General Information on Agios Efstratios
Agios Efstratios is a small volcanic island located south of Limnos, with a surface area of ca. 49km² and 300 residents. The island was named after a monk from Vythinia, who came to the island in the 19th century and died there. For many years, the island was used as a place of exile. Nowadays, tourism is low and the island is a suitable destination for those seeking peace and clean, sandy beaches.
History of Agios Efstratios
According to the famous geographer of antiquity Pausanias, the island Agios Efstratios emerged from the sea in 197 BC, when the homeric Chrisi sank the northern part of Limnos. As the island was a new one in the northeast Aegean Sea, it was called “Nea” (greek for "new").
Despite the lack of many indications, it is almost certain that the island was inhabited in the prehistoric period and specifically, in Mycenaean times. From the Hellenic Era until the 20th century A.D. the island probably had the same fate as the other ones in the Northern Aegean. However, due to recent political history, Agios Efstratios is known as an outpost of political prisoners during 1930s. Among the exiled guests were such luminaries as composer Mikis Theodorakis and poets Kostas Varnalis and Giannis Ritsos.
Towns & Villages in Agios Efstratios
Agios Efstratios: This is the port and only village of the island. The catastrophic earthquake of 1968 almost levelled the settlement and it still has not fully recovered. The village is small, bearing few interesting buildings, as the rest were destroyed by the earthquake. However, Agios Efstratios village is still charming with its colourful houses and its very friendly and hospitable environment.
Beaches in Agios Efstratios
The most notable beach of the island is in the village, consisting of dark volcanic sand and clear waters. Another beach worth going to is Alonitsi on the northeast side of the island. It is an elongated, completely undeveloped, pristine sand beach; have your walking shoes on, though, as you need a 90-minute walk to reach it. Other beaches worth visiting are Agios Antonios, Agios Dimitrios, Trygari, Trypiti, Ftylio, Gournia, to name a few. They can all be reached on foot, as there are no cars on the island.
Top Things to Do in Agios Efstratios
1. Trekking: Due to its small size, Agios Efstratios is ideal for trekking. There are some excellent routes along the coastline, but you wi’ll have to ask the locals for further information.
2. The Church of Agios Basilis: This church is the most important and unique example of post-Byzantine architecture of Agios Efstratios. According to the inscription plate, it was built in 1727 in the type of domed basilica.
How to Reach Agios Efstratios
A ferry connects the island to Lavrio (8 ½ hours) four times a week, and Lemnos (1 ½ hours) and Kavala (8 hours) five times a week. A small local ferry runs between Agios Efstratios and Limnos several times a week. Because the harbor of the island is exposed to west winds, ferry services may sometimes be cancelled or delayed.
Getting Around in Agios Efstratios
There is no bus service or taxis on the island. In fact, there are almost no cars. The island is small and roads are limited and in bad condition. Walking is the best way of getting around.
Weather in Agios Efstratios
The island of Agios Efstratios has a similar, yet drier, climate, compared to the other islands of the Northeastern Aegean. Strong winds are occasional, but precipitation is very rare.
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Map of Agios Efstratios