Lesvos is extremely proud of its beautiful natural landscapes and varied and thriving ecosystems. Cycle or hike through the island to admire its lush forests and the many important wetlands, vibrant tidal pools, ponds and rivers. In fact, Lesvos is the only place in Europe where there’s a population of Asian squirrels. You’ll also see turtles, snakes and frogs on this island, so if you love looking out for the local fauna, keep an eye out. Birdwatching is a very popular sport in Lesvos.
Blessed with flowing bodies of water, Lesvos is proud of its many ecosystems that provide crucial shelter to species rarely seen in the rest of the continent, such as Black Storks, Ruddy Shelducks and Kruper’s Nuthatch. The island attracts a wide variety of migratory birds throughout the year. Avid birdwatchers will enjoy the many wetlands that attract flamingoes, harriers, kingfishers, goshawk, eagles, buzzards, cormorants, falcons and kestrels, among other species.
The most important area wetland is located in Kalloni Bay, encompasses coastal areas and lagoons, and is part of the Natura 2000 network. Vatera Wetland is another important ecosystem you’ll enjoy exploring. This river estuary is buzzing with varied species of flora and fauna and of course many birds. Another must-see is the Dipi Larsos wetland which features beautiful flora and rare reptiles as well as migratory birds.
Photo: Leonidas Kourmadas
The island’s many forests will astound you with their lush natural beauty. Hiking is a wonderful way of admiring Lesvos’ nature while enjoying your favorite sport. Trek through the lush forest of Ahlada Peristeries in the north-east, look out for rare species of birds in Koukouvagies-Ahladies Forest and stop by the wild animal shelter in Kilada Kelemia Forest in the north-west. Explore the thick groves in Mesoros Agra Forest, where volunteers shelter wounded wild animals then tour greenest part of the island as you make your way from Maliontas Tavari Chrousos Forest, through the Petrified Forest to the cool green canopy of Skamniouda Forest and finally through beautiful villages to Kilada Kelemia’s Animal Shelter in the forest.
Molyvos is another beautiful part of the island that features a very varied natural landscape, with hot springs and nearby mountain and Kastelia Forest. Agiasos village is another area which is known for its natural wonders. This quaint mountain village is hugged by a lush chestnut forest which supports a vital ecosystem – so explore the surrounding area and make your way along the mountain to other villages. Admire the lush green landscape and keep an eye out for migratory birds and reptiles. You must stop by the Wild Animal Shelter in Koutra Horafi Forest next to Agiaso before you hike your way to Plati Forest and follow the coast of Geras Bay.
Photo: Eleni Galinou
Lesvos is also the ideal destination if you love volunteering and also love animals because of the Lesbian Wildlife Hospital. This non-profit organization depends upon the donations and time of all animal lovers. It takes in and treats all wild animals as well as domestic animals and is a proud member of the European Wildlife Rehabilitation Association. If you’re interested in the island’s wildlife including birds and reptiles, and want more insight into the challenges these animals face, and are eager to learn more about helping wild animals and Lesvos’ ecosystems in the process, volunteer your time in this wonderful organization.