• Vaterá
  • Anaxos
  • Pétra
  • Aghios Isídoros
  • Tsamákia (Mytilene)
  • Káyia
  • Kanóni (Thermí)
  • Eressós
  • Mólyvos (Míthymna)
  • Eftaloú

The third largest island in Greece after Crete and Evia (Euboea), Lesbos has a coastline of 371km (230.5 miles) with a multitude of beaches, for all tastes and ages: from secluded coves accessible only on foot or by boat to organised beaches offering anything from showers to parasols to cafes and tavernas to water sports. Beaches of fine sand and beaches with small or larger pebbles, cosmopolitan or near-deserted, the choice is yours to make!

We only mention ten out of more than thirty listed as being the best, and of these ten we turn the spotlight on the beach at Eftaloú, within walking distance of Mólyvos (for the more courageous) or only a short ride away, which offers the added attraction of its thermal springs (ideal for skin diseases and chronic complaints such as rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica, lumbago and gallstones - but also a pleasant experience in and of itself). Situated 3km to the northeast of Mólyvos and with a view to the coast of Turkey, the beach at Eftaloú stretches for almost ten kilometres along an unspoilt coastline sculpted like a necklace of small and larger pebble-strewn coves (some with sea caves), and is consistently awarded a “blue flag” for its crystal-clear, clean waters. If you are among those staying near Mólyvos and enjoy swimming in a natural landscape, the beach at Eftaloú is waiting for you..

It's all Greek to me..!

Thálassa (/θəˈlæsə/) is the Greek word for “sea” and according to linguists possibly derives from the Ancient Greek ἅλς (háls, “salt”) of proto-Indo-European origin. In other European languages, the word thalassa is encountered solely as a prefix in such words as: thalassin, thalassemia, thalassocracy, thalassometer, thalassotherapy, or thalattology.

In a country carved by the sea like Greece, which has the longest shoreline among modern-day Mediterranean countries with 13,676km (8,498 miles) of coast, it is only normal that, since time immemorial, the sea has played an important role. And as the sea is capricious, the need for divine help to master or survive its changeable moods has always been part of the Greek way of life. In Modern Greece, Aghios Nikólaos (Saint Nicholas) is the patron saint of the sea and all those who live off it: seafarers, sailors and fishermen, and whitewashed chapels dedicated to him can be seen dotted along the shoreline of most islands, as well as the mainland.

In Greek mythology, the deities linked to the sea are numerous, have fascinating stories and belong to different eras. Thus, Thálassa was the primordial goddess mentioned in the Orphic Hymns, daughter of Aether (Air) and Hemera (Day) and sister to Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky). Together with her male counterpart, Pontus, she was responsible for creating all the tribes of fish and marine life. Pontus was also responsible for fathering the shape-shifter Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, himself the father of fifty daughters, the Nereids (the sea nymphs who peopled the Aegean Sea and helped sailors in distress), and an only son, Nerites. Among the Nereids, Thetis would become the wife of Peleus and mother of Achilles, Amphitrite the spouse of Poseidon, Psamathe (goddess of sand beaches!) the wife of Proteus, and Galatea the lover of Cyclops Polyphemus.

In the era of the Titans, born by the coupling of Gaia and Uranus, Oceanus (god of the ocean-stream) and Tethys (both his sister and consort, and goddess of fresh water) replaced the primordial deities as rulers of the aquatic element and together bore the Oceanids, the deities of all the seas, rivers, lakes, ponds and springs, whose total number stood at 6,000. Among the Oceanids are Calypso, who detained Odysseus on her island for ten years, Perse, the mother of the enchantress Circe, Pleione mother of the Pleiades and grandmother of Hermes,. When the Titans were overthrown by Zeus (Jupiter), son of the eldest among them, Cronus, and the Olympians held sway over the world, his brother Poseidon (Neptune) became the god of the underwater realm, contenting himself to rule over the Mediterranean, while Oceanus remained sovereign of the stranger, more unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Like all of the Olympian gods, Poseidon was lustful and bore sons and daughters with his spouse Amphitrite, but also with goddesses and mortals and so, among others, was the father of Triton (the messenger of the sea), Theseus (the mythical king of Athens), and Pegasus (the divine winged stallion foaled by Medusa). And with Mytilene, daughter of Pelops, the father of Myton - which brings us back to Lesvos, an island scalloped with beaches for you to explore...