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The welcoming island of Hephaestus

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The welcoming island of Hephaestus

According to Homer, it was the land of Lemnos that welcomed the god of fire, Hephaestus, when angry Zeus "threw" him away from Olympus.

The fourth largest Greek island, volcanic Lemnos is an inviting and alluring destination for every visitor thanks to its imposing rocks and rich wetlands, fertile plains, verdant hills, vast dunes and crystal-clear waters as well as its rich culinary tradition.

Routes & sights

Start your exciting journey from historic Myrina, the capital and port, built on the site of the ancient city. Myrina is divided into two parts, the Turkish Shore (Tourkikos Gialos) and the Greek Shore (Romeikos Gialos). Wander its passageways and admire the imposing mansions on the waterfront. Hike to the Castle that dominates the city, built in the 12th century, by emperor Komninos; there you shall enjoy a unique view.  You can also visit the Archaeological Museum in the beautiful 19th-century neoclassical building, where you will see important findings from various periods.

Put your comfy shoes on and go to Ammothines (Pachies Ammoudes), considered the only European desert, stretching across 70 acres of sand dunes that resembles the Sahara. The experience will be unforgettable! You can also try sandboarding and then cool off with a swim in the nearby beach of Gomati.

Falakra is also an exotic, mysterious landscape that will fascinate you, thanks to its unique volcanic spherical formations, in yellow-red colours, with smooth texture created by the mixing of volcanic lava with the waves.

Visit the archaeological site of Hephaestia, with the famous sanctuary of the Great Goddess of Lemnos, but also the restored theatre that hosts events. At the cape of Chloe you will find the great Sanctuary of Cabeiri, dedicated to Hephaestus and looking towards the Cabeirian sanctuary of Samothrace. According to mythology, Cabeiri were the children of Hephaestus and the Cabeirian Mysteries that were performed in the sanctuary were related to nature and fertility. From there you will discover the narrow opening that leads to the cave of Philoctetes, where you can also take a swim.

Traces of a petrified forest have been found on the island. The fossils are displayed in the Town Hall of Moudros, but if you go to the village of Varos you will find a fenced fossilized trunk, which was discovered relatively recently. Don’t say no to a walk in the famous wetland, with the salty lakes of Aliki, Chortarolimni and Asprolimni, where more than 30 species of rare, protected birds find shelter. You will be impressed by the pink flamingos, the herons, little egrets, lesser kestrels or chukar partridges.

In Poliochni you will find four generations of settlements from the early Bronze Age and an organized urban city with traces of what could have been the first Parliament!  Afterwards, you can swim in the nearby beach of Kokkinovrachos. It is also worth hiking to the top of Kakkavos and discovering the chapel of Panagia Kakaviotissa tucked in the rocks, a beautiful chapel, the only one in the world without a roof.

One of the most beautiful villages is Kontias tucked in a pine-covered hill, with stone mansions and half-ruined windmills. Visit the Gallery of Contemporary Balkan Art, with works of important Balkan artists who each saw Lemnos differently. There are also temporary exhibitions of Greek and foreign artists. In the lowland village of Kontopouli with its stone houses, you will find pottery and hagiography workshops. The village was a place of exile for the great Greek poet, Giannis Ritsos. 

Beaches and activities

The island has so many beaches, that you can discover a new one every day! Close to Myrina is the vast, developed beach of Thanos with thick sand and crystal-clear, blue waters, cafes, tavernas and water sports facilities. You’ll also find PlatiRiha Nera, as well as  Evgati which is a favourite among families. Keros is a stunning beach in a quiet bay with shallow waters. Zematas with its white, fine sand is a developed beach, where you can enjoy water sports. Enjoy Mikro Fanaraki with exotic waters among the lush hills or Agios Ioannis, near Kaspakas, which is calm and ideal for a wonderful sunset. Do not forget to visit Kokkina or Kokkinovracho, one of the most impressive beaches of the island, accessible through a path. Diapori is a beautiful long, sandy beach with a small taverna and can also be your starting point for hiking trails.  

Tastes of Lemnos

Enjoy the excellent, award-winning PDO wines produced on the volcanic island, such as the  white, sweet Muscat or red Limnio ("Kalampaki"). Go on the wine tasting and guided tours organized by local wineries. In the traditional distilleries, the lacaria, you shlould also try the local tsipouro and ouzo.

Accompany your wine with local famous cheeses, such as Kalathaki, named after the imprint left by the knitted wicker baskets, where the cheese is drained. Taste the flomaria (handmade pasta) and the bohtsadelia (cheese pies) and, of course, the fresh fish of the island.

To sweeten up, try the venizalika, the local sweets, that Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos was thrilled with when he visited Lemnos in 1912. It is also worth trying the samsades (crispy dessert with honey, syrup and plenty of sesame) and katimeria (syrupy sweets originating from Asia Minor, traditionally offered on the feast of Agios Dimitrios).

Traditions and events

In June, the "Philema" Gastronomy & Wine Festival takes place on the island, where the producers present Lemnos’ local products to visitors. On the 15th of August, it is worth attending the feast of Virgin Mary in the village of Tsimandria. Also in August in Moudros a great feast is held at the "Sardine Festival". If you are on the island during the Orthodox Easter, visit the picturesque Kaspaka, which has been built so that it remains invisible from pirates at sea; this is where the feast of Agios Georgios takes place.

If you love hiking, then Limnos is an ideal destination. From Myrina, take the path up to the chapel of Panagia Kakaviotissa. Start from Moudros towards a narrow elevated road by the sea, leading to Koukonisi, where an important prehistoric settlement of the island is located. For longer hikes, visit the peninsula of Fakos, a wildlife refuge, with interesting coves and deserted beaches.

Lemnos is relatively flat, which makes the island ideal for bike rides. Also, the seabed is perfect for diving.

Don't miss...

Be quiet and patient when wandering around the medieval Castle of Myrina, to see the platonia (Dama Dama), the small and friendly deer, descendants of the three deer donated to the island by the municipality of Rhodes in the 1970s.

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