Polichnitos-Skala Polichnito, Vrisa, Vasilika, Lisvori and Stavros
The village of Polichnitos is located on the south-western part of the island. on the east end of the Kalloni gulf, approximately 45km from the capital city of Mytilene. Polichnitos received its name from the union of the words “Polla ihni”, which means “many traces”: many small villages (traces) which used to exist mainly along the coast of Lesvos, due to the fear of Saracen pirates, were compelled to move to the current location which is surrounded by hills and invisible from sea. The village has been declared a protected settlement area and a visit here will acquaint you with the traditional architecture of Lesvos. Walking around Polichnitos you will come across neoclassical mansions, old shops and traditional houses.
During your tour there, you can visit the church of Saint George which has a steeple of carved stone. At the entrance of the village you will see an old building which used to be an olive oil factory with a tall chimney. This chimney is a landmark for Polichnitos, as for years it offers hospitality to a nest of storks.
Outside Polichnitos you will find the warmest hot spring in Europe!! This means that the temperatures are between 67°C and 92°C. The water is flowing through many sources, through volcanic rocks. Spend a day at the beach of Skala Polichnitos or Nifida, where you will find an abundance of seaside fish taverns and cafes to choose from!
Near Polichnitos is the village of Lisvori, which also is blessed with hot springs. Lisvori is also where you will find the sweetest chickpeas of the island which are produced here, along with the sought-after aniseed, one of the main ingredients that flavor our famous ouzo! This area produces also some of the most aromatic olive oil on the island. Τhe region is of great significance as a result of excavations which have been taking place at the Rodafnidia site, close to the hot springs of Lisvori by the University of Crete in collaboration with other universities and research institutions in Greece and abroad since 2012. Research aims to explore the essentials of prehistoric activity of at least the past 500,000 years. “Archaeological excavations are unveiling a lithic industry having Acheulean affinities. Lower Palaeolithic cores, flakes and tools, among which a great number of Large Cutting Tools, have also been discovered during surface survey along the axes connecting Vasilika – Lisvori – Nifida and Polichnitos – Vatera. They are testimonies to the wide spatial range of hominin activity around Lisvori, across the Kalloni basin and southern Lesbos. The project adds a new piece to the still incomplete puzzle of the early Palaeolithic world, at the heart of Eurasia, at the very point where Asia meets Europe, the northeastern Aegean.” https://www.palaeolithiclesbos.org/en/home/program/
The nearby village of Vrissa unfortunately in 2017 was devasted by a massive earthquake that shook Lesvos, resulting in its almost complete destruction. Currently it is slowly slowly being rebuilt. Vrissa was a well known destination due to its Natural History Collection, which was housed in the old girls’ school of Vrissa and offered visitors the opportunity to gain an overall impression of the natural history of the area. The collection was founded in September 1999 and includes vertebrate and invertebrate fossils that lived 2 million years before, samples of minerals, ores and rocks of Lesvos, zoology and botany section with a unique value not only in Greece but also throughout Europe. Also bones from rhinos, camels, antelopes, gazelles, elephants, giraffes, deer, cattle, sheep and an impressive giant tortoiseshell which is 2.5m! However the most amazing finding is an oversized ape family! The Natural History Collection has been rehoused to a location in Polichnitos and is not currently available to the public. Hopefully the collection will soon be available in a new temporary location.
A few kilometers after Vrissa you can enjoy the biggest sandy beach on the island at the seaside tourist resort of Vatera. The beach of Vatera is more than 8km long and has various widths between 10 to 30 meters. The sea is crystal clear because the waters are renewed in the open sea. You can enjoy water sports, excursions with tourist boats and fishing. Or just spend a relaxing day at the beach, enjoying good food and drinks at one of the seaside tavernas, café-bars or nightclubs.
Vasilika is an attractive village. According to a historical aspect, Vasilika was not one village but a group of villages in the same area which were altogether called “Vasilika Horia” this means in English “Royal Villages”. They were royal because they were the property of the King of Byzantium who used the entire area to offer hospitality to his relatives and officers. Between Polichnitos and Vasilika you can visit the Monastery of Damandriou which is an old basilica church with remarkable frescoes dating back to the second half of the 16th century.
At Stavros, three old churches can be found there which are dedicated to Saint Bartholomeo, Saint Paraskevi and Saint Theraponta. Today the inhabitants of the settlement are engaged in agricultural and livestock work. The local products which are really famous and produced there are: roupades (olives), myzithra, ladotyri, trahanas, pefkites mushrooms and garden vegetables without fertilizer.
Polichintos- Skala Polichnitos
|1. The Hot Springs of Polichintos|
|2. The traditional settlement of Polichnitos has an abundance of beautiful buildings with unique architecture, remarkable mansions and 19th century industrial buildings|
|3. The Salt Pans of Polichnitos, popular for birdwatchers|
|4. The Church of St. George built in 1805, considered to house the most beautiful stone-carved bell-tower on Lesvos|
|5. The Municipal Cultural Center of Polichnitos (Polikentro) that used to be the old communal olive press. You might even see the nests of the beloved storks that come every|
year to lay their eggs at the top of the smokestack
|6. The post office of Polichnitos that used to be a mosque|
|7. The Museum of Folk Art and The Natural History Collection of Vrissa|
|8. The Mansion of Kallia-Bay in Skala Polichnitou – a listed monument|
|9. St. John in Skala Polichnitou with a marble foundaton- built in 1834|
|10. The Harbour of Skala Polichnitos with wonderful fish taverns located on the Gulf of Kalloni|
|11. The beach of Skala Polichnitos|
|1. In Nifida- the ancient settlement located at “Chalakies”, Perivola which dates back to the Age of Copper|
|2. The beach of Nifida with tavernas and beach bars|
|1. The Church of Zoodochou Pigis in Vrissa, built in 1803|
|2. The Primary School of Vrissa located on a hill with a magnificent view to the village|
|3. The “Paliopyrgos” of Vrissa – the oldest tower on Lesvos, dating back to the Gatteluzi period|
|4. The “Achiliopigado” – or the “Well of Achilleus” on the way to Aghios Focas cape. According to myth, this well was built by Achilleas to provide water for his horses!|
|1. The Hot Springs of Lisvori|
|2. The “Rodafnidia” palaeolithic excavation site of The University of Crete in an olive grove|
|3. The Church of St. John|
|4. Ruins of sunk harbour establishments in the ancient site “Kourtir” where there used to exist a prehistoric settlement in 2000 BC|
|5. The ruins of a Byzantine fortress near Skamnioudi and the seaside taverns around the fishing port of Skamnioudi|
|1. The Seaside resort of Vatera with hotels, rental apartments, tavernas, beach bars and night clubs- one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island|
|2. Vatera Beach with its beautiful grey sand stretching for approximately 8 km, making it the longest beach on the island!|
|3. Watersports at Vatera|
|4. The special flora and fauna of Vatera|
|5. Agios Fokas Cape with its chapel of St. Fokas built on the remains of a temple dedicated to Dionysos|
|6. Drota beach near Agios Fokas Cape|
|1. The isolated beach of Apergousa to the south of Stavros|
|2. Church of St. Paraskevi|
|3. Church of St. Vartholomaios|
|4. Church of St. Therapontos|
|5. Hiking in the surrounding nature|
|1. Olive, pine and plane trees|
|2. The seaside village of Agios Pavlos near Vasilika|
|3. Remnants of the primary school of Vassilica, built in 1933|
|1. Ancient Pyrra ruins- one of the five city states of Lesvos which you may see remnants of in the sea|
|2. Hiking in the pine forest of Ahladeri|
|3. Pessa Waterfalls|
|4. Mushroom lovers will love the Ahladeri region during rainy season! Lesvos has a rich variety of mushrooms!|
|5. Fields of red poppies in spring time|
|6. Birdwatching – you may get a glimpse of the “tourkotsopanakos”, one of the rarest species of birds in all of Europe here|
|7. Lunch at the fish tavern on one of the coves of Ahladeri|