Getty Images/Gallo Images


Greece’s third-largest island (and one of the best-organised), Lesvos is marked by long sweeps of rugged desert-like western plains that give way to sandy beaches and salt marshes in the centre. To the east are thickly forested mountains and dense olive groves – around 11 million olive trees are cultivated here.

The port and capital, Mytilini Town, is a lively place year-round, filled with exemplary ouzeries and reasonable accommodation, while the north-coast town of Molyvos (aka Mithymna) is an aesthetic treat, with old stone houses clustered on winding lanes overlooking the sea. The island's therapeutic hot springs gush with some of the warmest mineral waters in Europe.

Despite its undeniable tourist appeal, Lesvos' chief livelihood is agriculture. Its olive oil is highly regarded, and the island’s farmers produce around half the ouzo sold worldwide.