Lemnos Island – secluded beaches, whitewashed chapels, fried octopus, Greece
After I returned from Thassos Island, I rested in Batix Multiplex Camping in Kavala for one day. For dinner, I had delicious mussels saganaki with tomato sauce and feta cheese. Besides, I had my pitch surrounded by a green fence, sunbeds, pristine warm water, and straw umbrellas at choice. I enjoyed the campground but I had to move on and go to Lemnos Island, my next destination.
The first day on Lemnos Island
Short Description: I took the morning ferry from Kavala Port to Myrina, on Lemnos Island. There, I went directly to the unofficial camping site near Keros Beach. After that, I explored the area, including the only taverna in Kalliopi.
In Kavala port, I witnessed the endless loading and unloading of cars and trucks on the ferry for Lemnos Island. Eventually, we left the port half an hour later than scheduled. The trip lasted five hours anyway, so it didn’t matter so much that we were delayed. The ferry stopped first in Myrina (Lemnos Island, where I got off), then headed to Mytilinos (Lesbos Island) and would reach Piraeus Port (Athens) only the following day.
When I arrived in Myrina, I headed to Keros Beach right away. I knew that there was an unofficial campsite in a pine forest near Keros Beach. On the road from Myrina to Keros, I stopped at a stand with fruit and vegetables and bought two melons. I got lost in several villages, but when I asked “Kalliopi?,” someone always showed me the right direction. The unofficial campsite sat between Kalliopi village and Keros Beach. It was full of tents and cars, even though there was a sign with a ‘forbidden tent‘ drawn on it just across the road. After that, I went to eat fried sprat at the Aneose Taverna, the only taverna in Kalliopi village. Later, in the afternoon, I went to Keros Beach and watched the surfers.
The second day on Lemnos Island
Short Description: I left Keros and went to the northeastern part of the island. I passed through Panagia and Plaka, and when I reached Port Plakas, I came back. I made a detour to the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi, and then to the ancient theater of Hephaistia. From Kontopouli, I headed toward the southeastern part of the island. I passed Romanou and stopped at the Neolithic site of Poliohni. After that, I continued toward Skandali and Fisini. I twisted my ankle at Moni Agios Sozon, so I had to search for a pharmacy in Moudros.
I decided to explore the eastern side of Lemnos Island and headed toward its northeastern part first. From Kalliopi village, I reached the main road and turned right toward Port Plaka. Small white chapels were scattered through the landscape, almost on every hilltop or bay. In Panagia village, Greek men lined up at a taverna facing the street. A peddler drove his car through the village and shouted his melon offer in a megaphone.
In the next village, in Plaka, other old men lined up at another taverna in the street. In a small square next to the main church, an old woman gently rocked a baby to sleep while she was walking the cart along the sloping streets with stone houses. I quickly reached the end of Lemnos Island in Port Plakas, where local people kept their boats tied up in a small wharf. There were no houses but only a secluded beach with umbrellas and soft music.
From Port Plakas, I went back and made the first detour toward the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi at Cape Chloe. I drove through hamlets with stone houses and then even through a former tourist village with dilapidated houses.
The archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi included: the ruins of a telesterion dating back to the Archaic and Hellenistic era, a smaller telesterion dating back to the late Roman era, and some remnants of the ancient fortifications. The Kabeiroi Gods were worshiped as gods of fertility, wine, and sea. The rituals lasted nine days and during this time frame, all fires on the island were quenched. Meanwhile, a ship brought back the light from Delos, the Island of Light. Filoctetes Cave sat at the lower part of the Kabeiroi archaeological site and could be reached only coming from the sea. A group of children jumped in the water from the rocks and they could enter the cave this way.
From the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi, I came back to the main road and drove toward the south for a while. Soon, I made a new detour toward the Ancient Theatre of Hephaistia. The road going to the theater was a dirt off-road track. Here and there, it even had thick layers of sand. At one point, I had to drive across a beach to avoid a place where a few people worked on the road. The theater in Hephaistia had modest dimensions and preserved elements dating back to all the stages of its construction, from the Archaic and Hellenistic periods to the late Roman period.
From Hephaistia I returned to the main road and stopped in the small town of Kontopouli. The town had a hillside square animated by terraces disposed around a church. The streets of the town were steep and narrow. For this reason, I often had to squeeze with the car between very close houses. From Kontopouli, I continued toward Romanou featuring (beside stone houses) former stone windmills on a hilltop.
I drove toward the southern part of the island to the Neolithic site of Poliohni. The site sat just across from ancient Troy. Poliohni flourished throughout the first and middle Bronze Age and archaeologists say it had 1500 inhabitants. The site included the ruins of the old fortification wall, a well in the main square, rectangular houses made of stone (megarons), and paved streets – all of them very well preserved.
From Poliohni, I meandered among arid brown hills toward the south and glimpsed the blue sea at the horizon. I stopped in Fisini village – a small village with deserted houses and a white church with an isolated clock tower. Further, Skandali village marked the end of the paved road. Two white chapels seemed to watch the village from a hilltop, and colorful flowers animated the window frames of a few whitewashed houses. My car got stuck on an abrupt street until a Greek man showed up when he heard me blowing the horn. He finally moved his car from the middle of the road and I could pass.
When I came back from the southern part of the island, I made a quick detour to Moni Agios Sozon monastery – an incredible white monastery, entirely locked though. I twisted my ankle while I was searching for a spring with so-called holy water, so I had to come back to the car right away. After that, I went to Moudros, the second town of Lemnos Island, but there I couldn’t find any pharmacy open. The courtyard of the main church in Moudros was full of people, and a priest went to the house of a dying man with the Communion cup. I walked very slowly because of my twisted ankle but I still stopped at the military cemetery of the 1915 Campaign from Galliopoli.
In the evening, I returned to Keros Beach where I desperately studied my ankle, which was swelling up pretty quickly. When I came back to the campsite in the pine forest, I displayed all medicines from my medical kit on the car and noticed that I didn’t have any anti-inflammatory cream.
The third day on Lemnos Island
Short Description: I left Keros and finally found a pharmacy in Kontopouli. I passed Romanou and went toward the eastern side of the island. Further, I passed Portianos and Kontias, and then swam and sunbathed at Nevgatis Beach. I stopped in Thanos and then in Myrina. After a short break, I continued toward the northwestern part of the island, going through Kaspakes, Dafni, and Atsiki. In the afternoon, I stopped at the beach in Kotsinas and then returned to the campsite in Keros.
I decided to explore the western side of the island and left toward Myrina. I had a hard time finding an open pharmacy in Kontopouli and after buying anti-inflammatory cream, I desperately massaged my sore ankle. After that, I continued to Myrina, passed the airport, and turned left toward the south. I stopped in Portianos village, where Greeks sipping their coffee at the local taverna already animated the main square. I got stuck with my car on a very narrow street but eventually, I managed to turn right, moving the car back and forth several times. On the outskirts of the village, I went to the Military Cemetery in Portianos, dedicated to the victims of the war between the British Army and the Turks in 1918 (until the Moudros Armistice).
From Portianos, I drove toward the south and stopped in Kontias village, which had countless narrow sloping streets flanked by stone houses with blue shutters. At the edge of the village, I went up to the former windmills. Two of them were rehabilitated as a museum and five as a luxurious hotel of a Dutch company. The woman from the front desk showed me an apartment from a restored mill. The apartment had a kitchenette and a small bathroom on the ground floor and a double bed on the first floor.
On the road to Myrina, I stopped for a short break at Nevgatis Beach, where I swam and sunbathed for a while. The secluded beach sat between two villages and two small mountains. There were only a few people on the beach and a bar with relaxing music. I felt revitalized by the good swim in the sea and headed to Thanos village, where I walked along the typical steep streets lined with whitewashed stone houses. The gardens of the houses were full of lush greenery and almost invited me to relax in their shade.
In Myrina, I had a hard time finding a parking place in the historic center. The pedestrian street with shops and restaurants was the only attraction in the old part of the town. It was covered with pergolas and climbing plants, and in the afternoon, all shops and terraces were closed. In the evening, the atmosphere changed, though, and all the shops and eateries reopened. I hiked up to the ruins of the Genovese fortress, which had countless bastions at each corner of the walls. The ancient fortress was a good lookout toward both the touristic old port with tavernas and the new part of the town along the seafront.
From Myrina, I drove toward Keros Beach but I made a detour through the villages in the northeastern part of the island. I quickly passed through Kaspakes village. There, I had to be creative to somehow cross the labyrinth of narrow sloping streets. In Kornos village, I got lost again but I inevitably found the main road on the main street covered with vines. Further, I meandered among arid hills, where the road constantly snaked along nameless valleys. From time to time, households with goats appeared here and there.
I passed Sardes village and saw only orchards or fields along the road. The most northern point I reached was Dafni village, where children called me, waved at me, and laughed loudly. The village suddenly ended after passing a solid stone church, and the small center covered with climbing plants created a welcoming shade. I continued toward Atsiki village, where tavernas with little-square tablecloths packed out the main square with no people at that hour though.
I drove straight toward Keros Beach and hoped to catch the last sun rays. Suddenly, at the horizon, I eyed the colorful umbrellas and blue sea of Kotsinas Beach. I turned left right away and went to the beach. There, I enjoyed incredible pristine water, fine sand, and small shells brought by the waves. The small bay had a seafront with three tavernas, where a waitress convinced me to sit at her table overlooking the sea. I ordered a big Greek salad, fried octopus, and lots of ice for my sore ankle. After dinner, I came back to the unofficial campsite near Keros Beach.
The fourth day on Lemnos Island
Short Description: I went to Myrina to buy a return ticket to Kavala. The ferry had a big delay, so I went to Gomati Beach. Eventually, I stayed there overnight, among sand dunes.
In the morning, I chose to go the shortest way between Keros Beach and Myrina. Once I reached Myrina, I walked through the old port with tavernas and shops. Then, I went to the new part of the town, developed along the seafront lined with colonial houses, terraces, and bars. For a while, I stayed on the beach under a tree where three hippies seemed to have slept. Afterward, I went to the big port to buy a ferry ticket for Kavala.
On my way to Myrina’s port, I entered a travel agency and asked the price of a ferry ticket. They attracted me with a big discount but then told me that the ferry had a big delay. I double-checked the information in the port and went to another travel agency. Eventually, I found out that the ferry was damaged. They were trying to fix it in Mytilinos, and it could reach Lemnos only late in the evening. As I wanted to go to Gomati Beach, the employees of the agency confirmed to me that I had enough time to go there. They even advised me to sleep on the beach overnight.
I drove along the same road I had driven the previous day, from Myrina to the villages of Kornos, Sardes, and Dafni. Further, I passed brown hills and olive orchards until I reached Katalakos village. From there, I descended toward Gomati Bay, an arid area with a mixed ecosystem: azure waters, fine sands, and even dunes. I had lunch at the only taverna in the area and then went to the beach.
In the evening, I called the travel agency in Myrina. I was hoping the ferry for Kavala would stick to its schedule but it still had a delay of eight hours. Obviously, I had to stay on Lemnos Island for another night. I investigated the possibilities to sleep in Gomati and found out that the employees of the agency were right. I spotted a few campervans and a few people were even pitching a tent, so I decided to park my car on the beach, sleep there, and have a sea view from my bed.
The following day, I woke up and, in less than one minute, I swam in the sea. I had breakfast under a canopy on the deserted beach. I swam and sunbathed again. No matter how far I swam, I could still touch the floor of the sea. By noon, I called the travel agency in Myrina again. They confirmed to me that I could come and buy a ticket for the afternoon ferry to Kavala. I left Gomati Bay with a broken heart. I would have stayed there longer. On my way to Myrina, I drove as slowly as I could. I didn’t want to leave Gomati Beach. In Myrina, I bought a discounted ticket for Kavala and enjoyed tzatziki and an octopus in vinegar at one of the tavernas by the beach.
I reached Kavala port late at night but I decided to drive 120 kilometers on the highway to Alexadropoulis. In fact, I wanted to catch the ferry to Samothraki Island the following morning. I went to the city’s municipal campground, where the receptionist charged me as if I had a campervan (because I planned to sleep in the car). I was too tired to argue with him, though, and just wanted to sleep at that late hour.
You can find the version of this post in Romanian at ‘Insulele Grecesti, Lemnos‘. If you want to read more about the road trip through the Greek Islands, here are all the Travelogues from the Greek Islands (x3).
Have you been to the Greek Islands or plan to go there? Leave a comment below this post and tell me what you liked about Greece or what you want to see there.
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I had read your post about Thassos island earlier, and I thought that would be the island I would visiting in Greece. However, now I am torn. Maybe a road trip that goes through all the islands. Love this post.
Don’t worry, Greece has so many islands that yes, you need to take a tour of all of them. That’s one of my plans on a longer term: to hop on and off Greek islands and islets.
Wonderful description,wonderful pictures!I miss Limnos and I am following your trips!
Can I have several questions to “…The unofficial camp site was situated between Kalliopi village and Keros Beach. It was full of tents and cars…” please?:
– How many tents (10 or 100) was in this unofficial camp? Was it really full or there was some free place for tent?
– Is there some source of drink water?
– How much mosquitos were there?
The unofficial camp is located in a forest, you pitch your tent/ camp the car in the forest, amidst trees. The forest is pretty big and next to the beach. In my opinion is impossible to not find a free place to stay.
For water, there are showers on the beach. However, I refilled my bottles with water from the church’s well in the village (2km).
I don’t remember mosquito, I was there in july, but as a back up plan, bring some repellent.
Enjoy the island. It’s sparsely populated and a non touristic heaven. Don’t miss Gomati Beach ! You can camp on the beach there too …. it’s magic!
Tigani bay looks amazing. Lemnos island seems like a good place to explore the history and enjoy seafood. It doesn’t seem that packed either. Kaspakes seems interesting. So cool that the Kontias Village windmills are restored. I would love to visit Lemnos island, thank you for sharing your experience 😀
Lemnos island is a remote and secluded beach, indeed. You would love it, I am sure about that.
Wow, I can really agree that this Island is truly secluded, as I have just seen a few tourist ambling around. Traipsing my feet here would make me very happy cause this is the place that I always love myself to be in. I love all the scenery, especially the beach, I can spend my day listening to the sea waves as it kiss the coast and just enjoy the sea breeze. A paradise indeed! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful experience to us/.
I am so happy you enjoyed traveling virtually with me.
Trust me, you are making me add beaches & islands to my Greece trip! Because until now, I wanted to visit Greece purely for its history and the age-old monuments with the only exception being Santorini, of course 🙂 I would love to check out Lemnos!
Reshma, i am glad that you like these islands. They are real gems, believe me.
The way you talk about the small white chapels interspersed throughout the landscape sounds like a dream! Also, I can imagine the peddler shouting out his melon offers through his megaphone. I would totally get one. What a wonderful account of your trip. I hope it comes in handy for me one day.
Noticing these small details create the real charm of the trip. I hope you’ll get to Lemnos one day. Is such a secluded island.
The Plaka beach and that church looks Beautiful.Glad to know those windmills are restored.Greece has so many such hidden gems, glad to know about this beautiful island.
Lemonos is a remote island and this is why it is not so well known. It has three archaeological sites though, very well-preserved.
I can certainly see why you would want to head right to the beach on Lemnos Island. That blue water looks so enticing. Visiting the ruins is an interesting way to learn more about the history and culture of the people of this island. I am always amazed at how many amphitheatre ruins there are around the world. That view of windmills on the hills is such an iconic sight. Too bad so many of them are no longer working. Colourful fishing boats in a harbour always draw me to explore. Especially when you find great fresh seafood! One more island to add to my list.
Lemnos is a very cool island because it is so remote. There are almost no tourists! I felt so privileged.
I’ve never heard of Lemnos Island, but I love Greece! I’m hoping to go back someday and I would love to add this to my list. I love the quaint harbor with all of the boats, it looks so picturesque. You had me wanting to fly there just to eat! I love saganaki and Greek octopus! Delicious! The theater is amazing too. I love to walk among ancient history where so many people must have walked before.
Lemnos has surprised me with its archaeological sites. It is amazing how much ancient Greek culture we can find today.
I love fried octopus, so, for this reason, I would like to visit Lemnos Island. I would like to visit the Greek islands; they have so much to offer. Perfect cuisine, fantastic beaches, beautiful architecture. I love the whitewashed chapels; they are so photogenic that I would like to take pictures there. Kontias Village, with restored old windmills, looks fantastic too.
I also love whitewashed chapels and houses. I always take countless photos of them.
Wind surfing sounds like a lot of fun! I would love to visit the neolithic sites and the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi. The theater of Hephaistia and the old fort look pretty incredible too!
It was so unexpected for me to find three archaeological sites there. They were all so well preserved and looked incredible.
I would have liked to visit the port to see all the boats and try the fresh seafood. The Octopus looked amazing! The restored old windmills at Kontias Village are so charming, I would have loved to see those in person.
I love octopus in vinegar, it is so delicious. Unfortunately it’s not so hearty, you have to eat something else too.
OMG ! Exactly m kind of a vacation.
Non Touristy | Beautiful Landscapes | Yummy food | Crystal clear waters
What more do i need!
Seeing these, has put Greece on the top of my travel radar now for 2021 ! Lemnos with all its secluded spots, is just where I want to be right now! Quarantining in paradise !
Pay attention to what you wish because it might happen!