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.
The 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.
The 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.
There are usually two boats a day leaving
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
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.
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 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
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.
If you need to find the schedules and book a ferry I recommend Ferryhopper.com who have an easy booking system and you can pick up your tickets in Pireaus or Mytilini close to the boat.
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 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.
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.
bookings to and from Athens see
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
You can also contact Michalis Patmakelis, who comes from Australia, speaks fluent English, and is available for tours as well.
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 the airport. You can also take the X96 bus from the airport to Pireaus and then catch the port shuttle to the Mytilini ferry at Gate E-2. Or you can take the metro to Monastiraki and switch to the line to Pireaus, or take the suburban rail to Pireaus.
Past Ferry Pictures
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
Ariadne or Blue Star.
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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