Lemnos (or Limnos as it’s sometimes spelt) is a beautiful Greek Island that lies nestled in the north west of the Aegean Sea. It’s an island known for its stunning beaches, ancient archaeological sites, churches, caves, castles and more. In Greek mythology, Lemnos was the island of Hephaestus, the God of Fire, which makes sense when you consider that Lemnos is a richly volcanic island.
Despite being one of the lesser-known and lesser-visited islands, Lemnos still have plenty of things to see and do, so whether you’re into sight-seeing, beach relaxation, trying traditional foods or visiting spectacular vistas, Lemnos has you covered. Read on to discover the top things to do in Lemnos as well as info about where to stay and how to get there.
17 Things to Do in Lemnos – an Island Guide
1. Visit the archaeological sites
The archaeological site of Ancient Poliochni lies on the east coast of Lemnos and is an example of one of the largest civilisations of the Early Bronze Age. Due to its location on the border between Europe and Asia Minor, Ancient Poliochni was a rich commercial centre and is thought to be one of the oldest thriving settlements in the whole of Europe. Today, visitors can see a range of different settlements that were built over each other from around 4000BC to 1184 BC.
Ifestia is the site of an ancient amphitheatre, cemetery, palace and baths, founded by the Pelasgians that was the second most important settlement on the island during ancient times and the centre of religious activity. The site also features a sanctuary devoted to the ‘Great Goddess’ the matriarch of the society at the time, and it is believed that the island was ruled by Amazonian-like ladies during ancient times.
Temple of Kavirio
Another site of significance on Lemnos is the Temple of Kavirio, located just 3km from Ifestia. Built around the 6th or 7th century BC, the Temple of Kavirio was created as a place to worship the sons of Hephaestus, the Gods of the Sea and of Fertility.
2. Check out the cave of Philoctetes
Situated within the grounds of the Kaviria site lies the Cave of Philoctetes, an underwater cave where in Ancient Greek mythology, Philoctetes, the son of a king in Thessaly, was abandoned by his fellow Greek warriors en route to the Trojan War. Legend has it that Philoctetes was bitten by a serpent while hunting on Lemnos and as the wound smelt so bad, the soldiers left him in the cave as they continued their journey to Troy.
Despite all other soldiers abandoning him, Hercules left Philoctetes with a magical weapon that kept him going through 10 years of loneliness. Later, the Greeks came back to Lemnos to retrieve the weapon as they were told by an oracle that it was the only thing that would help them win the Trojan War, and Philoctetes was the man to kill Paris which led to the Greeks win the war.
3. Hike to Panagia Kakaviotissa
Panagia Kakaviotissa (aka the Church without a Roof) is a spectacular historic church situated near the village of Thanos that is built into a rock cavity on the side of the Kakavos Mountain. Thanks to its remote location, Panagia Kakaviotissa was used as a place of shelter by monks on the island and it’s not exactly a bad place to meditate with breath-taking sea views and glorious golden light when the sun sets.
The walk to Panagia Kakaviotissa takes around 20 minutes along a dirt track but it well worth the effort!
4. Check out the sand dunes near Gomati (Ammothines)
The sandy desert area of Ammothines in Lemnos is quite unlike any other place in Greece with rolling dunes and lush vegetation that thrives in the sand. Located in the north of the island, Ammothines is reached by dirt track from the village of Katalakkos and is a stunning place to landscape photography as well as a desert hike to Gomati Beach.
5. Discover the rock formations at Falakro
Another of Lemnos’ impressive landscapes is Cape Falakro with its red rock formations contrasting with the turquoise Aegean waters and the soft surrounding sand.
Again, this landscape is quite atypical for Greece so it is well worth a visit, especially in the evening for photographers when the colours really come alive!
6. Visit the military cemeteries of Portianou and Moudros from WWI Battle of Gallipoli (Allied cemeteries)
The military cemeteries of Portianou and Moudros on Lemnos Island are a sad but important reminder of the lives lost during World War I and the Gallipoli campaign. These allied cemeteries feature hundreds of graves of men lost during battle and many families come here from all over the world to seek out the headstones of relatives who died during the war.
It’s a very special and moving place for those who want to pay their respects.
7. Check out the house Churchill stayed in Portianou village
In 1915, Winston Churchill set up his headquarters in Portianou Village on Lemnos while rallying the Alliance Army for the battle at Gallipoli. Today, visitors can discover the house where he stayed during this time. This is located close to the Cemetery of Portianou so both can be visited in one trip.
8. Visit the fishing village of Moudros
Moudros Village is an eastern port town on the island of Lemnos as is known for its excellent seafood that comes in off the boats daily throughout the year. Moudros is a peaceful village with around 1000 inhabitants and it’s a lovely place for visitors to spend a day; exploring the beautiful Greek buildings, stopping off at some of the cafes and restaurants around the bay and even visiting the castle remains on the hilltop or the churches of Taxiarches and Evagelistria.
9. Climb the castle in Myrina
One of Lemnos’ most famous sites if the Medieval Castle of Myrina that stands on the hillside above the island’s capital Myrina Town. Construction of this Byzantine fortification started in 1186 AD and continued to change hands for centuries after, with the Venetians adding to the castle in the 13th century and the Ottomans taking hold later still.
Today, it is the wildlife that has decided to reside here, with a few deer living in and around the fortress.
Tip: The best time to get to the castle is in the afternoon as the way up is under the shade. The view from the castle is breathtaking so it is totally worth it.
10. Explore Myrina
After visiting the castle overlooking Myrina, you’ll want to explore the town itself. The beautiful capital of Lemnos, Myrina is stretched between two bays; Romeikos Gailos and Tourkikos Gialos. The Romeikos Gialos district had been declared a conservation area. Along the coastal road, you will admire many neoclassical buildings. Some of them are now hotels and restaurants.
On this road, you will also see a lot of bars with the most popular one being Karagiozis. The perfect place for a coffee during the day and a drink by the sea at night. This bar has been open ever since I remember myself. There are loads of things to see and do in Myrina including the archaeological museum, the beaches of Romeikos Gialos and Tourkikos Gialos and of course, plenty of restaurants, cafes and tourist shops.
In Tourkikos Gialos the other bay of the town you will find a small port with cute little boats and a lot of taverns serving fresh fish along with some cafe. In between stands the impressive medieval castle of Myrina.
Under the castle there is a very cute cafe called Nefeli that you should visit. From this cafe I have many times spotted deers. In Myrina there is also a very nice market where you can have a stroll and buy souvenirs and local products. Finally in Myrina you will find a very beautiful sandy beach called Riha Nera.
Tip: Just outside Myrina there is a place called Therma famous for its hot springs. The area is surrounded by beautiful nature and many plane trees. The water of the springs is potable and it heals skin diseases and rheumatism. There you can enjoy a spa bath.
11. Explore the windmills scattered around the island
As with many Greek islands, Lemnos has a number of traditional windmills that are interesting to visit and are great for landscape photographs!
Some of the best lie near Romanou village and Kontias village and you can even stay overnight in some of the windmills (see below).
12. Check out Maroulas’s statue in Kotsinas
Another dedication to the matriarchs of Lemnos Island is the Maroula Statue in Kotsinas Village. This statue represents the daughter of a commander who took up his sword when he was all-but-ready to give up the battle against the Ottomans and started a counterattack which led to the Venetian victory. The statue is located next to the Zoodochos Pigi Church and the ‘Agiasma’ blessed water offering.
13. Do wind surfing and kite surfing at Keros beach
Keros beach is one of the best spots on the island for water sports as the winds that come into the bay from the west make it ideal for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. There is also a really cool glamping and surf club at Keros beach which is perfect for beginners who want to stay and give it a go.
14. Head in one of the many beaches
As you would expect from an island the shape and size of Lemnos, there are hundreds of coves and beaches to explore. Whether you’re looking for a sandy shore or want a clear stretch of pebble waters, Lemnos has you covered. Each cove is slightly different, with some featuring sunbeds and tavernas while others are completely remote and unspoilt. The choice is yours!
I will just mention a few. Riha Nera in Myrina is a nice sandy organized beach. Next to Myrina is Agios Ioannis that has 3 consecutive beaches. The middle one is the best. From there you can enjoy a spectacular sunset. Another lovely sandy beach, organized with beach bars and water sports is Nevgatis or Zematas.
Some lovely beaches near Moudros that I often visit are Mikro Fanaraki, Megalo Fanaraki with some great sand dunes and Havouli. The beach of Kotsinas is a great beach very popular with families. Keros is a great beach for the lovers of windsurfing and kite – surfing. Very close to Myrina you will also find the organized beaches of Platy and Thanos.
For more information you can check my post: The best beaches to visit in Lemnos.
15. Check out the wetlands
There are also a few wetlands on the island. The Aliki lake which is filled with salty water in the winter and in the summer the water evaporates and leaves a great quality salt behind. The Hortarolimni and the Asprolimni, two lakes that are completely dry in the summer but in winter are home to many birds including pink flamingoes.
16. Wine tasting
Last but not least is Lemnos wine tasting! Lemnos is home to a range of different vineyards and is particularly famous for Muscat that pairs perfectly with some of the local cheeses. Lemnos Wine Trails introduce you to the methods used on the island of Lemnos and allow you to understand the wines before sitting down to taste them with an expert.
17. Buy local products
Greece is generally a country with great food and Lemnos makes no exception. There are some lovely local foods made in Lemnos that you should try to and take home with you. One of my favorites is a cheese made only in Lemnos called Kalthaki Limnou which is made of sheep and goat milk and melipasto cheese that makes a great saganaki (grilled cheese).
Other local products include rusks made from local barley and thyme honey. When you visit the countryside of the island the smell of thyme is everywhere. Another favourite that my grandmother also makes is flomaria which is pasta cut into very fine pieces made from local flour, eggs and sheep. milk. Lemnos is also famous for its wines. Some of my favourites include Aroma Limnou, Limnia Gi and Moscato Limnou which is a dessert wine.
Where to stay in Lemnos
One of the most unique and interesting places to stay on Lemnos are the Limnos Windmills, a group of restored, old Greek windmills that have been converted into quaint tourist apartments. Each windmill is split over two levels and features a double bedroom, en-suite bathroom and a private outside terrace from which to take in the view of the island. The windmills are located in the village and are not far by car from a great selection of beaches.
Wait n’ Sea House
For families and groups of friends visiting Lemnos, the Wait n’ Sea House on Airbnb is an excellent option as it can accommodate up to 8 guests and features everything you need for a self-catered stay. The house comprises three double bedrooms (and a sofa bed in the lounge) as well as a kitchen, dining room and two bathrooms. The home also boasts some great outside spaces and offers sea and sunset views! The house is also pet friendly.
How to get to Lemnos
While Lemnos isn’t the most popular island in the Aegean, it still has an international airport (“Hephaestus”) that can be reached from outside of Greece during the peak summer months. This includes flights from Heathrow as well as some indirect flights from other European nations. The easiest way to get to Lemnos by plane though is to transfer through Athens, with flights leaving daily and taking under an hour.
Alternatively, if you are travelling within the Greek isles, you may want to get to Lemnos by ferry with the port of Myrina connecting up to islands like Chios, Fournoi, Mykonos, Patmos and Syros, as well as Lavrio in Athens. There is also a ferry from Thessaloniki and Kavala in Northern Greece. Ferries to Lemnos are slightly less frequent than some of the larger, more popular islands, so you’ll want to plan your trip in advance to really make the most of your time in Greece.
So, as you can see there is loads to see and do in Lemnos including many things that make the island quite different to some of its other Aegean counterparts. Whether you visit for the landscapes, the beaches, the history or the food and wine, you’ll be sure to be impressed by this interesting, beautiful Greek island.
Have you ever been to Lemnos? Did you like it?