How to move around Lesbos

Public transport and roads on Lesbos are generally good but driving can be tiring on such a large and mountainous island. Although there are no express ways, roads are usually uncongested.

Those heading into the mountains will find that roads can narrow quickly and the surface deteriorate.Car rental is available in most of the larger resorts or you can book online.

Lesbos buses

Lesbos has two bus stations in Mytilini. The station based at the harbour car park runs services to the city suburbs, to the airport and to Thermi in the north.

Cross-island services based at Mytilini’s main square are operated by KTEL. The main routes are to to Petra and Molivos with journey times of about two hours.

Local services connect more remote villages to the main routes but timetables can be unreliable.

Regular buses link Mytilene with Ipio, Sikounda, Agiassos, Vassilika, Lisvori, Polichnitos, Vrissa, Vatera, Kato Tritos, Paleokipos, Plakados, Papades, Skopelos, Trigonas, Plagia, Plomari, Kaloni, Filia, Skalohori, Vatoussa, Andissa, Eressos, Sigri, Petra, Mithymna, Agia Paraskevi, Parakila, Agra, Messotopos, Mistegna, Nees Kidonies, Mandamados and Klio

Timetables are usually published at Lesbos Online but I can’t vouch for the accuracy.

Lesbos taxis

Taxi ranks are found at the airport and in Mytilene town centre near the country bus station.

Taxis are usually painted silver or yellow and are found at all the main resorts such as Petra, Molivos and Kalloni.

Most villages will have at least one local taxi driver on call in the main square. Outside the capital, drivers may prefer not to use a meter but will charge about one euro per kilometre.

Always agree a price before getting in. Typical inter-village taxis fares are found at Lesbos Taxi Service which operates all over the island and claims cheap rates for island excursions

Lesbos car hire

Lesbos car hire

To get the most out of the fascinating island of Lesbos and all it has to offer you really need to hire a car for at least a few days of your stay here.

The island is about 70 kilometres by 45 kilometres at its widest points – so scooters and mountain bikes are not as convenient here as on the smaller islands if you want to explore beyond the immediate environs of your resort area.

There are plenty of car hire firms in the capital Mytilini though you might find it cheaper to rent a vehicle in Mithymna or Skala Eresou if you’re staying in either of those areas.

With the benefit of your own transport you’ll be free to tour the island’s lovely hill top villages, monasteries, thermal springs and numerous beaches. If you’re travelling independently rather than with a tour group you’ll be able to bed down for a night or two in different areas of the island to give yourself plenty of time to explore each region.

If you rent a car in Mytilini and you’re an art lover your first stop will be the tiny village of Varia, four kilometres south of the capital. This was the home of the famous early 20th century painter Theophilus Hadzimichali whose work, much of which portrays the life of the island’s farmers and fishermen, is on display at the Theophilus Museum. The next-door Teriade Museum houses an awesome collection of works by some of the greatest masters of the last century including Picasso, Chagall and Matisse.

Another easy excursion by car from Mytilini is the lovely hill town of Agiassos, 28 kilometres south west of the capital. This is probably the most picturesque settlement on the island, nestling in a wooded valley in the shadow of Mount Olymbos, the island’s highest peak. It’s a delightful concoction of cobbled lanes, stone houses, a medieval castle and authentic craft shops selling locally made pottery and hand-carved wooden items.

If you’re staying in the south coast beach resort of Vatera you’ll be able to hire a car locally.

Those staying elsewhere on the island might be interested to make a day trip here to visit the local beaches and the nearby Museum of Natural History which has a fascinating display of fossils dating back some 5.5 million years.

The fossils of various creatures including elephants, giraffes and hippopotami have been found in the area around the Gulf of Yera which was a sub-tropical lake in prehistoric times.

A few hours spent in the northern village of Mithymna (also known as Molyvos) is a must for most visitors because this rates as one of the most delightful towns on the island with its ornate houses arranged in tiers up the hillside topped by a Byzantine castle.

From Mithymna you can drive over to the island’s rocky, barren western corner where you’ll find a petrified forest of sequoia trees which were turned to stone after a volcanic explosion thought to have taken place up to 20 million years ago.

The west coast is home to the popular resort of Skala Eresou, built over the ancient city of Eresos