Mytilene or Mitilini in Greece is a beautiful city that is the capital of Lesbos, a small but mesmerizing Greek island. It has a rich history of Greek culture and heritage. Founded in the 11th century BC, it has beautiful farmlands and mountains and a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea.
Fun fact: The city has more than 15 producers of the Greek liquor, Ouzo
It has roughly over 35,000 inhabitants and is considered the most densely populated municipal unit in Lesbos. Nevertheless, the city enjoys moderate weather with both a pleasant summer and winter, the whole year-round.
If your family plans to visit Mytilene, here are the 12 things you can do there to make your visit a memorable one.
12. Lesvos Oinoforos Estate
The Lesvos Oinoforos is a winery located on the outskirts of Mytilene. The place offers a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. Like Eva, it is a splendid wine tasting area for couples who want to learn more about the local Greek wines or enjoy each other’s company.
The wine tasting room is located on the first floor. You can also check out the kitchen and the screen room. For more comfort, you can also book the suite situated on the top floor.
The Oinoforos Estate’s other attraction is the “Glass Hall,” a popular venue for concerts and weddings.
11. EVA – Greek Distillation Company
The EVA-Greek Distillation Company is a must-visit place when you come to Mytilene. The distillery was established in 1995 by the Patrikopoulos brothers. It produces one of the finest ouzo not only in Lesvos but the whole of Greece too. Ouzo is a traditional anise-flavored liquor widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus.
The EVA-Distillery is located in the town’s outskirts. When you visit the distillery, you get a chance to learn the production, distillation, and bottling of ouzo. You will not only gain a first-hand experience of not only ouzo but other drinks like Mitilini, Dimino, and Sertiko.
It is an ideal wine tasting place for couples to learn more about Greek wines and their rich heritage.
10. The ancient theater of Mytilene
The ancient theater of Mytilene is regarded to be one of the most significant architectural monuments of ancient times. There is a belief that Pompey copied this theater for the theater he was building in Rome. This subsequently paved the way for the Roman style of building theaters.
The theater is confirmed to have been built during the Early Hellenistic times. Unfortunately, the 107-meter horseshoe structure was not able to withstand the test of time. Once a 10,000 seated theater crumbled into ruins mainly because of soil erosion and many volcanic rocks.
You can still visit the site to view and study its architecture.
9. Catholic Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, Mytilene
This Catholic Church is located in the center of the city’s shopping market. During the troubles of 1922, the island of Lesbos was a safe refuge for many of the Catholics. Consequently, they made this church their shelter against all kinds of troubles. The wall plaques display the names of all those who took refuge during that time.
The Church of Virgin Mary underwent a heavy restoration during 2010, and many frescoes were restored too. You can visit this Catholic Church on Sundays when they hold mass inside the church. It was built in 1843. Architecture plays an integral part in preserving Greek heritage and history.
8. Lesvos Yeni Mosque
The Yeni Mosque is one of the essential historical landmarks situated in Mytilene. It is also the largest mosque in the whole of Mytilene. It was initially constructed as a replacement for the old mosque destroyed in an earthquake in 1867. It is referred to as the New Mosque because of its reconstruction.
The Yeni Mosque was constructed in the 19th century. It stands at the center of the old Turkish Market. You can visit this mosque while you shop and look around in the city. Most of the mosque is in ruins, but you can still catch a glimpse of the Ottoman and Byzantine combination of architecture from its structure.
7. The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is located in the harbor of the city. It is made entirely of bronze and was created by Gregorios Zevgolis, a famous Greek sculptor. Initially cast in 1922, the statue was bought and dedicated for Mytilene in 1930. Although it is made of bronze, the base stand of the sculpture is made of marble. It is 49 feet tall.
It is open for observation to the public on all days. Standing in the area, you will get a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. Locals lovingly call Mytilene’s Statue of Liberty as the younger sister of NYork’sk’s Statue of Liberty. You can sit below the statue to enjoy the sunset and an evening picnic for the family.
6. Theriade Library and Museum of Modern Art
The Theriade Museum is situated in Mytilene. It is shortened and named as Teriade Museum. Teriade was born in Mytilene and became one of the city’s most influential art critics. Under his authority as an artistic director, he began to commission famous artists like Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse. He was also the greatest patron of Theophilos, for which he donated a building for honoring the works of Theophilos’ art.
The Teriade Museum opened to the public in the early 1970s to commemorate his contribution to Greek art and culture.
The Museum is located next to the Theophilos Museum of Folklore Art. The Museum charges 2 Euros per person and is open for all on weekdays.
5. Tsamakia Beach
Tsamakia Beach is located in the center of Mytilene. The whole year-round, it is bustling with visitors because of its scenic view and perfect location. It can also become a bit crowded during the summers, but it is still worth visiting the beach.
For an entrance fee of 2 Euros per person, you receive your bed, shower, umbrella, and a changing cubicle. It is an ideal spot to visit for families with children. In addition, you can try out authentic Greek and other Mediterranean Cuisines. It is also an excellent spot for adults to take a swim, go snorkeling or enjoy the sunset with a drink.
4. Theophilos Museum of Folklore Art
The Theophilos Museum is dedicated to Mytilene’s famous artist Theophilos Hatzimihail. The building was built and donated by the renowned art book publisher Teriade. He was a massive fan of Theophilos and made all his works famous after Theophilos’ demise. Some of Theophilos’ work can be seen hanging on the walls of the Louvre museum as an essential artist of Greek heritage.
The Museum has four connecting rooms displaying more than 80 paintings by Theophilos. They contain paintings of landscapes and everyday life during his time. It is open to all on weekdays. You can reach the place by trekking or taking a bus from Mytilini city center.
3. Archaeological Museum of Mytilene
The Archaeological Museum of Mytilene has been moved so many times because of geological problems. First, it was housed in 1935 in the American Classic Studies School building, then to the Bournazos family mansion in 1965, and finally inaugurated into a new facility in 1991.
The Museum has mosaic floors and wall paintings dating back to 2nd century Mytilene society. It also has sculptures from the Romans and Hellenistic period.
The tickets cost around 4 Euros for an adult. On important days, you can gain access for free. It opens to the public six days a week except on Tuesdays.
2. The Commander of Lesvos Monastery
The Commander of Lesvos Monastery is popularly called Taksiarchis or The Monastery of the Archangel Michael by the locals. It is an important monastery that provided sanctuary to Christian monks, although no monks reside today.
The striking thing about the Commander of Lesvos Monastery is a warplane mounted in the monastery’s garden. Not only that, inside the monastery are images of pilots and aircraft of Greek people. It is because the monastery is the patron of Greek pilots. The icon of Archangel Michael is the most prominent tourist attraction. Also, the monastery celebrates a mass twice a week on Sundays and Mondays, which you can also attend.
1. Castle of Mytilene
The Castle of Mytilene is one of the largest Castle in the whole of the Mediterranean, covering more than 60 acres. It is a famous location for hosting local festivals, especially during summers.
The Castle has three sections – the Acropolis or Upper Castle, the Middle Castle, and the Lower Castle. The visiting fee is not more than 1 euro. It is an excellent place to visit with your family to learn about the ancient civilization and historical sites that survived over the centuries. The view from the Castle is a beautiful sight to see. It opens every day for the public except on Tuesdays.