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Fancy a holiday away from the hubbub of the most popular European tourist resorts this summer? The North Aegean island of Lesbos would be the perfect option for you. Located off the northern coast of Greece, this unassuming island is home to some incredible natural beauty spots, secluded beaches and traditional villages that are begging to be explored.
Lesbos isn't the island for you if you're after a buzzing nightlife, or overcrowded sands overlooking banana boat rides and jet skis as far as the eye can see - what you will find is peace and tranquillity, and the ultimate destination for a relaxing holiday.
The Petrified Forest
A particularly unique part of the island, the Petrified Forest of Lesbos is one of very few in the world and offers visitors a chance to experience this natural monument for themselves. Dramatic, beautiful and intriguing, these fossilised plants are evidence of a subtropical land that existed 20 million years ago.
Located on the northern part of the island, Molyvos Castle dominates the town of the same name that it overlooks. This Genoese fortress can be found at the end of a series of cobbled streets and while it's a wonderful, archaeological place to explore, during the summer season it hosts various outdoor concerts and events also.
As one of the popular beach resorts on the island, Petra would be a perfect place to head if you're looking for an opportunity to soak up the sun. When you're there, check out the charming Panayia Glykofilousa, or the Virgin Mary of the Sweet Kiss Church, which can be seen atop a rock in the heart of the village.
Be a Twitcher for the Day
If you're a lover of nature and wildlife, the island of Lesbos is undoubtedly the perfect place for you. Renowned for its birdwatching opportunities, Lesbos is much more than just beachside resorts and rugged coastlines. Take your binoculars and enjoy an afternoon waiting patiently to spot some of the native breeds of bird, including flamingos, waders and storks. If you want more of an adventure, head inland where you will be able to see even more beautiful species, including the nocturnal owls. Skala Kalloni and Metochi Lake are particularly reputable birdwatching spots on this diverse island.
Dive in Eressos
If you're a lover of the deep, take this opportunity to learn how to master the skill of scuba diving. Experienced divers will help you - from the moment you first experience the gear to the first time you use it in the ocean - so that you can build your confidence and be off exploring underwater kingdoms in no time.
While the natural, unspoilt beauty of Lesbos is enough to satisfy the majority of its visitors, there's no reason why you can't island hop for a change of scenery too. The island is just a ferry ride away several tourist hotspots in Greece, including Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Kos; hop on one of the regular ferries and explore Greece and her islands to your heart's content!
This seaside resort is a perfect spot for holidaymakers who want to sample the beauty of the area, while being able to relax and unwind on the beach or in a local taverna. Oozing ambience and with intimate vibes - but within easy reach of the bustling resorts of Molyvos and Petra - Anaxos may be small but it certainly makes up for it in tranquillity.
With its Byzantine Castle and historical links, Anaxos would be an idyllic resort for culture fans as much as it would be perfect for beach bums. As one of the most visited towns on the island, there's plenty to keep holidaymakers content, including a packed calendar of events ranging from folk festivals to art exhibitions, and a quaint harbour ideal for a bite to eat at sundown.
Located in the south west corner of the island, Skala Eressos offers 3km of unspoilt beach and a plethora of tavernas and restaurants where you can sample the finest seafood from the local area. As one of the favourite spots for birdwatchers, Skala Eressos is awash with birdlife you may or may not recognise, while the fresh water river that pools at one end of the beach is a haven for terrapins!
If you want to enjoy this beautiful Aegean island, Direct Holidays has a selection of affordable Lesbos package holidays for you to be inspired by.