May & September 2013

Lesvos is a wonderfully unspoilt island, one of very few of the Greek islands that has been little affected by mass tourism. It offers beautiful beaches, timeless traditional villages, small scenic harbours, a wonderful coastline and a lush spectacular interior; rolling fertile valleys, rich woodlands, salt marshes, streams, seasonal rivers, flat lands, wetlands, hills and high mountains. This magnificent nature and host of ancient tracks make Lesvos an ideal destination for walking. In May you will be accompanied by the exceptional colours of spring and, in both spring and autumn, you will have the opportunity to spot a wide vareity of bird life as Lesvos is an annual resting place during the spring and autumn migration.

Ancient Antisa

Our base for these walks is the tiny village resort of Petra, situated on the island's north coast. Our routes will take us along mule tracks and stone paths, through ancient olive groves and pine forests. We will enjoy some spectacular coastal scenery and beautiful views following trails to historic monasteries, pretty churches and traditional villages.

Our walks in Lesvos can be described as more easy than medium with walks averaging around 4 hours each day. Distance covered will be between 6 to 12kms a day with most days averaging between 6 and 9kms.



Your Guide
Your guide for Lesvos is Els Maes. Els was born in Holland but moved to Lesvos in 1985 after she finished her studies. It was in Petra, the base for our tour, where she settled after falling in love, both with her future husband and the island. She has worked in a variety of tourism positions since settling in Lesvos but her passion for the great outdoors and the islands wonderful nature inspired her to become involved in guiding walks as well.
Els's knowledge of the island, its exceptional nature, wonderful walking paths, its local culture and friendly people will be sure to enhance your stay here.

Day 1: Transfer from airport to Hotel Panorama in Petra, (approximately one hour), for 7 night stay on bed and breakfast basis. Welcome dinner (included).

Day 2: Exploring the local countryside. Circular walk from Petra via Lafionas and Agios Alexandros.

Day 3: Transfer to Kalloni from where we follow a gentle route to three monasteries. Our walk finishes at the sea in Skala where we will have time for lunch and a swim.

Day 4: Transfer by bus to the traditional mountain village of Agiassos, which we will have time to explore before beginning our walk. Following paved paths and rural roads we pass through forests and enjoy spectacular views of the bay of Gera and the coastline of Turkey.

Day 5: Free day

Day 6: Transfer to Agia Paraskevi from where we follow rural paths to Prini. From Prini we continue through olive groves to the archaeological site of Klopedi with its ancient Aeolian temple ruins. From Klopedi we descend to the Papa Lakos region and the Tsiknia River following a dirt road to the stone bridge of Kremasti, an architectural monument built in the middle ages.

Day 7: Anemotia to Parakila. This region has an abundance of water so we see plenty of plane trees, oleanders, and willows during our walk as well as the only black pine forest on the island – a rare sight in the Aegean islands.

Day 8: Transfer back to Mytilene for return flight.

NB: The itinerary may vary according to local conditions and guide's discretion




11 May 2013

You'll love this tour if you like:

Wild flowers & plants
The great outdoors
The natural beauty of spring
Stunning scenery
Mediterranean sunshine


The island is also known for its abundance of olive trees – around 11 million of them – many of them centuries old, evidenced in their gnarled and twisted beauty. These ancient groves offer a deep and undisturbed soil that continues to produce a natural history of beautiful and sometimes rare flowers, plants and herbs, many medicinal.

RhododendronDuring our stay we expect to find a large variety of flora; lupins, poppies, fritillaries, stars of Bethlehem, clovers, orchids - bug, diamond, holy and tongue; catchflies, buglosses, vetches, mallows and rock roses, and the sweet smelling Rhododendron luteum that is found nowhere else in Greece. Our tour also includes a visit to The Petrified Forest, one of very few in the world and unique in Europe – it is estimated to be 20 million years old! The Forest provides considerable information regarding the composition and character of flora and climatic conditions of the distant past.


Our Guide
Our guide is Dr Alan Harrington, formerly of the Botany Department of the Natural History Museum. Alan has been a professional botanist for more than 40 years. After obtaining his degrees at the University of London, he spent almost 11 years in West Africa, mostly as a lecturer in botany at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. In 1976, he joined the Botany Department of the Natural History Museum, specialising in the study of liverworts. On taking early retirement, he became involved in the Museum's adult education programme, running botanical courses and leading field study tours to Crete, Lesvos, North Cyprus, Portugal and Spain. Although the programme ended in 2004, he remains a Scientific Associate at the Museum and also leads wild-flower tours. His extensive knowledge assists him in finding the interesting species in an area and his first hand knowledge of Lesvos has assisted in the planning of the week's itinerary, in order to maximise what might be discovered during the tour.


Day 1:Transfer from Mitilene's airport to Hotel Panorama in Petra, (approximately one hour), for 7 night stay on bed and breakfast basis. Welcome dinner (included).

Day 2: Introductory walk in local area. Lunch stop in Petra. After lunch an optional second botanical walk will be offered or you can return to the hotel to relax.

Day 3: Travel south to Polichnitos to visit the mineral springs near the village before continuing to Skala Polichnitou to examine coastal plants. Our return journey will include a stop to botanise at the ancient site of Pyrra.

Day 4: Full day tour to the Petrified Forest. At this unique site tree stumps and trunks are scattered over rocky slopes covered with low scrub. The surrounding area has a rich flora including many orchids. In the afternoon we will visit the coastal village of Sigri where we will spend time at the Natural History Museum and Geopark.

Day 5: Free day.

Day 6: We head southeast to the village of Agiasos stopping en route at one or two places. We then continue south into the mountains and explore the Sweet Chestnut woodlands and other botanically rich localities.

Day 7: There will be a short visit to the castle at Mithimna (Molivos) to experience some of the island¢s vast history before heading east to Skala Sikaminias stopping en route to botanise. We then head to Agios Stephanos with stops to visit the 16th century Taxiarhis (Archangel) Church, (the patron saint of Lesvos), at Mandamados and to hunt for flowers. We return to our hotel via Napi and Kremastes where there is interesting flora around an old Genoese stone bridge.

Day 8: Transfer back to Mytilene for return flight home.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour managers discretion.

MolyvosA suggestion for your free day - Molyvos (Mithimna)
Molyvos is situated just 5 kilometres from Petra, where our tour is based, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns on the island. It is situated on top of a small hill and dominated by a medieval castle that was built by the Byzantines and renovated by the Gattelusis, from Genoa. The original castle, which this one replaced, was conquered by none other than Achilles during the Trojan War. There are still ancient ruins scattered around the town including impressive polygonal walls and a few giant holes where archaeologists continue to excavate. The town itself is a maze of narrow meandering streets lined with stone built houses, colourfully capped with red ceramic roofs that rise picturesquely in tiers to just below the castle. Shops and tavernas fill the pretty streets and follow the coast to the beautiful harbour, which also offers an attractive place to enjoy dinner and watch the sun disappear. We highly recommend a visit here either for an evening dinner or to explore on your free day.