Mytilene Travel Guide

Mytilene in Greece

Lesbos or Lesvos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of 1,633 km2, with approximately 400 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest island in Greece and the eighth largest in the Mediterranean. It is separated from Asia Minor by the narrow Mytilini Strait. On the southeastern coast is the island's capital and largest city, Mytilene, whose name is also used for the island as a whole. Lesbos is a separate regional unit with the seat in Mytilene, which is also the capital of the larger North Aegean region. The region includes the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, and Samos. The total population of the island was 83,068 in 2021. A third of Lesbians live in the capital, while the remainder are concentrated in small towns and villages. The largest are Plomari, Kalloni, the Gera Villages, Agiassos, Eresos, and Molyvos.

According to later Greek writers, Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC by the family Penthilidae, who arrived from Thessaly and ruled the city-state until a popular revolt led by Pittacus of Mytilene ended their rule. In fact, the archaeological and linguistic records may indicate a late Iron Age arrival of Greek settlers, although references in Late Bronze Age Hittite archives indicate a likely Greek presence then. According to Homer's Iliad, Lesbos was part of the kingdom of Priam, which was based in Anatolia. In the Middle Ages, it was under Byzantine and then Genoese rule. Lesbos was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1462. The Ottomans then ruled the island until the First Balkan War in 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece.


Lesbos lies in the far east of the Aegean sea, facing the Turkish coast from the north and east; at the narrowest point, the Mytilini Strait is about 5.5 km wide. In late Palaeolithic/Mesolithic times it was joined to the Anatolian mainland before the end of the Last Glacial Period.

The island is forested and mountainous with two large peaks, Mount Lepetymnos at 968 m and Mount Olympus at 967 m, dominating its northern and central sections. The island's volcanic origin is manifested in several hot springs and the two gulfs.

This geopark was enlarged from former "Lesvos Petrified Forest Geopark". Lesbos contains one of the few known petrified forests, called the Petrified forest of Lesbos, and it has been declared a Protected Natural Monument. Fossilised plants have been found in many localities on the western parts of the island. The fossilised forest was formed during the Late Oligocene to Lower–Middle Miocene, as determined by the intense volcanic activity in the area. Neogene volcanic rocks dominate the central and western part of the island, comprising andesites, dacites and rhyolites, ignimbrite, pyroclastics, tuffs, and volcanic ash. The products of the volcanic activity covered the vegetation of the area and the fossilization process took place during favourable conditions. The fossilized plants are silicified remnants of a sub-tropical forest that existed on the northwest part of the island 20–15 million years ago.

Map of Mytilene with accommodations

The blue markers shows the location of various accommodations in Mytilene. The letter in the marker describes the accommodation types: H for Hotel, A for Apartment, R for Resort, B for Bed & Breakfast and O for Other (e.g. pension, villa). Click on the blue marker for more information on the accommodation.

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