Greece Best Islands of the Eastern Aegean

Lesvos (Lesbos) is the largest island of the North-Eastern Aegean and is a very attractive and beautiful island with wonderful beaches, picturesque villages, friendly inhabitants, thermal springs and interesting architecture. Despite tourism, the inhabitants of the island of Lesvos have managed to keep their tradition and customs. It is famous for its excellent ouzo and for being the birthplace of the female poet Sappho.The island of Lesvos is mentioned in various myths.

It is supposed to own its name from the brother-in-law of Makaras, the son of Helios, personification of the sun. The island is also mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. According to another myth, the famous lyre-player and singer Orpheus, whose music was moving every living soul on earth, was killed by the Maenads (followers of the god of the vine called Menades in Greek) who got infuriated by the fact that Orpheus managed to move them.

They dismembered his body and threw the pieces in the Evros River. The head and lyre of Orpheus were brought by the waves to Lesvos and washed ashore. In a sign of devotion, the inhabitants of the island put them in the Temple of Apollo.Mytilene is the capital and main port of Lesvos and lies on the eastern coast of the island, opposite the shores of Turkey. It is built like an amphitheater on seven hills and is composed of various areas, old neighborhoods and picturesque suburbs.

Mytilene is the artistic, commercial and industrial centre of the island with a population of about 25,000. It is a beautiful town full of superb mansions, colorful houses, squares, impressive churches and pleasant cafes. It has every thing to offer in terms of accommodations and entertainment.To really experience the traditional Lesvos you need to get out to the villages. The village of Agiassos has about 3000 inhabitants and lies west of Mytilene.

It is easily one of the most picturesque and beautiful villages of the island, nestled in the verdant slopes of Mount Olimbos. The inhabitants of the village are keeping their traditions and customs, preserving the local colours of Agiassos. The village is famous for its fine potteries and woodcarvings that can be bought from the popular art shops. The narrow alleys, the flowered balconies and the houses with impressive wooden "Turkish style" balconies form superb scenery.

Accommodations are readily available at Agiassos.A well-preserved Byzantine castle is overlooking Mithymna, proudly standing on the top of a hill. The official name of this village is Mithymna, which is its ancient name, but locals refer to it as Molivos. It is located on the northernmost part of Lesvos and is a traditional place, attracting thousands of visitors with its beauty. The village is full of houses built with heavy stones, with colored shutters. Narrow alleys are winding around the traditional houses, the public Turkish-style fountains and the superb mansions with their wonderful frescoed ceilings.

Ikaria is another unspoiled verdant island lying in the northeastern Aegean. Ikaria is named after the famous myth of Ikaros who drowned in the surrounding sea when he tried to fly as far as the gods and got burn by the sun. Beautiful Ikaria is still very traditional and has numerous beauties to offer to visitors such as waterfalls, streams, sandy and pebble beaches, dense forests and picturesque villages.Lemnos lies between Samothraki to the west and the ancient site of Troy in Turkey to the east. Still unspoiled by high tourism, Lemnos is a very attractive and authentic island. It is a magical place with superb beaches, numerous archaeological sites and a wonderful, unspoiled landscape.

The traditional atmosphere of the island makes it even more appealing. Flamingos can be found living in the lakes on the northern part.The very attractive villages of the island of Lemnos are one of its main attractions and beauties. They have kept their local colors and atmosphere. Most of those villages and small towns are full of traditional houses and mansions with tiled or slated roofs and colored or whitewashed walls. Even the capital of the island, Myrina, is traditional and attractive.

The architecture consists of neoclassical style buildings in narrow alleys and climbing steps. They have slates or tiles on their roofs and some have the Ottoman style wooden balconies.The beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches of the Aegean Islands. They have incredibly clear and clean waters, varying from deep blue to azure and the majority are completely unspoiled by human hand.

Samos is the most visited island of the north-eastern Aegean Islands. It is a particularly green island which, despite the catastrophic fires which burned an important part of it, has kept a big part of its impressively green forests. Samos has busy resorts, crowded beaches, an intensive nightlife but secluded coves, picturesque villages and peaceful places can also be found.

The areas of Vathy, Karlovassi, Kokkari and Pythagorio are the hot spots with modern and lively bars and nightclubs.Thassos is an attractive island with beautiful sandy beaches and traditional villages with incredible mountain vistas. Thassos is an ideal island for those seeking peacefulness and a beautiful natural environment; but it also has busier places, more touristy beaches and like Samos, a quite intense nightlife. In a few words, the island of Thassos in Greece is perfect for everyone and has a lot to offer.The small town of Limenas (also called Thassos) is the capital and main port.

It is located on the northern coast of the island, on the site of the ancient city of Thassos and most of the population of the island lives there. The old port is very picturesque as is the ancient marketplace. Old churches like the one dedicated to Saint Nicholas are situated there as well as the monastery of Vatopediou which rises in the middle of the dock and is the symbol of Limenas.

.Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Travel.

By: Michael Russell

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