There are so many wonderful things that I want to tell you about Lesvos and I don’t know where to begin. So today let’s talk about birds, hiking and natural Lesvos. Everything you are about to experience in this post was done in one day, but of course you are welcome to take your time and explore the island further. Lesvos is magical and rich in everything, trust me. Get yourself comfortable and enjoy the read.
Lesvos is a well established destination for bird watchers and up until the day I arrived in Lesvos, I honestly never paid attention to this fascinating hobby until I met the birdwatchers who come here for the past ten years or more.
No I am not exaggerating, the information you are reading is correct and yes there are people who are so passionate about birdwatching that they spend at least two weeks of their holiday in Lesvos, every year to try and spot one of the 330 species which are found on the island. See what one can learn in a day!
When I heard that there are flamingos on the island, I was intrigued. I wanted to see these beautiful birds and I had that perfect picture in my head, so I said I am not leaving until I get that photo. Ha! Little did I know that a) the flamingos are never too close and can easy get scared away by people, b) our camera equipment combined could not zoom so far as to get that close and c)after jumping around in the trunk of the 4×4 and literary wanting to climb into the wetland which wasn’t a very smart idea… finally there was hope. We met the lovely birdwatchers who generously offered us to take a peak into their fancy birdwatching equipment. And there they were the beautiful flamingos, so close yet so far. Never underestimate the power of the mind, the imagined photo and even a better one came into my inbox. Our lovely new friends Gill and Mel from the UK send me an email with the flamingos in flight. Captured right there and then, this was my happy day.
The village of Agiassos is located approximately 26 kilometres west of Mytilene, the capital of Lesvos and is set on the lush slopes of Mount Olympus.
The center of this picturesque village is filled with traditional coffee shops, known as the kafeneio which are covered by the shade of the large trees.
Walking down the narrow streets we were mesmerised by the contrasts of colours — the stone houses with their colourful window panes and flower pots made us turn our heads, our cameras “alert” as we were cheerfully snapping away with every corner that we turned.
Agiassos is also quite known for its beautiful ceramics, which you will find on display in the central square of the village.
Hiking from Agiassos to Asomatos
After exploring the village of Agiassos we joined our guide Babis Petsikos on the hiking trail in Mount Olympus which would take us towards the village of Asomatos.
It took us around an hour as we walked a straight pebble-laid road admiring the natural beauty, the olive trees, the wild orchids and other flora. The area is referred to as a botanical paradise due to the numerous rare plants that grow here and the Agiassos orchids are one of the most impressive and rare species which can be found in Greece and Europe.
At the end of the trail we came to the workshop of Stratos who produces charcoal which he sells to other businesses and also uses it in his own kafeneio that he runs with his wife Maria in the village of Asomatos.
Lunch and ouzo time at Asomatos
Asomatos is another unique village that you will not want to miss. It is much smaller than Agiassos but it is equally enchanting. Our hosts took us to admire the wooden creations of a local artist, Giorgos Sicomitellis whose works of art are unique in many ways.
We also visited the church of the Taxiarchis which was built in 1796, on its grounds you can also visit a small folklore museum that houses various items which have been donated by the people of the village.
Then came ouzo time, don’t forget this is an important local tradition which starts as early as 11 am. As we sat at the Kafeneio, Maria served us her local delights which included the salamoura cheese made out of milk and yoghurt along with other treats like salads, salted fish and ouzo of course!
After our lunch break we continued our journey as we headed further up to the highest peak of Mount Olympus.
Quartz crystals at Mount Olympus
As we passed through Mount Olympus which is covered with chestnut and rough pine forests, we made a few stops to explore the unique flora.
There is a wild plant called Ploman, the name derives from flomari which is a yellow flower that turns purple. It is poisonous and can even kill fish in the sea. The mountain is full of these wild flowers “in disguise”.
At the top of the mountain the landscape changes and as we reached the peak we found ourselves standing in front of the breathtaking views of the island. Here at the top you will also discover the quartz crystals — which are known for their unique healing qualities. Make sure to pick up a few for good luck.
After our numerous jumps up at the top in an attempt to capture the perfect “in action” photo we continued our trip.
It was already late afternoon and we were heading towards Toumba an agro-tourism project located near the village of Milie. The views from here are simply wow, there is a lodging facility on the farm as well as a cafe-tavern where we had a refreshment and some wine. There are beautiful horses on the farm that greeted us as we were leaving the place.
It has definitely been a long talk about birds, hiking and natural Lesvos. If you want to learn more about the island, don’t be shy to ask by commenting below!