Lesbos Island Nature Adventures
All types of nature adventures are possible on Lesbos where diverse landscapes sweep effortlessly into one another, creating a nature lover’s dream island escape.
Nature Adventures on Lesbos
Lesbos certainly has bragging rights as a nature lover’s destination. The colors and sounds of nature there are impressive, defined through its hot springs, waterfalls, mountain peaks, valleys, forests, deep gulfs, long beaches and much more.
Here’s a rundown of what nature adventures you can experience on this North Aegean island.
Experience Precious Protected Nature
The natural beauty of Lesbos is “official.” Thanks to its areas of great beauty, ecotopes and cultural heritage monuments, the island itself is part of the Global Geoparks Network under UNESCO. Several of the island’s regions are also part of the European Natura 2000 Network, a designated network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitats.
In Lesbos, the Petrified Forest of the Western Peninsula, the Kalloni Gulf Wetlands and the Gulf of Gera and Mount Olympus are part of this strict protected network of areas. During you nature adventures you’ll experience these regions.
Volcanic Lesbos and the Petrified Forest
Lesbos is volcanic, an island that is home to 30 lava domes. Volcanic calderas remain in Skoutari, Vadousa and Agra. A real highlight to consider for your nature adventures is to see is the petrified forest between Antissa and Sigri which was created by volcanic eruptions some 23 million years ago. During that eruption, plants were isolated from their surroundings.
Today you can see standing fossilized tree trunks, perfectly preserved petrified roots, fruit, leaves and seeds – a fantastic way to imagine the wild beauty dating back so long ago.
The Petrified Forest of Lesbos is one of the few such forests in the world. To learn more about it, I toured the fantastic Natural History Museum of the Lesbos Petrified Forest. Home to the tallest standing petrified tree trunk in the world (h 7.02 m), an ancestor of the Sequoia tree.
In Kalloni, you can enjoy the beautiful baths of Therma Spa. There’s an impressive natural pool carved in the foundations of the lovely property. There healing thermal waters bubble their way to the surface from a depth of 2.500 metres below.
Polichnitos has the hottest springs in Greece (70 to 85 °C). There are also thermal springs in Thermi, Therma, Agios Ioannis and Eftalou.
Eco Farm Life Adventures
In the Plomari region, you’ll find a one-of-a-kind farm run by a lovely Greek family. Toumba Eco Farm is located in Milies. The farm takes up a lush expanse of 3,300 square meters atop a mountain peak 500 meters above sea level.
I loved the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and island coastline. It was also fun to meet the animals! There are lodgings on the property so you can really enjoy Lesbos’ nature in a unique way.
A Bird Watching Paradise
When I found out that bird watchers make it a point to visit the island that told me a lot about Lesbos. Where there are birds, nature is abundant. Birds keep earth systems in balance. In Lesbos, there are over 330 species of birds.
Bird watchers frequent the areas of Kallonis, Eressos, Dipi and Polichnitos. You may see them lumped in enthusiastic groups toting their gear and fancy cameras.
The island’s impressive avian fauna includes swans, cormorants, flamingos, ibises, white storks, willow ptarmigans, curlews, herons and coots.
While I was there, I met an interesting and passionate birdwatcher named Steve Dudley. He lives in the U.K. and runs the Lesbos Birding website which is full of information about birding on Lesbos. A true advocate of the island (especially in these times of an economic and migrant crisis). He has visited the island annually for more than 15 years and has organized more than 300 bird watching nature adventures.
Nature Adventures in the Forests of Lesbos
The island is lush with forests that gracefully curve down its mountainous slopes. There are two big peaks on the island Mount Profitis Ilias and Mount Olympus.
Explore the nature around these areas to find oak, wild olive, walnut, pistachio, almond and fig trees forests. Along the trails of your hike you’ll see wild roses and beautiful wild flowers. Keep an eye (or nose) out for fragrant mint. Search for lemon balm, aniseed, chicory and more.
Hiking tourism is popular thanks to well-marked trails. There are numerous trails between Sigri and Eressos or Petra and Lapsarna. Folks can take on these hiking trails without a guide. There are also trails perfect for biking and climbing nature adventures. The OikoTrails website is a great source of information.
Stretches of Beaches
The island is ringed with stretches of beaches ranging from rocky to pebbly to fine sand. Some of the best (according to locals) are Vatera, Skala Sikamia, Skala Eressos and Mithymna.
Caves of Lesbos
A large part of the island is made of limestone, so there are a large number of caves. According to the Lesbos Online website, there are 192 caves on the island and some have been inhabited since Neolithic times. Many were once used for worship. The caves of Magaris, St. John and St. Bartholomew are popular among the cave curious.
Nature Adventures at Sea in Lesbos
Boasting an expansive coastline, Lesbos is also perfect for sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking aficionados. Lesbos is also known to have some incredible diving adventure opportunities. Get fully informed about the best dives that are full of sea life by visiting the Dive in Our Islands website.
The beaches are not only excellently suited for swimming but also for going fishing. The most popular fishing spots are located in Agrilia, Tsonia, Mithymna and Sigri.
The greatness of the fish is also celebrated here! The annual Sardine Festival is held every summer in the charming port village of Skala Kallonis.
Looking for authentic kind fishing nature adventures? Pandora Travel Fishing Tours are one option to experience a day out with local fishermen.
Travel to Lesbos
For more on why I think Lesbos is a great destination to visit now more than ever read my earlier post Why It is Safe to Travel to Lesbos. A recent article I wrote for CNN International also touches on this topic: Lessons in Lesbos: Can Tourism Survive the Migrant Crisis?
For a complete list of what to see, where to stay and where to eat in beautiful Lesbos check out my mini-guide about Lesbos on this blog.
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Have you experienced any nature adventures on Lesbos? I’d love to hear about your favorite one or let me know if there I missed something that should be on this list. Go ahead and comment in the comment box below.