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Getting to Lesvos

Sailing to Lesvos

The best way to get to Lesvos is by ferry boat. There are daily ships leaving Pireaus in the evening and arrive in Mytilini early the next morning. If you do this you can save money on a hotel and it will probably be just as nice if you get a cabin.

Ferry Mytilini, Lesvos, GreeceThe ferry boats that go to Lesvos from Pireaus are big modern ferries which have bars, restaurants, lounges and cabins. First class cabins are about 80 eu per person for a double and many contain tvs if the prospect of a long ferry ride seems boring. It's a relaxing and enjoyable trip and sailing along the coast of Lesvos and into Mytilini harbor at dawn is an experience you will always remember. It is especially exciting for kids. If you are arriving from the USA by plane its a great way to unwind and the fact that the boats generally leave in the evening make them catch-able. Some people take advantage of the time and hire George the Famous Taxi Driver to pick them up at the airport, give them a tour, maybe have lunch at a seaside taverna, and then deposit them at the ferry. This is a great option because otherwise you have to figure out what to do with your luggage all day.

Lux Cabin on the AriadneThe Blue Star Ferry and the Hellenic Ferry (usually the Ariadne) only take about 8 to 10 hours to get to Lesvos. Both ferries are comfortable with clean cabins, air-conditioning that actually works, decent food in the self-service cafeteria and in the case of the Blue Star, excellent food in the restaurant. They both have large spacious and comfortable lounges with TVs as well as comfortable airplane seats. The boats owned by NEL are older and slower and if you are not careful you may find yourself stopping in Ikaria and Samos which will add another eight hours or so to your trip. For a few extra euros go for the LUX cabin. You will find yourself in a cabin bigger than any of the hotels you are staying at, with two double beds, a nice bathroom and shower, television, desk and a big picture window overlooking the sea.

Leaving MytiliniThere are usually two boats a day leaving Pireaus for Chios and Mytilini, sometimes more though one of the boats they list is a truck ferry called the Pelagiths that has a few cabins and looks like it is ready for retirement. In the summer the there is usually a morning and evening boat going each way. Several days a week the ferry continues on to Lemnos , Kavala and some years to Thessaloniki, though this may have been discontinued. If you are 2 people and the only available cabin is for 3 or 4 people you can buy the extra beds for half price (child's fare) and that way you will have the cabin to yourself. In the past the ferry company could put strangers in your cabin if there were extra beds. If you don't want a cabin just get the airplane seats or whatever the cheapest ticket is. They should not even call them airplane seats because they are much more comfortable than an airplane. Maybe first-class airplane seats. If you have a sleeping bag you can find some corner where you won't be in the way and sleep through the whole trip.

Ferry from Mytilini to Avalik, TurkeyThere are daily boats in the summer and several boats a week in the off-season between Mytilini and Avalik in Turkey (photo). The schedule seems to change by the year, month, week or whatever. That means you need to contact one of the agencies in Lesvos and ask them if you want to get from Turkey to Lesvos. The trip to Turkey is advertised all over Mytilini at the various travel agencies in the port and for 95% of people of the world you don't need a visa, you just buy one when you get to Turkey. For those who are coming from Turkey or plan to go from Lesvos to Istanbul there is a bus to Avalik. I have never taken it but they say if takes about 8 hours.

For more ferry information contact see Travel Agents but keep in mind they are not in the ticket selling business or a free information service. They rely on hotel bookings to make a living so the best thing to do is book your hotels with one of the travel agencies and they can figure out the ferries and get your tickets for you.

One Hour Stop in Chios?

Tsibaeri restaurant in ChiosThe ferries also stop in the port of Chios for an hour or so. Most people miss it because it is 4 am and they are sleeping, but on the return trip to Athens on the boats that leave in the early evening you can get off and walk around the town since if you get there around 9pm the boat leaves at 10. Just be sure not to miss it. Ask on the ferry how long it is stopping for. Lately they have been staying for less than an hour. When you get to Chios get off the boat, cross the street and walk about half a block to your right to the ouzeri Tsibaeri, right on the waterfront, get yourself a table and order a bottle of the local ouzo, Kakitsi, their sunfish or liasta which is sundried mackeral which is then grilled, the smoked skoumbri (another kind of mackeral), marinated octopus, fava (mashed green split-peas) and their tomato-balls, and tell the owner, whose name is Stavros, that you are on the ferry and need to eat quickly. Pay when you get your last dish so you don't miss the boat. You can keep your eyes on the line of tractor-trailor trucks across the street and when there are only a couple left you should make a move towards the boat. Anyway when you return to the ship you will have eaten in one of the best restaurants in Chios. If you miss the ferry you can eat there again.

Flying to Lesvos

Flight to LesvosThere is a modern jet port with at least 4 daily flights to and from Athens. There are also daily flights from Thessaloniki and other points in Europe and Scandinavia. The cost is around 100 euros each way from Athens but there are sales when they can't fill the plane so check the websites of Aegean Airways and Olympic if it still exists. When you leave the island Mytilini airport is unique in that you can take a swim while you are waiting for your plane since it is right across the street from the beach. There are also some really nice seaside fish tavernas right down the street within walking and luggage-dragging distance.

For bookings to and from Athens see Travel Agents

For flights to Lesvos from the USA visit www.greeceflights.com

For flights to Lesvos from Europe or Athens see www.greecetravel.com/tickets or go to the page for Travel Agents

Getting From the Port or Airport of Mytilini

Ferry to Pireaus from LesvosMost people who book their trip to Eressos through an agency arrange to have a taxi transfer. Skala Eressos is almost two hours away from the airport or Mytilini town. Molyvos is about an hour. Vatera is under an hour and Plomari around half an hour. It is a beautiful trip and in a way even if you have rented a car it makes sense to take the taxi and get your car delivered to your hotel so you can enjoy the scenery, especially if you are getting off a long flight. You can contact any of the Lesvos Travel agencies about taxi transfers. You can also contact Kostas Nestoras and Theo from Lesvos Taxi Service, who comes from Melbourne Australia. Both drivers are available for tours as well.

Rental cars can be delivered to the airport or the port. There is a bus terminal in Mytilini right by the small park on the waterfront (next to the government building and the theater). Backpackers can easily get from the ferry to the bus station. From the airport you have to take a taxi or the local bus. Buses all over the island are pretty frequent.

Getting from Venizelos International Airport in Athens to the Port of Pireaus or Back

If you arrive from abroad and you need to get to Pireaus to catch the ferry to Lesvos I recommend George the Famous Taxi Driver whose transfer rates are cheaper than the travel agencies. Plus if you have some time to spare, as some of you will, you can do a little tour of the city. For your return to Athens from Lesvos I also recommend using him to get to your hotel or the airport

Past Ferry Pictures

Ferry European Express

European Express

Ferry boat Theophilos

Theofilos from the Mytilini

Ferry European Express

European Express

Lesvos: Ferry to Turkey

European Express Lux Cabin

Ferry Mytilini, Pireaus to Lesvos

Mytilini

Ferry Mytilini

Mytilini

Nissos Chios ferry to Mytilini

Nissos Chios

Ferry Mytilini

Sunrise, Ferry to Mytilini

Ferry Lissos

Lissos

Ferry Mytilini

Mytilini

The Older Ferries

This is the high-speed Aeolis Express, the first of three that went from Pireaus to Mytilini in 6 hours. There are just seats. No cabins. They were coming to Lesvos but discovered they could make more money in the Cyclades with government subsidies. I think two of them have been sold and so was the company. Plus the Aeolis Kentauris was named after the Olympic track star and he ended up getting busted for doping. The whole experiment was a mess and probably sunk the company even before the financial crisis did.

This is the Mytilini, which used to be a frequent winner of the best ferry in Greece contest held every year by Ethoplistis magazine. It was my favorite boat. Its getting kind of old now and probably won't be around much longer. In the summer of 2012 they decided to change the route so that it would stop in Ikaria and Samos on the way to and from Lesvos, surprising some of the passengers who almost got off on the wrong island. It also added another 6 hours to the normally 12 hour journey.

The Sappho is one of the older ferries but it has been decomissioned which means it was sold to some country that doesn't care how old the boats are.

The Theophilos used to sail between Germany, Sweden and Russia before it came to Greece. Its not one of my favorites.

This is a first class cabin on the Mytilini or the Theophilos

This is first class deluxe. If you have the money go for it. Especially on the European Express

This is the first class lounge on the Mytilini. They actually have a no-smoking section. The restaurants on these ships are pretty good too. Or they were before the crisis. Now the usually just use the self-service.

The bars have cold beer, mixed drinks, snacks like potato chips, pistachios, sandwiches and of course ouzo. There are usually some big screen TVs showing sports or news about the financial crisis.

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