Activities on Lesvos and Chios
As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Lesvos & Chios, here's our pick of activities.
These islands are outdoor playgrounds and their rolling landscapes and secret valleys are perfect for exploring by mountain bike, horseback or on foot. Then swap leafy glades for aquamarine waters and head to the coast to swim, kayak or dive in the crystal-clear waters. Aghios Isidoros beach on Lesvos and Apothika beach on Chios are both wonderful places to take a dip and watch little fish flit about in the reefs.
From bird watching and hiking around the Petrified Forest in Lesvos to spotting dragonflies and heading out for charming woodland hikes in Chios, you'll find your perfect day out in our activity guide.
Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Lesvos & Chios:
Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities
Activities on Lesvos & Chios
Walk around Mytiline Castle, Lesvos
One of the largest castles in the Mediterranean, Mytiline's fortress was erected by Roman Emperor Justinian I and liberally remodelled by the Gattilusi family and the Ottomans. Now the remains of the castle are a historical treasure trove of different times and peoples. High above the hubbub of the island's main town, it's a quiet and endlessly interesting place to discover, full of curiosities, from the sarcophagi in the central courtyard to the underground crypts.
Ippos Horseriding, Molyvos
It’s wonderful to explore the rolling countryside of Lesvos on horseback. Rita Michalaki's yard, Ippos, offers rides on quiet horses to some of the island's most beautiful spots, including longer treks from Molyvos to Petra or gallops along Eftalou beach Sometimes Zara, her Alsatian, trots behind. Riding lessons and riding holidays are also available.
Cycling with Lesvos Ride
The Chatzelis family, who run Lesvos Ride, say their island is the best place to mountain bike in Europe, and they may be right – 280 km of paths and single tracks criss-cross through Lesvos's stunning scenery, making it a playground for those on two wheels. Lesvos Ride is a new company keen to show visitors how to zip about and explore with certified (and fun-loving) guides and offers bike rides for everyone from beginners and families to seasoned pros.
Petrified Forest Hike in Sigri
This UNESCO site is a bizarre, prehistoric must-see. Twenty million years ago Lesvos was a tropical land and one of its volcanoes spewed ash and covered the forests. The ash slowly replaced organic materials in trees and plants with thermal liquid, perfectly fossilising them. Now huge, ancient trees are ‘petrified’ in stone. Hike around the forest and see enormous sequoia now made of beautifully coloured rock, and head to Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest in nearby Sigri to learn more about this incredible phenomenon.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours, Nisiopi
The island of Nisiopi sits, empty and inviting, across the water from the village of Sigri. When the wind isn't too high you can take lazy tours around the islet on a glass bottom boat, peering down through the crystal clear water to look for the stone fossils of ancient olive trees in the underwater petrified forest. The island is uninhabited but wildlife is abundant and as well as petrified trunks you’ll discover wild flowers, insects and birds. Boats to the island are laid on by the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest and leave from Sigri's harbour.
Birdwatching, Kalloni Wetlands
The salt pools at Kalloni, in the centre of the island, are a birdwatcher's heaven. You can walk out on the edge of this set of manmade lakes to spot an incredible array of wild birds, including gawky pink flamingoes and little egrets. You can go it alone but it's far more fun to take a guided walk with local naturalist Eleni Galinou, who will bring her hefty binoculars and help you identify everything you see.
Dragonfly Walks, Armolia
Chios may be small but it's stuffed with rare wild things, from 100 species of orchid to one of the world's most prized dragonflies, the Blade Tail. English naturalist Mike Taylor successfully created the first dragonfly sanctuary in Greece at a reservoir on the island and now offers guided walks and photography trips to seek out these delicate insects. From Armolia it's a short walk to the small reservoir, where colourful dragonflies dart about on the surface of the water. Mike also organises orchid tours, having quite literally written the book on local species.
Masticulture Tours, Chios
The charming Vassilis Ballas is a local guide specialising in eco-friendly tours and the history of mastic, a once-priceless sap that has been harvested since ancient times on the island. He'll take you for a fact-filled walk around the walled town of Mesta, followed by an evening ramble out into the countryside. You'll learn how to harvest mastic from wizened trees in a shady grove, and then it's time for dinner. Vassilis hunts down the best local produce: rich cheese, grapes, olive oil and almond-stuffed figs and serves it with a glass or two of sweet Chiot wine in a fairytale picnic under the trees.
Jam Tasting at Citrus Museum
In the cool orange glades of the Kambos region is the Citrus Museum, housed in an old manor house. The centre pays homage to a time when Chiot tangerines were literally worth their weight in gold and the citrus trade boomed as this luxury fruit was traded around the world. Citrus Chios now makes jams and preserves, and tastings of a myriad incredible flavours are held in the museum's shop. Try a spoonful of their fig marmalade with a coffee under the lemon trees.
Climbing and Hiking, Rahtis
Local nature club FEOX organises group climbing and hiking trips; climbers can take to the rock walls in Rahtis to climb with ropes or try their hand at bouldering whilst hikers can hit the Parathiri trail that meanders up to a high mountain pass scented with wild herbs. The views of the sea from the top are stunning.
Hiking from Avgonima
Walk along centuries-old Byzantine paths with guide George Missetzis, who has a huge depth of knowledge about local land. After a ramble through pine trees and over hills to the coastline you'll be an expert on medicinal herbs, Chiot trees and other natural wonders. Then it's time to watch the sun set over the ocean and finish up with a well-deserved glass of ouzo by a beach.
For ideas of local food and drink, visitor attractions and outdoor activities, see our