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. There is also the new Nissos Chios that leaves around noon and takes only 8 hours to Lesvos. Also as of the summer of 2012 the brand new Blue Star Patmos goes to and from Lesvos every other day.
The ferry boats that go to Lesvos from Pireaus are the
Mytilini, European Express, Theophilos, Nissos Chios (or the Nissos Mykonos) and the Blue Star Patmos which have
bars, restaurants, lounges and cabins. First class cabins are about 100 eu per person
for a double and many contain tv's if the
prospect of a long ferry ride seems boring.
Generally 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 catchable.
The ferry Nissos Chios began service in 2008 and only takes about 8 hours to get to Lesvos. In my opinion this is the best ferry in Greece with comfortable and clean cabins, air-conditioning that actually works, decent food in the self-service cafeteria and the restaurant, and large spacious and comfortable lounges. 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. If you take the European Express 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.
There are at usually two boats a day leaving
, sometimes more.
days a week the ferry continues on to
There are daily boats in the summer and several
boats a week in the off-season between
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
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 more ferry
information contact see
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
The 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 NEL 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. Even better yet, ignore the calls on the ferry public address system prompting you to have dinner in the self-service or ala-carte restaurants where the food is generally medicocre and 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. (You should also ask one of the ship's officers what time the boat is
leaving as you get off and keep your eye on your watch). Anyway when you return to the ship you will have eaten in one of the best restaurants in Chios.
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.
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. Hahathakis Travel in Lesvos books direct flights from Europe to Mytilini.
bookings to and from Athens see
For flights to
Lesvos from the USA visit
For flights to
Lesvos from Europe or Athens see
or go to the page for
Getting From the
Port or Airport of Mytilini
Most 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
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
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
Theofilos from the Mytilini
European Express Lux Cabin
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.
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
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.