From uncovering ancient history to sampling local food, there are plenty of things to do in Molyvos, a stunning castle topped village perched on a northern edge of Lesbos island.
Molyvos: History and Influence
Molyvos is also known as its very first name: Mithymna. It was a prominent and storied city in ancient times. Surviving throughout the millennia, Molyvos boasts a mix of cultural influences present today, especially in its architecture. Just walking around you can feel the rich culture of the destination.
Today it is often referred to as the tourist capital of the island simply because it is the most enchanting – a place any visitor would love to discover. In all my travels throughout Greece so far, I’d say it is one of the most picturesque villages I have had the pleasure of discovering.
Things to Do in Molyvos
Here’s my list of the top things to do in beautiful Molyvos.
Take a Photo of Molyvos from Afar
Approaching Molyvos from the main road was one of the highlight moments during my trip. The view really took my breath away. Not many village neighborhoods in Greece have been built so aesthetically on a hill, with such colors and architecture. The buildings are built up the ancient rock where a well-preserved Byzantine castle crowns the very top.
Tip: There’s a side area to pull over and take this photo.
Stroll the Cobbled Lanes
One of the top things to do in Molyvos is stroll around and about its maze of charming walkways.
In the spring, the cobbled streets of the village are shaded with amazing purple flowers called salkimi. Unfortunately, I was there just after they stopped blooming. However, the shady canopy of lush green vines were still ambient all the same.
The town is full of enclosed courtyards with bright flowers and bougainvillea. Notice the aged plane trees as you walk around on the kalderimia or cobbled mule paths. Pop into a few mom-and-pop shops that sell trinkets, souvenirs, clothing, jewerly and local crafts. You’re bound to find something you’d love to take home.
As you are walking you’ll likely notice some historic public stone fountains with beautiful designs. The village has 25 of these public fountains. They were built during the Ottoman empire.
Explore the Byzantine Castle
If you’re a history buff and appreciate amazing views head to the 14th-century castle that tops the town.
The reward for your effort is a really stunning panorama of the town, the sea and beyond to Turkey. The castle and fortress was built during the Byzantine period on the ruins of the ancient fortifications, a means of protection for the village.
It’s still in use today – for the arts! During the summer, the castle hosts festivals and events including the International Symposium of the Aegean.
Byzantine Castle’s summer hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Tel. +30 22530 71803
Admire the Architecture of Molyvos
The town is a UNSESCO World Heritage Site due to its amazing local craftsmanship and history.
As I walked through it I couldn’t help but admire such an aesthetic convergence of colored wood and excellent stonework. Molyvos is considered truly impressive example of town planning.
The mansions of the village date back to late 18th century. One grand home to scout out is the Giannakos Mansion known for its ornate murals. Also, the mansion that houses the Molyvos School of Fine Arts is a historic property as well, known for its beautiful wall paintings. It formerly belonged to the Krallis family.
Molyvos Town Hall
The town hall of Molyvos is another impressive historic building. It houses an important archaeological collection including ancient jars, inscriptions and ceramics from the area.
Municipal Library of Molyvos
Founded in 1859, the municipal library is located in the market center and houses thousands of historic books.
Municipal Art Gallery
Housed in a late 18th century mansion, the Municipal Art Gallery of Molyvos exhibits about 200 modern art paintings and sculptures. Some artists are quite notable including Halepas, Vasileiou, Mitaras and Tetsis.
Municipal Art Gallery Hours: 10 a.m. – 12:30 pm, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
+30 6947174563 and +30 6983-611849
Visit the Churches
Another one of the top things to do in Molyvos is to take a peek at the historic churches that dot the village. There are three post-Byzantine churches to see including Agios Panteleimon, Agia Kyriaki and Taxiarches. They were built on the ruins of former Byzantine churches.
Drink a Greek Coffee
Take a break from browsing the shops, shooting pictures and getting “lost” in the lanes by sitting at a nice café around the old town for a nice Greek coffee.
Sit back and enjoy the weather and town view – just like a local would. Some stray Greek cats will likely curl at your legs.
Discover Ancient Greek History
The ancient city of Mithymna was located behind today’s harbor. There are various open excavation sites still present in the area. Don’t be surprised if you bump into several ancient wine presses, very old looking walls and an aqueduct; they can all be found in Molyvos today.
Relax on Molyvos Beach
One of the top things to do in Molyvos is the same as every island in Greece: go to the beach. Molyvos beach is a pretty pebble and sand beach that has been awarded a coveted Blue Flag for its clear and clean waters. Locals love to go to Psiriara, a small beach along the Molyvos coastline that is perfect for diving in the water.
Another one of the prettiest beaches on Lesvos is about an hour away called Eftalou.
Eat at Molyvos Harbor
The harbor of Molyvos is incredibly picturesque, lined with small fishing boats, fish tavernas and cafes.
I highly recommend you spend a good part of your day eating a fantastic traditional Greek meal by the sea at Octapus. Not only is the family-run tavern considered one of the best in town, the view is wonderful.
Be sure to sip your ouzo slowly as you dine on some local island specialties. Discovering the fantastic local gastronomy is one of the top things to do in Molyvos.
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.
Out of my list of top things to do in Molyvos, which would you love to experience the most? Have you ever visited this fantastic Greek village? Feel Free to comment in the comment box below.