chortolimni are the best sites for observing.
Hunting & FishingAn attraction for many visitors from the neighboring islands and the mainland is the hunting season. The hunt for the wild rabbits is allowed all year as they have become rampant.
Ship TouringAnother tourist attraction is a small ship touring the island, sometimes including a short time visit to the islet of Agios Efstratios.
BeachesLemnos has about a hundred beaches which are scattered all over the island! Most of these beaches are good and fairly large clean sandy beaches with clear water. The northern beaches can sometimes be quite windy. This is because of the so-called Meltemi wind that blows regularly during the summer months (but also brings cooling). The beaches in the east of Lemnos are long nice lonely sandy beaches. Good for people that want to avoid crowds or are looking for naturist beaches. From mid-August on usually winds come up that make this beaches well suited for windsurfers. This also applies to the beaches in the north. Good and large sandy beaches are in the south and on the west coast of the island. These are the main tourist beaches well equipped with umbrellas, beach chairs, beach bars and water sports rentals. Many of the quiet and lonely beaches are accessible only on foot or by mud roads. But its definitively worth the effort. Although there are no official nudist beach on Lemnos, many of the lonely beaches are excellent for this. Only in the high season (late July-mid August) it becomes more difficult to find a quiet place.
Myrina beachThe nearest beach to the main town is very clean, with soft sand and only a few steps away from the center. The beach is lined with poplar and plane trees giving good shadow around the bay. Hotels, Apartments are located in the immediate vicinity. There are also fish taverns serving tasty dishes
Romaikos beach (Gialos)One of the main beaches, belongs to a suburb of Myrina with beautiful neoclassical houses and narrow streets. The beach is not very long, and part has umbrellas and sunbeds. The coast is sandy and the water shallow. At the beach different water sports are offered and other tourist facilities, such as fish taverns and hotels. Going to the nearby hill, one has a beautiful view of Myrina town and the castle.
Riha Nera beachThe beach is well organized with beach bar and rentals of water sports equipment. Riha Nera is the most cosmopolitan beach on the island.
Avlonas BeachAvlonas is one of the closest beaches to Myrina and still reachable on foot. It is not crowded, has a couple of beach facilities and is known for its clear water. Also a space for beach volley exists. Opposite of the beach are some volcanic rocks what makes the beach attractive for snorkelling and fishing. Avlonas is quieter than the beaches in Myrina itself.
Agios Ioannis BeachThe long sandy beach of Agios Ioannis is surrounded by volcanic rocks, has fine sand and crystal clear water. A tavern is on the beach offers fresh fish and seafood.
Prassa BeachThe quiet beach of Prassa has crystal clear water and fine sand with pebbles reaching the shore. Prassa is not organized, completely calm, without sunbeds or parasols. The lonely landscape and green hills give a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The beach is easily accessible by car or motorcycle.
Karvounolakas BeachKarvounolakas is a nice beach in a wonderful location, an isolated bay with soft sand. There are no tourist facilities, but the crystal clear waters and the charming background are quite rewarding. This is the ideal place for total privacy and relaxation in a unique natural beauty ( suitable as a nudist beach). The beach is easily accessible by car or motorcycle from the main road.
MourtzephlosA beautiful bay in the north east of the island. Favoured by sailing boats to anchor
Plati BeachOne of the most popular beaches in Lemnos, directly below the village Plati. This beautiful beach stretches for about 700 m and offers various tourist facilities, including sun loungers and parasols. There are cafes, bars and a water sports centre with training lessons and equipment for all age groups. The water is clean and flat, ideal for children. Some large trees provide good shade in hot summer days. Nearby there are taverns and accommodation for every budget.
Thanos BeachBeautiful sandy beach, which is partly organized with umbrellas and sun loungers, but there are as well free areas, where visitors can enjoy absolute peace (nudist area). The area is surrounded by volcanic rocks and the coast has fine sand and azure waters. There are few accommodations and taverns that line the beach. This is a nice place to spend holidays, especially for families, because it is not too busy and not too loud.
Stivi Beach6 km south of Myrina has a special charm with clean water, soft sand and gravel. The isolated location and the natural beauty of the landscape brings a peaceful atmosphere. The area is surrounded by tall trees giving shade during the hot days of summer. There are no beach facilities. Access to the beach is fairly simple, despite its remote location. There is a café nearby, where you can drink your Greek coffee and enjoy the view of the sea.
Cape Tigani BeachCape Tigani is 8 km south of Myrina. The beautiful bay has a unique round shape and is surrounded by lush green hills. The calm clear waters and fine sand creating a nice holiday atmosphere.
Evgatis BeachA beautiful sandy beach in a bay on the south side of the island. It is an organized beach where umbrellas and chairs are available for rent. The beach is 6 km south from the capital and has a wide and 4 km long sandy beach. It is a one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. On the west side are volcanic rocks and a river separates the beach into two parts.
Kokkina BeachKokkina is one of the most isolated beaches in Lemnos. It is 11 km south of Myrina near the Cape of Fakos in Kondias Bay, has barely any tourism, and is not easily accessible. Fakos is an ecological park. At the end of Kondias bay is the Beach of Diapori where dining options are available. From Diaporiyou have to take a 7-km-long gravel road to the beach of Kokkina. The location is ideal for long hours of peaceful sunbathing and especially favoured by nudist swimmers. Although the road to the beach is a bit of a difficult, it's worth a try for those who avoid crowds. The fine reddish sand and turquoise water in combination with the wild landscape is quite intriguing.
Fanari Beach3 km south of Moudros Fanari (also called Fanaraki) is one of the most popular beaches in the region. The long sandy beach extends over several meters and is surrounded by green hills. The beach has some tourist facilities, such as umbrellas and sun beds. The beach is protected from the strong winds and has gentle waves. The way to the beaches is not paved. Fanaraki beach consists of Micro Fanaraki and Megalo Fanaraki. Micro Fanaraki is in a small bay 300 m south of Megalo Fanari. The rock caves and rock bridges on the edge of the beach are a very popular photo spot.
Makris Gialos BeachMakris Gialos is a particularly beautiful sandy beach and is 7 km away from Moudros. The beach has crystal clear water and stretches up to several kilometers. Its a good place for swimming and ideal for surfing because of the constant winds. Nearby is Poliochni, an important historical site where many facilities and hotels are located. In the area there are quiet a number of other beaches as Skidi Beach or Parthenomytos Beach with its green water. They can be reached only on dirt roads. On this beach a number of trees were planted that are specially maintained for the visitors to provide some shade. On Parthenomytos beach is a small cafe where you can order drinks.
Louri BeachLouri is a quiet and unspoiled sandy beach with a rocky seabed not far from the village Skandali. The place is ideal for sunbathing and swimming without the bustle of the tourist crowds. There is no beach facilities such as sunbeds and umbrellas and the area retains its pristine nature.
Keros BeachKeros is an long beach with white sand and is characterized by its natural beauty. It is 2 km from the village Kalliopi. Keros hasturquoise waters and fine sand, is one of the most beautiful beaches, and is the number one place for water sports such as windsurfing and kite surfing in Lemnos. The wind starts early at noon and calmed down in the late afternoon. Because of the wind and the long distance from the capital, Keros is not much frequented. There are very few accommodations because of the protected ecosystem of the region and only some beach taverns. Several other nice beaches (e.g. Ag. Joannis Beach, Aliki Beach, Sfounos Beach, Panagia Beach) line up the coast up to the village Plaka. All are little frequented because they are not easily accessible and also affected by the strong winds but popular as naturist beaches.
North coast beaches:
Plaka BeachesOne beach is in a bay in the extreme north-east of the island, the other south of the village. The beaches are mainly used by the people of the village. From here you can see the Turkish neighbour island Imvros (Gokceada).
Zematas BeachThe beach is near the villages of Plaka and Panagia and is popular for locals but especially for wind surfers. It is the No.2 meeting place for the surfers after Keros Beach. It is a quiet sandy beach and partly organized with umbrellas, beach chairs and a beach bar.
Neftina BeachNear the archaeological site of Kavirio close to the halfway abandoned village Agios Alexandros. The way to Neftina beach leads partly on gravel road that is in poor condition. Neftina is a long sandy beach with clear water. The beach is shallow and ideal for children. There are no taverns or beach chairs. A visit to the beach combines well with a tour to the nearby archaeological sites of Ifestia and the remarkable cave of Philoctetes at Kavirion. A visit there is highly recommended.
Ifestia BeachesNear the ancient site of Ifestia there are several beaches some of them with touristic infrasctructure that are well managed and where you can find good cool off after a visit to the ruins. The best way to get there is through the village Kontopouli.
Kotsinas BeachThe beach is in the picturesque bay of Kotinas with its small fishing port and the very interesting Chapel on a small hill. Under the chapel you go down into a cave. In the bay there are good restaurants and the beach is equipped with beach chairs, umbrellas and beach bar. The bay is one of the "must see" places in Lemnos!
Agios Ermolaos BeachThis quiet and partly rocky beach is known for its breathtaking barren landscape and is near the village Propouli. North of Propouli there are a whole series of bays surrounded by magnificent nature. Not all are easy reachable, but to going on a “discovery tour” you will enjoy unforgettable lonely bizar landscapes. Because nothing is signposted and good maps hardly available (because of military reasons) its advisable to check the landscape on Google Earth before going there. It is one of the "must see" locations of Lemnos.
Papias BeachPapias is a picturesque bay with a rather small sandy beach and crystal clear water. It is popular with anglers and fishermen and surrounded by barren landscape.
Gomati BeachThe beach of Gomati is a “must see” location and is nestled in a bay, a few kilometers from the village Katalakos. This fine sand beach has the largest dunes of the island (and actually the largest sand dunes in Greece and locals also called it "the only desert in Europe") and crystal clear water. The beach is accessible via a dirt road and is quite long and rarely crowded. There is a beach bar, parasols and sun loungers.
The local economy based on agriculture, and offers a variety of farming and dairy products, with a distinctively good quality of wine. Best known is the white wine made of the cultivar "Muscat of Alexandria". There is also a red wine of a local cultivar that is quite good. Another speciality are very tasty egg noodles, called "Flomaria". Also thyme honey is offered and was a speciality of Lemnos. Due to the dry character of the island the quantity produced is low but the demand is hight. Therefore its hard now to find real natural honey that is not just imported honey with some drops of essential oil of thyme.
FlomariThe good food is traditional and with many specialties from Limnos, the location with a fantastic view is also worth the bit far trip
Cafe CaveRecommended because of the special location in a cave by the sea, cafe and restaurant.
Taverne Kotsinasone of several taverns on the Bay of Kotsinas, good food with wonderful views
Saravar Beach BarCafe and restaurant right on the beach with beautiful views of the bay
Agios XaralamposThe food is average, but because of the special possibility to watch the sunset over the bay at dinner is recommended
MantellaBest known restaurant on Lemnos, good food, can get quite busy.
Ennia PochesVery well-known restaurant in the village square of Lychna.
Nightlife is seasonal, small beach bars and night clubs open from mid-June till early September. However restaurants, fish taverns and leisure cafés serve till late night all the year.
The west coast is by far the most popular and touristically most developed area on Lemnos. Here you can find accommodation in large numbers. Overall, the island has a variety of smaller hotels, hostels, apartments, rooms, but only a few large hotel complexes. These are:
Lemnos Village Resort HotelOn the beach of Platy.
Varos Village HotelAt Varos in the middle of the island.
Porto Plaza HotelA few kilometers north of Mirina.