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Lesbos (or Lésvos) is the second largest Greek island. It is dominated by two mountain tops: de Lepetymnos (967 m) and the Olympus (939 m, not to be confused with the Olympus on the mainland of Greece). The island is also called Mitilíni by many Greeks, after its capital. The Petrified Forest of Lesbos, which consists of sequoia trees, is world famous. This forest in the west of the island was covered by a lava flow and it is now a protected nature area.
The word 'lesbian' was derived from Lesbos, and it is based on the poems of the poetess Sappho who ran an education institute for girls in Mitilíni. In her poems she wrote passionately about girls, but it was never proven that she also had an amorous relationship with them.
Lesbos has about 90,000 inhabitants, a third of whom live in the capital.
Lesbos is located in the east of the Aegean Sea, right off the coast of Turkey. The island of Kos is situated to the south of Lesbos, the Turkish city of Izmir to the south-east. The southern coastline has two deep inlets - Geras and Kallonis.
Tourism plays an important part in the local economy. Visitors primarily go to the capital and to the coastal towns of Plomari, Molyvos and Eressos. The agricultural production consists of olives, figs and grains. On the island there are no fewer than 11 million olive trees that cover nearly half of the island's surface. The olives are processed into olive oil. In addition, there are tanneries and soap factories.
The island of Lesbos - Mytilene International Airport (or Odysseas Elytis) - is situated in the extreme south-east of the island, eight kilometres to the south of the capital. There are regular flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, Chios and Lemnos. During the summer there are many international chartered flights. There is a bus connection to the centre of the capital.
There is an excellent public transport system on Lesbos. All major locations can be reached by bus. Often there are no buses in the middle of the day (between 11 am and 1 pm). Outside the peak season the frequency is reduced considerably. Most buses depart on regular times from the capital's central bus station.
From the capital's port there are ferry connections to other islands in the Aegean Sea and to Athens.
The larger roads on the island are on good condition. If you want to visit the interior, we recommend hiring a 4-wheel drive. The roads, which are sometimes no more than dirt roads, can be very curvy and winding. Always expect the unexpected: people, animals and karts in the middle of the road.
Drive carefully, because stray pebbles can damage the underside of your rental car.
Lesbos is not yet a tourist-infested place, but there are some typical tourist centres like Molyvos in the north and Eressos in the west. There you will find a variety of hotels, bed & breakfast accommodations and apartments. If you want to stay somewhere quiet, there are plenty of opportunities to rent a cottage. The cottages are sometimes situated in remote locations, which means a rental car is indispensable. During the summer you have to book in advance.
For more information about Lesbos, we recommend Google, and the following sources: