Greentraveller's Guide to Lesvos and Chios, Greece
Words by Sian Lewis, videography by Alex Cantouris.
Artwork for Greentraveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards
Foreword by Christina Kalogera, Director Greece National Tourism Organisation, UK & Ireland
The Greek islands have been a destination favourite for UK holidaymakers over the decades but there are still so many of them under the radar, such as the North Aegean Islands close to the Asia Minor Coast.
This complex of Greek islands – in the north eastern Aegean Sea – consists of five larger islands, namely Ikaría, Sámos, Límnos, Lésvos, Chíos, and 8 smaller ones, including Áyios Efstrátios, Áyios Minás, Antípsara, Thýmaina, Oinoússes, Samiopoúla, Foúrnoi and Psará.
Most notable perhaps and with direct flights from the UK (London, Manchester and Birmingham) is Lesvos and the nearby island of Chios; just a short ferry ride away.
Lesvos is the third-largest island in Greece and a destination in its own right featuring stunning castles and traditional villages, mountain walks and forests, pristine natural landscapes - including a petrified forest, a golden coastline with azure waters, and a poeticism dating back to ancient Greek poetess Sappho. The island is also famous for its excellent bird-watching locations as well as for its ouzo production.
Nearby Chios – with a history dating back to the Saracene pirates and the Greek Revolution – also claims to be the birthplace of Homer. Its diverse landscape ranges from lush mountains in the north to the citrus-grove plains of Kampos with its picturesque mansions in the centre and the fertile Mastihohoria (or Mastic villages) in the south – the only place in the world where mastic trees grow. Mastic is cultivated entirely by hand and is nowadays used for gastronomic, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes.
With so many undiscovered and commanding treasures waiting to be discovered both islands are sure to captivate the most discerning of travellers whether interested in nature, soft adventure, history, architecture, arts and crafts or just simply good food and wine!
This Greentraveller’s Guide to Lesvos and Chios gives us a fantastic opportunity to showcase another gem of our country.
What our writer discovered in Lesvos and Chios
A foodie tour of Chios
Sian Lewis explores the tastes of the island of Chios, from fragrant tangerines to treasured mastic sap.
The Great Outdoors of Lesvos
Exploring the lush valleys and inviting coastline of Lesvos on foot, by bike and on horseback.
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places on Lesvos and Chios
Written by Sian Lewis
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay
Blue = Places to eat
Yellow = Attractions
Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
- Lesvos is home to more than 1400 plant species and Chios has over 30 rare orchids
- Chios is the putative birthplace of ancient Greek poet Homer - he's sometimes referred to as 'the man from Chios'
- Over 11 million olive trees thrive on the island of Lesvos
- Some of Chios' most prized products, including mastic sap and tangerines, were highly coveted and lead to multiple pirate attacks on the island
- Lesvos is home to an annual international Women's Festival, held in September
- At Chiot weddings they don't break china plates, but the bride does have to dance with every single member of each family