Why you should go to Skala Eressos !

The third-largest of Greece's islands, Lesvos is aptly described as a hidden gem of the Aegean, and one of the last places in the country where travelers can experience authentic Greek village life. Of particular appeal to lesbian tourists is the free-spirited beach town of Skala Eressos, which lies on the western coast of the island amid a stunning landscape of olive trees and volcanic plains. The birthplace of 7th-century BC poet Sappho - so famed for her seductive, female-centered verse that Plato dubbed her "the 10th Muse"  - it combines bohemian charm with a gay pedigree not found anywhere else in the world.

This charming seaside village is home to a cluster of progressive hotels and businesses - including several catering specifically to women - and has been a favorite with lesbian travelers since the 1970s. A two-mile soft sand beach, flanked by sunset cocktail bars and family-run Greek tavernas, is ideal for long days spent in the sun or on the water, while the surrounding countryside is dotted with ancient ruins and hidden waterfalls, making it the perfect place to wander with a backpack and a picnic lunch. The island is also a transit point for over 279 species of birds, and supports a rich ecosystem of coastal wildlife, including turtles, goats, sheep, and various aquatic fauna.

While this area does enjoy some popularity with mainstream visitors and families, the overall vibe is that of exuberant counter-culture, meaning unlike the rest of Greece, lesbians can feel free to show open affection and mingle with the locals, who are friendly and welcoming. Many of the business owners are British and German women who have settled in Lesvos after years of visiting, and are happy to share their accumulated knowledge with new guests. You're likely to make a whole new set of friends, and come back here again and again: it's rare for people to visit Skala Eressos just once.

Heliotopos Barbeque

Tourist favorite Heliotopos Hotel has a popular Friday night barbecue where guests can mingle with locals and eat...

Island Cats

Skala Eressos is home to a tribe of street cats that are anything but feral. Looked upon as members of the community, they...

Sappho Travel

Sappho Travel is the cornerstone of the local tourism industry. Run by a team of women, it's a one-stop-shop for ferry...

General impression
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LGBT-friendly
Excellent
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Getting around

As the entire village of Skala Erresos is small enough to stroll from one end  to the other in less than 15 minutes, most people will find that walking suits them best, and the gentle terrain makes this an easy task. Bicycles, scooters, and rental cars are available for day trips to other parts of the island, and buses or ferries for long-distance travel.

All flights to Lesvos land at Mytilini International Airport, which receives direct flights from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Holland. Domestic flights from Athens International Airport leave up to seven times a day, and take just under an hour to reach Mytilini. Domestic flights also run from Thessaloniki International airport to Mytilini.

Another travel option is taking a ferry from the mainland to Mytilini harbor. Ferries leave daily from Pireaus in western Athens, and take about 12 hours - usually an overnight trip. In the high summer season a few high-speed ferries are added to the schedule, which take between six and eight hours.

Rental cars are available in most of the larger villages on the island. The drive from Mytilene airport to Skala Eressos is about an hour and a half. While it's unlikely that you will need a car during the bulk of your stay, those with mobility issues certainly have the option available to them. Rental cars can also be picked up at the airport or delivered to one of the ferries.

Many hotels offer free bicycles, though they're not always of high quality, and can be a bit treacherous on unpaved roads. More ergonomic bikes can be rented from tourist shops in town for very affordable rates. Either of these will be sufficient to get you to your choice of beach, restaurant or nearby tourist sight. The streets bordering the beachare closed to cars, so cyclists can roam freely.

There are daily bus routes that run from Lesvos' capital city of Mytilene to Skala Eressos, stopping in small towns along the way. These routes usually run three times a day, with a travel time of about two and a half hours. The national bus service is run by KTEL, but it should be noted that timetables are often viewed as more of a suggestion.

Taxis are one of the easiest ways to get to Skala Eressos from the international airport in Mytilene, with fares hovering around $100, depending on the strength of the dollar. You can also use a taxi to see the main sights on the island, and these trips fall in the $10 to $30 range. Taxis can be arranged through your travel agent or hotel.