Greek Guide

Limnos Island Greece Guide Limnos

Limnos Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Limnos is one of the Greek North Eastern Aegean Islands located midway between the Athos Peninsula on mainland Greece and the west coast of Turkey near the Straits of the Dardanelles. The island's strategic location means it has long been an important military base and it's still home to a large air force contingent. The islanders' reliance on the military rather than foreign visitors as a source of income, coupled with the relative remoteness of Limnos, have enabled the island to remain virtually unscathed by mass tourism. But increasing numbers of foreign holidaymakers are now arriving on Limnos attracted by the tranquility of the place, its many fine beaches and important archaeological sites.

During high season there are regular Olympic Airways flights connecting Limnos with Athens, Thessaloniki and Lesvos. The new civilian airport is 19 kilometres east of the capital Myrina and shares a runway with the island's air force base. There are regular ferry services to and from the mainland ports of Kavala, Rafina, Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis. Hydrofoil services to the mainland via Samothraki are less frequent and tend to be unreliable.

If you're coming by boat you'll arrive at Myrina on the west coast a bustling port town dominated by the ruins of a 13th century Venetian castle. The town may not be one of the prettiest in the Aegean but it retains its essentially Greek character without the proliferation of tourist trappings which have dented the charm of so many island capitals. Old fashioned "kafeneia" bars (the social hub of traditional Greek society) line the cobbled streets along with whitewashed stone houses, imposing Turkish mansions and back street shops selling local produce such as island wine and herbal honey. Limnos is a volcanic island and the richness of its soil allows for the production of some excellent wines, particularly dry white, rose and retsina.

Myrina's archaeological museum contains finds from the island's three ancient sites including Poliochni, a fortified town founded on a clifftop on the east coast around 3000 BC. Italian excavators are still working on the site which has yielded evidence of one of the most advanced Neolithic civilisations in the Aegean, predating the ancient city of Troy in Turkey. You can visit Poliochni and the island's two other important archaeological sites Hephaistia on the shores of remote Tigani Bay in the north and the nearby Sanctuary of the Kabeiroi (the Great Gods).

The island's coastline is peppered with long, sandy beaches and you'll always be able to find a quiet stretch as long as you're prepared to travel a short distance from the capital.

You really need to hire a car, jeep or motorbike to get the most out of this island with its many remote, undeveloped bays and varied landscape which consists of barren hills in the west and low lying farmland and marshes in the east. The east coast lakes are home to flamingoes (and a target for duck hunters) while the rolling hills of the interior are speckled with oaks, jujube, myrtle, poplar and mulberry trees.