Lemnos (Greek: Λήμνος, Limnos) is an island in the Northern Aegean Islands of Greece.
Inhabited since paleolithic age, the ancient myths dedicated Lemnos to the fire god Hephaestus and the hero Philoctetes. As a fertile island located at a key position west of the straits, lots of people throughout history found interest in capturing its benefits.
Main Town and Villages
The small port of Myrina and the relatively spacious airport serve the increasing transportation needs of the island.
Flights and ferries' routes often change within a year, reaching a peak during summer. Regularly there are one or two flights a day, from and to Athens, and extra charters in summertime tourist season. Ferries change their routes monthly, there is a minimum of 4-5 ships a week, usually departing from the ports of Lavrio (Athens), Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Kavala (North Greece). It is about a 40 minutes' flight from Athens airport, and the ferries need about 14 hours from the port of Piraeus to cover the distance and 8 hours from the port of Lavrio. From the port of Kavala it takes about 4,5 hours and from Thessaloniki about 6,5 hours
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.
It takes about twenty minutes on foot from the port (always under construction) of St. Nikolaos area to the town center. (St. Nikolaos is the chapel you see from ferry situated on a hill looking down the port). A minibus recently started routes between them for passengers' convenience.
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". 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.
Visit the castle for a breath-taking view of the island, especially when visibility is clear, so you can see Chalkidiki peninsula (Mount Athos) and other surrounding islands, like Samothrace, Imvros etc.
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.
The landscape is rough, consisted of grass and barren rock low hills, vineyards and wheat fields, and almost void of forest trees. Yellow ochre is the characteristic summertime color. The northwest part is more elevated, and sand dune formations appear near the north coast.
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 theater is also available for performance art groups or feature film shows.
Probably the positive aspect of Limnos is that it is not tainted by mass tourism. It is a safe, friendly, quiet - yet not isolated - and hospitable place, ideal for family vacations, preserving its natural simplicity.
A handful of sandy beaches within short distance from Myrina are very rewarding during summertime, most found at the south and west coasts, unaffected by the usual strong winds blowing from northeast: Riha Nera, Platy, Thanos, Evgatis. Moreover, Gomati to the north and Keros to the east.
Recreational water sports and bicycle on the flat lands gain popularity year by year. The Aegean Regatta of 2010, a popular boat race, set off from Limnos in August 21st. The geographical and wind characteristics at the beach of Keros are perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing, and there are people practicing even in the winter. In case of something really stressless, there is a modest neat spa, utilizing the hot mineral spring at Therma in mainland.
Although there are some camping restrictions, it is no way uncommon. You can also join with people doing their afternoon walks on the roads outside Myrina, or trekking in the country just to reach a chapel on the top (like the path to Kakaviotissa chapel at Thanos), or summer evening bonfires on the sandy seaside.
Few archeological sites, even dating back to the paleolithic age, such as Poliochni (Πολιόχνη) and Hephaestia (Ηφαιστεία), scattered over the island, should be included in overall sightseeing. 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.
It is relaxing to stroll on the picturesque quay of Romeikos Gialos in Myrina or at the port gazing at the reflections of the castle in the sea, with restaurants and cafes to sit nearby.
An attraction for many visitors from the neighboring islands and provinces is the hunting season in late October. Hunting the overpopulated wild rabbits is currently allowed all the year. Despite this fact, the migration of many eye-attractive bird species, such as flamingos, has not been threatened at all. Provided that they completely avoid the northeastern habitats protected by the adapted EU law, hobbyists delight in fishing or diving in the lively surrounding crystal waters.
Another tourist attraction is a small ship touring the island, sometimes including a short time visit to the islet of Agios Efstratios, southwest.
The Market Street (Agora) of Myrina is worth walking to cover everyday shopping needs.
Local economy based also in agriculture, offers a variety of farming and dairy products, with a distinctively good quality of wine. The Muscat of Alexandria is heavily cultivated, ask about and taste its white wine.
Clothing and jewelery shops also deserve some attention.
Lemnos is a most appropriate place for a fulfilling meal. The taverns found in almost every village offer simple-styled but plenty seafood and meat dishes, variants with the goods from the island inspired from the overall Greek cuisine. Residents prefer a 20-minutes drive to either the boat dock of Kotsinas for fish taverns by the sea, to Tsimandria for roast and wine, or ascend upto Sardes for traditional local recipes (try rooster with handmade pasta). In Myrina however, a couple of restaurants are more challenging, even specializing in Italian style.
You can go for a drink in most cafes in Myrina, shifting to small bars at night, at the quay of Romeikos Gialos, at the quay facing the port, or uphill near the castle. Try also Moudros, Kotsinas and Diapori in summer.
Most accommodation services are provided by small apartments, pensions and traditional villas; high rated (3 to 5 stars) hotels at Platy, Androni and Myrina. Early booking with a fax or e-mail is suggested for late July and August. For sophisticated travellers there is a brand new traditional hotel 4* in Varos village, in the middle of the island, next to Kotsinas bay.
Internet access for a visitor is available in most places, hotels and cafes, everywhere, even on the beach!
Limnos hosts a hospital in Myrina; apart from this, many of the villages also host drugstores, even private clinics. The airport hosts a Search-And-Rescue helicopter, which does regularly exercises near Myrina, and serves military aircrafts as well, so it is forbidden to take pictures from the airport area.
Nightlife is seasonal, small beach bars and night clubs open from mid-June till early September. However restaurants, fish taverns and leisure cafes serve till late night all the year.