General Information on Limnos
The island of Limnos is part of the northeastern Aegean islands, between the islands of Lesvos and Samothraki. Limnos has a surface area of about 476km² and it is inhabited by approximately 17,000 people. The charms of the island don’t appear at first sight. But, gradually, visitors discover its beauties.
The island is volcanic, mountainous and has lush vegetation, fertile soil and many beautiful beaches. The number of visitors in Limnos started increasing fairly recently, so the villages are still untouched by modern-day tourism and have kept their traditional style.
History of Limnos
According to mythology, the island of Limnos was the island of Hephaestus, god of fire and volcanoes. The god fell on the island when his father Zeus hurled him headlong out of Olympus. Hephaestus broke his leg when he landed on the island and was crippled ever after. The inhabitants took care of him and in return, he taught them the art of metallurgy. Although some myths refer to Sicily as his workshop, others refer that he worked in Limnos. However, it is certain that Hephaestus was the patron god of the island, and that at least one temple was built in his honor. According to a famous legend, the women of the island were all deserted by their husbands for Thracian women, and in revenge, they murdered every man on the island. The Argonauts who arrived here only met a female population, which was ruled by Hypsipyle, daughter of the former king Thoas. From the Argonauts and the Lemnian women emerged the race of Minyae.
Archaeological excavations have revealed early settlements from the Bronze Age. A trace of pre-Greek Lemnian language has been found on a 6th century B.C. inscription on a funerary stele, the Limnon stele. The island came under Persian rule in the 5th century B.C. and joined the Athenian League after the end of the Persian Wars. The island stayed under the rule of the Athenians for almost all the Archaic Period until the Macedonian empire absorbed it. In 197 B.C. the Romans declared its independence, but in 166 B.C. gave it over to Athens which retained nominal possession, until all of Greece was Romanized in 146 B.C.
After the division of the Roman Empire, Limnos became part of the Byzantine Empire. Like other eastern provinces, its possession changed between Greeks, Italians and Turks. From 1462 to 1479, the island was an object of dispute between the Venetians and the Turks. Venice was forced to consign it to the Turks when the Ottoman Empire became supreme in the Aegean. After the Greek War of Independence in 1821, Limnos like other northeastern Aegean islands did not join the new Greek State until 1912 during the First Balkan War.
Towns & Villages in Limnos
Myrina: The island capital and port is sometimes known as Kastro for its romantic castle built over the rocky promontory in the midst of the sandy shore. At first sight, the capital does not seems very attractive but, after the first impression, visitors are charmed. Old neoclassical mansions, Ottoman buildings and fountains, traditional houses, narrow paths and steps compose the charm of Myrina. The settlement is full of shops, cafes, bars, taverns and hotels.
Kondias: This village is one of the biggest and most beautiful villages of the island, situated 11km south of Myrina. The settlement is very old, built on an excellent spot between verdant hills, full of pine and cypress trees. During summer, Kondias welcomes many visitors attracted by the narrow alleys, the stone houses, the windmills and the beautiful church of Agios Dimitrios with its amazing stone bell-tower.
Moudros: This is the second biggest town of Limnos and its second harbor. Once capital of the island, Moudros today is a commercial and fishing port, one of the safest in the Mediterranean. Situated 27km east of Myrina, the settlement was the base of operations for the Greek fleet during the Balkan Wars. Various cafes, shops, hotels and rooms for rent are available here.
Kaspakas: This village is located 5km inland, north of Myrina and it is invisible from the sea, because it was built to be protected from pirates. Traditional houses and old mansions surrounded by cobblestone narrow paths compose the picturesque scenery of the settlement. The beach of Ai Giannis with its beautiful long-narrow rocks is close to the village.
Kornos: This village is one of the most beautiful of Limnos. It is situated 6km northeast of Myrina and it is full of narrow paths, neoclassical mansions and lovely churches and chapels.
Repanidi: This village is located 24km northeast of Myrina. It is a lovely village with an amazing Byzantine Castle which has been associated with heroine Maroula who fought against the Turks in the 15th century. Only 2.5km away from the village lays the beautiful beach of Kotsinas.
Beaches in Limnos
Agios Ioannis: This sandy and long beach is located 6km north of Myrina, near the village of Kaspakas. The beach has crystal clear waters, tourist facilities, and is surrounded by huge volcanic rocks.
Avlonas: This beach is located 1km north of Myrina. Despite its proximity to the capital, Avlonas remains untouched and unorganized. It is a sandy beach with clear waters.
Riha Nera: This is one of the most popular beaches of Limnos and it is located close to the capital. It has fine golden sand, shallow waters and offers rentals for water sports and other tourist facilities.
Keros: This is probably the most well-known beach of the island. It is sandy, organized and very popular, thus very crowded during summer.
Thanos: It is a beautiful sandy beach lying near the village of Thanos, 4km southeast of Myrina. The beach is long with azure crystal-clear waters and amazing surroundings of volcanic rocks.
Plati: This beach is located 2km southeast of the capital, stretching on 700 meters. It is sandy and offers bars, taverns, rooms for rent and water sport facilities.
Gomati: The beach of Gomati is nestled in a cove, on the southern coast of Limnos, a few kilometers north of Katalakos villages. The beach has the longest sandy dunes in Greece and crystal clear waters.
Top Things to Do in Limnos
1. Myrina Castle: Above Myrina towers the Kastro. It is built on a steep rocky peninsula, connected to land on the east side. On the highest point of the hill stands a half-ruined, multi-room, defensive building. Also preserved in the enclosed area are a Muslim oratory, a subterranean vault and cisterns. The castle took its present form in 1207 when the Great Duke of Limnos fortified the capital.
2. Hephaestea: These are the ruins of an ancient settlement that was the largest and most significant town in classical times. It was built in 1000 BC and survived for over 2000 years. The town took its name after god Hephaistos. Today, much of the site remains unexcavated, but there are scant remains of the theatre and a temple dedicated to the god.
3. Poliochni: This settlement was one of the most important Neolithic settlements of the Aegean. It represents a culture that developed in the 3rd millennium B.C. as it is attested by successive architectural phases. The first settlement was an unfortified town of the Bronze Age, the second one was a pre-Mycenaean town and the last one constituted of two Neolithic towns. Its people left in the middle of the 2nd Millennium B.C. probably because of an earthquake. The findings of Poliochni are exhibited in the archaeological museum of Myrina, but the site is definitely worth a visit.
4. Archaeological Museum of Limnos: The neoclassical, three-storey building was constructed at the beginning of the century and during the Ottoman occupation, it was used as the Governor’s House. Today, it houses the Archaeological Museum. The collections of the museum consist of prehistoric finds from the Italian excavations at Poliochni, finds from the Italian excavation at the Kabeirion and Hephaistia, prehistoric finds from the systematic excavations at Koukonesi and finds of the rescue excavations carried out by the 20th Ephorate on the island.
5. The sanctuary of Artemis: Outside the city walls of Myrina in 1991 was the sanctuary of Artemis. It had been used from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. The archaeological site located inside the courtyard of the “Porto Palace” Hotel as Avlona Myrina is open to the public.
How to Reach Limnos
Air: During summer, there are several flights connecting Limnos to Athens, Thessaloniki and Lesvos. The airport is 22km east of Myrina. There is a bus service between the airport and the capital of the island.
Ferry: In summer, a few ferries link Limnos to Kavala (4-5 hours) and Rafina (10 hours) via Agios Efstratios (1½ hours). Also there are ferry links to Chios (11 hours), Piraeus (13 hours), Thessaloniki (7 hours), Alexandroupolis (5 hours) via Samothraki (3 hours).
Getting Around in Limnos
Bus: Bus services on this island are poor. In summer there are two buses daily from Myrina to most of the villages. You will find the schedule at the bus station on square Eleftheriou Venizelou.
Weather in Limnos
The island of Lemnos has a similar climate to the other islands of the northeastern Aegean. Nevertheless, the climate is drier. Strong winds occasionally blow on the island but rainfalls are very rare.
Top 10 Destinations in Limnos
All Destinations in Limnos
Map of Limnos