Lemnos – Unexplored with 30 stunning beaches and wild mountains

Lemnos is a rather big island off the beaten tourist track in the Northern Aegean Sea. Mostly flat, fringed with more than 30 sandy bays Lemnos boasts a beautiful natural setting. In its northwest area Lemnos turns wild, rough, and mountainous. Do not miss a visit to Little Sahara aka Pachies Ammoudies, as well as the Medieval castle in Myrina and the legendary Cave of Philoctetes!

Myrina harbor and castle photo K. Vergas
Myrina harbor and castle – photograph by K. Vergas

Top 10 things to see in Lemnos

  1. Temple of Kavirio (7th century BC) and the cave of Philoctetes
  2. Sand dunes “Little Sahara” near Gomati Beach in the north of Lemnos
  3. Byzantine Castle of Myrina
  4. Ancient Poliochni – 3rd millennium BC settlement. Located 30 km from Myrina.
  5. Ancient Ifestia – important town on the island in ancient years. Named af Hephaestus, the god of fire and protector of the island.
  6. 5 beautiful windmills above the village of Kodias
  7. Panagia Kakaviotissa – small chapel built inside a cave. Located close to Thanos and Plati.
  8. Aliki Lake – habitat for emigrant and endangered species. Located near Kondopouli.
  9. Seal cave (Fokospilia) near Moudros, next to the bay of Mikro Fanaraki. Refuge for the rare seals Monachus – Monachus
  10. Cape Falakro – Red rocks and sand combined in strange formations. Located north of Atsiki.

Where is Lemnos Greece?

Map of the North Aegean Sea, Greece
Click to enlarge mapCoordinates: 39°55′N 25°15′E 

Lemnos (or Limnos in Greek) is sitting between Lesvos and Thassos in the northeastern Aegean Sea. This far from Athens, Lemnos is one of the secluded Greek islands, even during high season in the summer. This is a great destination for those of you seeking privacy and relaxation in charming traditional Greek settings. Myrina port and Plati beach may be somewhat touristy, but the rest of Lemnos offer total privacy and some of the beaches are perfect for windsurfing with the strong northwestern winds of Meltemi during summer.

How big is Lemnos Greece?

With its 477 km2 Lemnos is the 8th largest island in Greece, and its “capital” is Myrina, which also is the main harbor to which you will arrive by ferry boat. The island of Lemnos has around 17,000 inhabitants. The highest point on Lemnos is Mount Vigla in the north with 470 meters.

Lemnos – how to get there?

Lemnos International Airport “Hephaestus” receives domestic flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, Chios, Rhodes, Samos, and Lesvos. During the summer months it receives some charter flights from Heathrow in Great Britain as well. The airport of “Hephaestus” is located around 22 km from Myrina, so you will need to take a taxi for the transfers.

If you fly to the international airport in Athens you can reach Lemnos by ferry from Lavrion port, which is in the southernmost part of Attica. This trip last only 9 hours and the ferry depart all year round 3 times a week. You can also find ferries to Lemnos from Piraeus port but here the trip lasts 24 hours. Lemnos is connected by ferry with the port of Kavala during the summer months.

What to see on Lemnos?

Lemnos offers a lot of sightseeing as ancient monuments are scattered all over the island. Arriving at the harbor of Myrina you see the medieval Byzantine Castle of Myrina posing above the village and a visit here is a must. But so is Ancient Kavirio, below which you find the cave of Philoctetes, where the legendary hero was abandoned on his way to the Troyon War. Ancient Kavirio has a mystery air about it, being a place strongly related to secret religious ceremonies.  According to mythology, the ancient Greek god Hephaestus (the god of fire and a blacksmith) used to have a workshop on the island of Lemnos, and for that reason a town on the island was named Hephaestia in his honor. Lemnos Airport is named Hephaestus, as well.

Lemnos, Greece - Ancient Hephaistia
Ancient Hephaistia

On a daytrip to the eastern coast of Lemnos do not miss a visit at Ancient Poliochni, not far from Moudros. This ancient settlement dates from the beginning of the 3. Millennium BC. You will find Ancient Poliochni 30 km east of Myrina.

The oldest human settlement in the Aegean Islands

The ruins of the oldest human settlement in the Aegean Islands found so far have been unearthed in archaeological excavations on Lemnos by a team of Greek, Italian and American archaeologists at the Ouriakos site on the Louri coast of Fyssini in Moudros municipality. The excavation began in early June 2009 and the finds brought to light, consisting mainly of high-quality stone tools, are from the Epipaleolithic Period, indicating a settlement of hunters, gatherers, and fishermen of the 12th millennium BC.

What to do on Lemnos?

Windsurfing at Surf Club Keros, Lemnos

Lemnos stands out for its endless sandy beaches, its mountain villages, and its ancient sites. Conditions are perfect for windsurfing, swimming, scuba diving and of course hiking around the beautiful island. Do not miss the sand dunes of Little Sahara, or Pachia Ammoudia, in the northern part of Lemnos near Gomati Beach. The sand dunes are constantly changing shape and dimension by the northwestern winds in the Aegean Sea.
Also, go visit the picturesque mountainous villages and enjoy the local cuisine.

Lemnos, Greece - wetlands NATURA 2000
Wetlands. NATURA 2000

Weather and climate on Lemnos

The climate on the island of Lemnos is quite like the other islands in the northern part of the eastern Aegean Sea but tend to be a bit dryer. Strong winds are normal on the island, but rainfalls are extremely rare.

Average air and sea temperature in Lemnos in °C

Lemnos – trade and production

Lemnos, Greece - Myrina, view from the castle
Myrina, view from the castle

The chief towns are Myrina, on the western coast, and Moudros on the eastern shore of a large bay in the middle of the island. Myrina (also called Kastro, meaning “castle”) possesses a good harbor. It is the seat of all trade carried on with the mainland. The hillsides afford pasture for sheep, and Lemnos has a strong husbandry tradition, being famous for its feta and melipasto cheeses, and for its yoghurt. The main crops are wheat, barley, sesame; in fact, Lemnos was Constantinople’s granary during Byzantine times. Muscat grapes are grown widely and are used to produce an unusual table wine that is dry yet has a strong Muscat flavor. Since 1985 the variety and quality of Lemnos wines have increased greatly.

Why to visit Lemnos?

Lemnos, Greece - Myrina harbor, photo Spiros Salamouras
Tavern at the seafront in Myrina – Photo by Spiros Salamouras

Lemnos is an island of a special kind of beauty – a first sight it might not seem so spectacular compared to other more colorful islands, but it will win you after you get to know it. Lemnos has superb beaches, numerous archaeological sites, and a wonderful, unspoiled landscape. The traditional atmosphere of the island makes it even more appealing. Flamingos are living in the lakes on the northern part of the island. Myrina village stretches around a bay with an imposing Byzantine castle overlooking the town which is surrounded by massive formations of volcanic rock.

What’s not to like?