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Last updated : Nov 2009
Chios, Samos, Lesbos and Lemnos
Chios, Samos, Lesbos and Lemnos - TravelPuppy.com
Chios

(Piraeus, 153 nautical miles.) Lying just 8km from Turkey, this surprisingly unexploited island offers beautiful beaches, unspoilt medieval towns and stunning landscapes. The north side of the island is dominated by Pelinio, (4255ft-) high mountain of volcanic origin. Chios Town capital and main port, lies on the eastern shore. Numerous towns’ churches, which date back to Byzantine times, were converted into mosques by the Turks, but have since resumed their Christian function. The Byzantine Museum is housed in a former 19th-century mosque. In the hills east of town lies the impressive 12th-century monastery of Nea Moni, one of the country’s finest Byzantine monuments, with a beautiful octagonal church adorned with golden mosaics. The inland villages on the south side of the island have preserved a medieval appearance, the best examples being Pirgi and Mesta. Pirgi is unique in that all the building facades are highlighted with grey and white geometric designs, known as xista. The settlement of Mesta is made up of narrow winding streets and traditional cottages, several offering tourist accommodation, plus a fine Byzantine church.

There is an airport, providing flights on a daily basis to and from Athens.

Samos

(Piraeus, 174 nautical miles.) Separated from Turkey by a narrow strait, Samos is an island of forested hills, vineyards, olive groves and meadows. Samos Town, the island’s capital, is divided into two parts: the new quarter, which developed during the 19th century; and the old quarter, Ano Vathi, on a hill over the port. The Archaeological Museum displays finds from Heraion, an ancient sanctuary situated on the southeast coast. Pythagorio, a lively fishing port and tourist resort, was known as Tigani until 1955, when it was renamed in respect of its best known citizen, the philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras. From Samos Town a good asphalt road runs the length of the northern coast to Potami, passing through the charming villages of Kokari, Tsamadou and Avlakia, each of which have good beaches close by, and Karlovassi, renowned for its excellent sweet wine.

There is an airport, providing flights on a daily basis to and from Athens.

Lesbos

(Piraeus, 118 nautical miles.) Lesbos, home of the ancient poet Sappho, is the biggest island in this group, with vast olive groves, shady pinewoods, good beaches and picturesque monasteries. The capital, Mitilini, is dominated by a 14th-century castle, and has a nearby beach with excellent facilities. There are more good beaches at Petra, Agios Issidoros, Skala Eftalou and Vateron and along the Gulf of Kaloni on the south coast of the island. At Loutropoli Thermis, there are therapeutic springs which have been known since the olden days. Mithimna (Molivos), on the north of the island, is well-liked by artists and has a fine pebble beach.

There is an airport, providing flights on a daily basis to and from Athens.

Lemnos

(Piraeus, 188 nautical miles.) Lemnos is still relatively unknown to mainstream tourism. Mirina, its capital, is built on the site of an ancient city of the same name and has an Archaeological Museum housing exhibits from all around the island. The hilltop castle, extended one after another by the Venetians, Genovese and Turks, offers wonderful views. North of the town, close to the village of Kaspakas, lies Kaspakas Bay with numerous wonderful sand beaches. Likewise, south of town, close to the village of Plati, lies the Bay of Plati and another large sandy beach. To the east of the island, ancient ruins are found at Ifestia and Poliohni.

There is an airport, providing flights on a daily basis to and from Athens.

East of the Thessaly region on mainland Greece lay the four islands of the Sporades – Skiathos, Alonissos, Skiros and Skopelos. They are becoming extremely popular and it is recommended to book early, especially in the high season. It is possible to reach these islands either by ferry or hydrofoil from Volos on the mainland, and from Kimi on Euboea. Skiros and Skiathos can also be reached by plane from Athens.