Greek Guide

 

Limnos Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

Spend lazy days on tranquil Limnos exploring the countryside, visiting ancient archaeological sites and whiling away the hours in the island's excellent fish tavernas. This isn't the place for an action packed fortnight but this laid back island has the power to seduce you with its own special charm.

Set aside a few hours to get to know the island's west coast capital Myrina which remains mercifully unscathed by the ravages of mass tourism. This port town offers a collection of cobbled streets, old fashioned and very "Greek" kafeneia, imposing Ottoman mansions and 19th century houses with overhanging wooden balconies. The main shopping street is lined with interesting shops offering local produce such as honey, nuts and island wine. And above it all looms a crumbling Byzantine castle.

Visit the town's archaeological museum to see finds from the three excavated sites at the eastern end of the island. The museum is housed in a neoclassical mansion overlooking the beach next to Hotel Castor. Sadly, many of the most interesting items have been claimed by Athens but the collection is still worth viewing and benefits from good presentation and labeling (which is far from being the case in many Greek museums).

Exhibits include pottery from Poliochni, a fortified town founded around 3,000 BC and razed to the ground by an earthquake 900 years later. Gold jewellery and bronze household items from the site of Hephaistia are also on display. Hephaistia was once the most important city on the island, dedicated to Hephaistos the god of fire and metalworking who was reputedly hurled over to the island from Mount Olympus by an irate Zeus. Votive lamps fashioned as sirens are the star exhibits among the finds excavated at the site.

Take a trip up to the ruined castle on the headland because although it's in a poor state of repair the views all the way over to Mount Athos on the Greek mainland are magnificent. The Byzantine ruins stand on the site of a 7th century BC fortress wear sturdy shoes to explore the site and look out for the deer which are the only occupants these days.

Having visited the archaeological museum you may want to make the trip out to the east of the island to see the three ancient sites where excavations are still ongoing. The ruins at Poliochni are hard to make out for non specialists so take a brochure from the museum with you. If you're lucky the Italian excavators may be on site and willing to give you a guided tour.

The sites of Hephaistia and Kabireio, on opposite shores of Tigani Bay in the north east corner of the island, are also difficult to make sense of unless you're an archaeologist but if you swat up on their history you're bound to be moved by these evocative ancient ruins. Below the Kabeirio site you can visit the sea grotto known as the Spilia tou Filoktiti (Cave of Philoctetes). This is where the warrior Philoctetes, a hero of the Trojan War, allegedly took refuge while waiting for his gangrenous, snake bitten leg to heal.

If you're running short of sights to see on Limnos, take a day trip from Myrina to the little known island of Agios Efstratios one of the loneliest and remote spots in the Aegean. The island offers traffic free tranquility, deserted beaches and a traditional way of life untouched by tourism.