Greek island of Lesbos has the ultimate cute factor

The village of Molyvos features a drop- dead gorgeous harbour where octopus tentacles are sun-dried.
The village of Molyvos features a drop- dead gorgeous harbour where octopus tentacles are sun-dried. Contributed

IF I asked you what you thought the Greek island of Lesbos was most known for you'd probably say "lesbians".

Well, you'd be wrong, although only partially. More about that in a moment.

Lesbos (or Levos as it is also called) is most known for its high olive oil production.

Its 11 million olive trees are reputed to be the most productive olive-bearing trees in the Greek islands and produce the good olive oil that Greece is so rightfully proud of.

Lesbos is the third largest of the Greek islands, after Crete and Euboea and sits close to Turkey.

Apart from its vast olive groves, fishing and farming are its significant industries and tourism brings in the summer euros.

Lesbos was a centre of Bronze Age civilisation, a brilliant cultural centre from the 7th to 6th century BC, when the poets Alcaeus and Sappho were active there.

Sappho is the poet gay women all over the world relate to today.

A gay woman herself, Sappho was obviously well ahead of her time in coming out and made lesbianism trendy way back then.

She was born in the southern part of Lesbos, Skala Eressos, and today this delightful seaside resort with its three-kilometre narrow stretch of beach is a mecca for gay women all over the world.

They flock to Skala Eressos to be with like-minded women and just hang out on a sunny Greek Island.

We spent a lazy week there, my husband a hairy vision of manliness on the beach surrounded by hundreds of friendly women.

The beachfront is home to dozens of tavernas and cafes perched over the sand, and at night music comes from funky bars and cafes.

Shops are brightly lit, waiters run back and forth from kitchens to tables with plates of moussaka and Greek salads.

We reluctantly left Skala Eressos after a week and headed north to Molyvos, a place so pretty and quintessentially Greek it looked like a postcard.

Molyvos Harbour is enclosed from the sea by a long stone wall and is filled with colourful fishing boats, a few sleek yachts and a lot of little dinghies.

Fishermen mend their nets, kids fish from the harbour wall, little wooden boats putter in and out, picturesque tavernas surround the harbour.

We spent hours on the balcony of the Seahorse Hotel overlooking the harbour activity, fascinated by the endless theatre below us.

We watched one fisherman for days, spellbound by the time he spent standing on the deck of his big wooden boat, cigarette in mouth, battered hat on head, taking a handful of fishing net from a messy pile on his left, examining it, occasionally picking out bits of flotsam, and then tossing it to his right until the second pile became large and the original pile diminished, only to start the process all over again.

Rather than the typical white-washed buildings of most Greek islands, Molyvos has tall stone buildings and houses with timber balconies.

Pale lavender wisteria covers trellises over narrow streets. It's almost too pretty to be true.

Octopus and fish are ubiquitous in the harbour tavernas. Tentacles hang out to sun-dry on lines.

Blackboard menus advertising the freshest "fishes" in Molyvos beckon.

Some blackboards announce "fried fishes", others "grilled fishes". One wrote "fishes without explanation".

We wondered what this might mean until we realised the owner had no idea what fish might come in with the day's catch.

Lesbos has everything - beautiful beaches, unspoilt landscape, vast wildlife, excellent cuisine - and it's much less expensive than other more commercial Greek islands.


Did you know?

Lesbos has 11 million olive trees that are reputed to be the most productive olive-bearing trees in the Greek islands.


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Topics:  destinations greece greek islands holiday travel

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