Limnos (Lemnos) has it all; a rich history with archaeological sites to explore, surprising unspoilt natural beauty, traditional tavernas and "Ouzuries" serving the freshest of seafood and local dishes, wineries, spectacular beaches, a vibrant social scene, nightlife and is also home to Keros Beach, one of the best wind & kite surfing destinations in Europe.
The island is the 8th largest in Greece at approx 470 square kilometres. It's generally flat over the majority of the island making it accessible and relatively easy to get around and explore. Limnos has over 30 villages throughout the island, each with it's own character and usually a taverna, cafe or winery to try out too.
History & Archaeological Sites
With it's strategic location Limnos has been an important island through history. Detailed by Homer in the Illiad, ancient Limnians worshipped Hephaestus, the God of Metallurgy. It's played host to the Byzantine & Venetian empires, while recent archaeological findings in 2009 have unearthed the oldest known human settlement in the Aegean islands, dating back to the 12th Millennium BC.
There are numerous archaeological sites to visit across the island, including the impressive Venetian fortress (Kastro) of Myrina which divides the capital between it's historical Greek & Turkish quarters. Take a walk through the cobbled stone "agora" shopping street and end up at the castle to watch the sunset as it fades behind Mt. Athos, definitely one of the best sunsets in the Med!
Some of the sites to explore are; Temple of Kavirio; was believed to have been used for religious ceremonies, similar to modern baptisms. It was discovered by an Italian archeological team in 1937 and dates from the 8th century BC.
Philoctetes Cave which is found via a path from the Temple of Kavirio is an underwater cave which is the site where legend states Philoctetes was left by on the way to the Trojan war after being bitten by a snake. Living in the cave for 10 years and using the Limnian earth to heal. Poliochni is the first settlement on the European continent, impressive! Well worth a visit as you can walk around the remains of the buildings and visit the small museum on site.
Hephaistia is a well preserved amphitheater and ancient settlement on the northern shores of the island. Dating back to the 5th century BC it was the ancient capital of the island. After preservation work from 2002, the amphitheater again hosted a performance for the first time in 2500 years in 2010!
Panagia Kakaviotissa Church was built into the mountainside by monks in the 15th century AC, in a effort to escape from invading Ottomans. Located just outside of Myrina, it's a short hike to find the church and well worth it to take in the views to the coast and surrounding mountains.
With a world-class kite surfing and windsurfing location at Keros beach, these are some of the main activities people flock to the island for. Reliable winds during summer and an 8km stretch of Caribbean like water make Keros a highlight for those into wind sports or just looking to hang out and watch some of the action. Fanaraki Studios are 20mins drive from Keros Beach and make the perfect base, or if you want to be closer to the action check out Keros Apartments.
Horse riding tours are available from the Hefaistos Farm near Plati Beach. The welcoming Vicky & Kostas take great care of their animals and have been breeding horse for many years. They'll be happy to show you around their farm and get you saddled up for a relaxing ride down to the beach or through the nearby hills. A great experience particularly for families.
Mountain Biking - if you are a keen biker and you've got your own mountain bike than bring it with you. Now with Strava, it's easy and a great way to explore Limnos. Most routes are based around Myrina but it's also possible to chart your own course as you can pick your way from village to village and not get too lost! There is a good set of challenging rides to suit all levels. You can hire TREK bikes from the friendly George's Supermarket in Kallioppi village.
Trekking & Bird Watching - OK, may not get many pulses racing but with our own salt lake, inland lakes and protected fauna on Limnos, there is a plentiful array of bird species to search for. Combine with a trek through some remote villages, stopping for a frappe or spot of lunch on the way, finishing with a swim on a quiet beach and you've got a great day out off the tourist trail!
Photography - we've lost count of the number of photos of the amazing Limnos sunsets we have taken over the years; but it still never ceases to amaze. With so much unique beauty scattered around, the whole island is a photographers dream. Bright clear days make the colours jump out and from landscapes, historical sites, interesting portraits, wildlife and sports; you'll be kept busy. Don't forget to grab a torch and head to the castle in Myrina at dusk for the best sunset shots and then do some night shooting back along the harbour and Romaikos.
Fishing - It's no surprise with the fantastic array of seafood available at the Limnian Tavernas that fishing is a popular activity here too. You can hire a small boat for the day from Manos Beach in Myrina and try your luck along the reefs and rocky headlands to the north of Myrina for a bit of spearfishing or throwing a line in. Have a chat with the locals to see what's biting at the time or ask the experts at the fishing shops near the harbour.
Kayaking & SUPing - You can hire from the surf centres at Keros or if you have your own gear it's a great way to get away from the beachfront and explore the coast, coves and secluded bays on your own. The beaches around Fanaraki and Havouli are particularly spectacular. With the new range of inflatable SUP's, they're a great addition to any travellers kit.
Car Hire is recommended for Limnos if you don't self-drive. Limnos is relatively easy to get around but also has lots of back roads that are worth exploring. Find a secret beach all on your own, a quiet taverna in a sleepy village for lunch or head out at night to one of the sea-side nightclubs till the early hours. A small 4 x 4 also gives you more options to get off the beaten track as a lot of the hard (and nicer) spots to reach are unpathed roads. It's best to book in advance as most cars are reserved during high season. Check out www.holiday-lemnos.gr
Dining & Drinking!
Where to start! It's almost impossible NOT to eat well on Limnos! The vast array of great taverna's, restaurants, cafes & bars throughout all the island's villages bring loads of variety and choice. It's usually all fresh and great value. You can eat in a different village taverna each night or wander through Myrina and choose from any of the numerous eateries along the Romeiko or the harbour area.
Start your day like a local and head to the nearest cafe for your morning coffee intake! A Frappe or Freddo will get you off on the right foot. Grab some freshly baked spanakopita and tyropita to go and you're all set.
Myrina is the place to head for a night out with a number of cocktail bars that usually get going about 11 and don't stop till the sun comes up.
In recent years Greek wines have made a welcome return to the mainstream market and there are now a number of commercial vineyards producing fantastic wine on Limnos. Cellar doors are open and you can call in, try some wines and choose a bottle to take with you.
If there is a best kept secret for Limnos, than it must be our amazing beaches. Shallow crystal clear waters, perfect sandy beaches and a choice of busy or quiet locations. They say there is over 100 beaches on Limnos and although we haven't counted, we've lost count of the number of great beaches we've spent our summer days on.
From the famous Keros Beach, with it's kite surfing, to quiet coves just for yourself or a number of "organised" beaches with bars and sun lounges, there is plenty of choice and if you want to stay away from the crowds, it's easy to achieve.
Limnos is easy to get to and has frequent ferry schedules from Athens and also Kavala in the north as well as nearby islands. Regular charter flights during the summer link the island directly with UK, Bulgaria, Italy, Holland and Czech Rep. (schedules may change seasonally so please check).
Scheduled flights operate daily from Athens, Thessaloniki & nearby islands. If you need any further info just drop us a line.