Please sign in to post.

Lesbos, Argostoli, Corfu

We(2) will be on a cruise in May that stops in Lesbos, Argostoli and Corfu among others for about 7 hours each. I have not decided what to do in these ports. Any advice or suggestions for our time there? Get a tour or just stay in the town? Not looking for beach time. I heard Lesbos is swamped with refugees so I am not even sure we will stop there but I would like to have an idea of what to do if we do. Thanks.

Posted by
1940 posts

I can't comment on Argostoli or Corfu, but I hope your ship does stop in Lesbos. The wonderfully kind people who live on the island have had a challenging year with the refugees, and could use tourist dollars. And fortunately, the migrant crisis seems to be over. I received an email last week from a friend on the island, who said, "The scenery has totally changed especially after the EU-Turkey deal!! There are no migrants at the port or at the streets of the town or neither will you find them on the big roads. So it was such a great feeling to see that the island is back to its normal life!"

I would suggest that you rent a car and explore this beautiful island. Driving is very easy on Lesbos. The major roads are well maintained, and aside from the area around Mytilene, you will not see many other drivers on the roads. It's a large island (the 3rd largest Greek island) with only 85,000 residents. So driving is stress-free ... all you need is a good map. Be aware that the spelling of the names of towns can vary (Mytilene/Mitilene ... even Mithimina/Molyvos) so don't let that throw you.

Probably the best idea would be to drive around the beautiful Gulf of Gera to the little town of Plomari, where there's an ouzo factory with an interesting free museum that you can visit -- they give you a free tour & explain how ouzo is made. The factory is named Barbayanni. As I recall, it's on your left just as you enter Plomari. There are some lovely restaurants along the water in town where you can have a relaxing lunch. Notice all the olive groves on your drive ... Lesbos has more than 10 million olive trees. A little tin of olive oil makes a great souvenir.

If you are more adventurous, you could drive across the island to Sigri. You can visit the Pervolis monastery along the way, a pretty little chapel with 500-year-old frescos. Sigri has a cool end-of-the-world feel to it. It has a castle, with a rusty WWII tank abandoned in the weeds outside. You can have a nice lunch overlooking the sea.

To see where all these places are, search these routes on Rome2Rio. It has a great map. I think their driving time estimates are a bit understated ... they say 1 hour 27 minutes from Mytilene to Sigri .... I'd allow 2. And allow extra time on your way home from either place, in case you make a wrong turn or whatever.

Even though the migrant boats have stopped coming, the Rome2Rio map might help ease your mind. Boats came in between the towns of Skala Sikiminea and Mithimna, at the north end of the island. You can see how close it is to Turkey, and can see that you will be no-where near that area.

I hope you get to see Lesbos and that you have a wonderful time!

Posted by
21326 posts

I was in Corfu over 40 years ago, so I have no idea about current conditions. Corfu is distinctly different from most other Greek islands. It's greener, and the architecture has some Venetian influences. The main town is very attractive and not small, so you can spend a fair amount of time wandering around there.

My usual procedure on Greek islands is to check (carefully! you have a boat departure to meet) the public-bus schedule and pick a route that cuts across the interior. I hop on the bus, ride to the end, grab something to eat at a nearby taverna if time permits, and return by bus. If necessary due to schedules, I just ride out and back, causing much bus-driver puzzlement. Since you can't afford to be late, it would be prudent to visit the tourist office to double check on doable destinations. And I would want to have phone numbers of 2 or 3 taxis I could summon in case I somehow got marooned and needed help getting back to port.

I'm sure there are tours out of Corfu town, but they may focus mainly on beaches.