The Island of Limnos
Limnos was known in Ancient Greece to be the island of Hephaestus, the god of fire. The island offers a rich tapestry of history, myth and legend interwoven amongst a beautiful and varied natural landscape.
Despite Limnos being one of Greece’s largest islands, its remote location has enabled it to resist becoming a crowded tourist destination and instead offers an authentic slice of Greek island life.
Myrina is the largest town and provides the perfect base from which to explore the rest of the island. Myrina boasts two sea front promenades located on either side of a charming central pedestrianised vine-canopied high street. Each sea front is dotted with numerous shops, tavernas, bars and cafes.
In the centre of town is the stunning 12th century Byzantine castle – the largest in the Aegean. The castle can be visited at all times and there are wild deer that roam nearby, known as “platonia”. Its elevated location provides panoramic views of the Aegean sea and in the early evening visitors can relax and gaze at the sun setting behind Mount Athos.
There are another thirty one villages on the island, offering an array of authentic restaurants, traditional cafes and fresh seafood. Limnos was known as the granary of the Byzantine empire and has an abundance of local produce allowing food lovers to partake in winetasting, cheesemaking and olive pressing sessions.
The entire island has 280 kilometres of coastline in total and those who love to explore their natural surroundings will be in their element. Limnos’ stunning arid landscape offers beautiful sandy beaches, crystal waters, rolling hills, rugged cliffsides, thermal springs and volcanic craters which provide swimming, walking, hiking, fishing, horseriding and cycling opportunities to take pleasure in. Given its location on the meltimi path, the island’s nickname in ancient times was the “windy isle” (anemoessa), making it ideal for sailing holidays and turning the northern beaches into a windsurfing hotspot.
For a unique experience, visitors can also explore Limnos’ 17 acres of sand dunes, which form one of only two deserts in Europe; Poliochni– the oldest city in Europe with its ancient parliament; and the church of Panagia Kakaviotissa, a stunning open-air church hidden inside a rock cavity, established in 1416 to provide refuge to monks escaping the Turkish invasion. In addition to being home to ancient and Byzantine sites, Limnos is a destination for modern history enthusiasts given its strategic role during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I.
To the east, the island has rich wetlands and salt lakes where birdwatchers gather to revel in the 279 species of birds which can be observed there; including Limnos’ migratory flamingo population. The entire island is included in the “Natura 2000” network due to its blooming fauna and flora and is protected under EU law.