Sifnos or Lesvos?

Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Sifnos or Lesvos?

Wow. We just can't seem to make up our minds whether to go to Sifnos or to Lesvos. We're spending about a month in one place - a sabbatical of sorts - which is what we usually do. In our past visits to Greece (9 in 23 years) we have usually ended up on Skiathos, but it has become such a tourist mekka that we've decided to go elsewhere this time for the bulk of our stay.
I know the major differences - Lesvos being the 3rd largest Greek isle, up in the N aegean - great fish, great fishing and hillside villages, ouzo, olive oil, from fertile to arid... while Sifnos is a small, fertile though decidedly Cycladic isle.

If YOU had one month to spend on either of these 2 particular isles, where would YOU go, and Why would you go there??

Right now we have a room booked, on the beach, in Skala Eressos on Lesvos. We will be there mid May to mid June, so it won't be too busy when we first arrive and anticipate the beach in front of our pension (which only has 2 rooms, room wth a lovely balcony over the beach and view out to sea) to be minus the usual watersports stuff - sheesh, we hope. I JUST yesterday fond, online, a virtual tour of Skala Eressos and FREAKED OUT. There was our pension - attached to a taverna and right in front of it on the beach there were motor boats and the water was adrift with red buoys - not what we had in mind, nor what we were told about the property!!!
The village itself looks a bit like the back streets of Athens, and I don't mean the Plaka.... no charm, really, exept for random plakas and pedestrian only streets ... a mish mash of cement block buildings of all colors, not much foliage (no draping, restful jasmine or bouganvillia) not what we are used to as Skiathos is a village of winding cobbled alleys and whitewashed houses trimmed in the blue of the sea, so good for hours of dreamy wanderings and getting lost... perhaps it was just the video that didn't do Skala Eressos justice. I can hope. ?

We know that we can (and will) explore a lot of the rest of the island - if we stay there.... BUT, homebase is really important to us. We go to Greece to write, foremost... so home needs to be peaceful, I need some ambiance! (call me spoiled... sorry!!!)
I need those deep blue pockets of calm waters - caiques in a harbor, comings and goings along a paralia.... greek village life - goats in the road....

We plan on explorations, mopeds, renting a car for longer journeys to Molyvos and the southern villages, going to Sigri.. we will do a LOT of walking, which apparently both Sifnos AND Lesvos are good for.

Are we just wrong to consider staying here for that deep peace we've come to know we've been blessed with on our many previous visits to Skiathos in spring and fall?

Would SIFNOS be a better bet for us? Better beaches? More quiet?
More of the old Greek experience? Or am I jsut splitting hairs here?

HELLLPPPP!!! I would love your opinions. We still have time to change our minds - but I think I may simply have 'buyers remorse' and a fear of change! Skiathos, OFF season, is a hard act to follow - and of course wherever we go will be amazing in it's own way.
Thank you!
djuna is offline  
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:53 AM
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Good question! I've been looking at both of these islands recently too.

Looking forward to your replies.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:43 AM
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I would have to choose LESVOS. Having been to Skiathos, many, OH! many moons ago, (25 years) it must have changed a great deal.
In those days gone by, we used to wonder back to our Pension through the olive groves after dinner. As we walked, the white sand illuminated by moonlight, we could hear the soft tinkling of bells coming from the goats as they moved about under the trees. Skiathos has really special memories.

But if I were to go to a Greek Island today it would be Lesvos(Lesbos). I saw a documentary on the island about a year ago and it looked really fantastic.
Sifnos I know nothing about -sorry.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:25 PM
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We've been to both islands. I think you'll find Sifnos too small for a month. You can get the Cycladic houses and streets but you'll be far from the beach.
Lesvos is hard to describe. After our visit there I swore I'd never return. I had problems with the traffic in town, the lack of restaurants in town etc. etc. We also found some very nice beaches and villages but you will need a car to see them. I'd go back to Lesvos but I'd have to plan it very carefully.
I have another suggestion for you. You won't get the cycladic houses and streets but you'll get everything else you want. Walking, hiking, not too busy, no crowds, small pebble beaches, apple orchards and it's still green in August. The Pelion peninsula.
We've been all over Greece for a number of years and we find ourselves drawn to two areas, southern Crete and Pelio. We'll be in both for 3 weeks each this summer.
I remember sitting in a tarvena 3 years ago and watching countless water taxis come and go. I asked where they were going, Skiathos was the answer. It doesn't surprise me that you're tired of it.
DBM
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:29 PM
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thanks to everyone for replies so far!
Angeliki, where were you on Lesvos? Which town or village? There are many....
Pelion has called to us - maybe next time we'll spend time there. Or, who knows, if we decide on Lesvos and just can't stand it, we could always make our (roundabout - there's nothing easy about getting to Pelion or the Sporades fromthe other islands!) way there.
Still, I would love to hear about where you were on Lesvos... and more about why you vowed never to return! Thanks!
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 12:16 AM
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We spent a week in Skala Kalloni a couple of years ago. As you may know, Lesvos is a mecca for bird watchers and the centre of birdwatching activity is Skala Kalloni. We were there in March or early April, before the season opened properly.


As I recall- and I'll check this at home over the weekend- you can't drive into Skala Eressos, but have to leave vehicles a couple of blocks from the beach. And that untrafficked part is very pretty and quaint

However, also, as I recall, it's busy. It's the Sappho birthplace, and probably the only place on the island which is marketed to lesbians. If I were to go to Lesvos again, not for birds, my choice would be Molinos.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 12:47 AM
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Lesvos is a very interesting and cultural island. i strongly suggest you to visit it for at least one day
U can find a lot of useful infos on
http://www.mygreektrip.it/lesbos
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 12:49 AM
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No advertising allowed, Perla!
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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I don't think Perla is advertising – she's just giving a website , as many people do on this forum, although as the information seems to be entirely in Italian its usefulness may be somewhat limited! As you are planning to spend time writing, a month on a quiet Cycladic island might be ideal, and as you'll be there in May-June, beach time probably isn't going to be a priority – I had my first swim this year on Sifnos after the middle of June, just before I left, but you may be more hardy than I am! I've been going there every year since 1977 – four times this year, including a month May-June. Here's a website: www.igogreece.com – Cyclades – Sifnos. But the article on Sifnos is now a bit out of date: the writer really needs to get her act together and update it!! (That's actually me, so I can be as rude as I like!) The villages and views don't change that much, though. I have also spent a lot of time on Lesbos – every year for nearly twenty years, usually about ten days at the end of May, when we stayed in Mytilene itself – a lovely town, not at all geared to foreign visitors, unlike Molyvos. (What I didn't like there was the tannoy system, which at regular intervals announced the attractions of the day in different languages!) But it WAS August –it would probably be much more idyllic earlier in the year. In Mytilene we always ate at our favourite , traditional, inexpensive fish taverna by the sea, near the ruins of the old fortress, one of a row of cafes and restaurants, and just round the corner is a fascinating old kafeneio, which also serves meals. If you're driving in from outside of town you might miss these places, however. We've also spent summers by the beach at Paralia Thermis, a seaside place near the village of Thermi – another lovely traditional village with a few shops and several kafeneia. The food on Mytilene is amazing , especially 'flowers' – courgettte flowers stuffed with cheese and fried, or the fresh sardines, which you don't get on smaller islands.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Lesvos is lovely - Molyvos is just a wonderful local. I spent a week there, rented a car and explored the small villages around the North and West end of the island. I never did get to see the South which was a shame. I throughly enjoyed my stay. Nearby Chios is even more of a delight in my opinion (that would be my first choice) - on the whole the area has a more traditional feel than the Cyclades islands. For something quite different - I'd head to the Northern Aegean Islands. In May and June there is a wonderful lack of other toursits as well which only adds to the ambiance.

Naxos
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 06:52 AM
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Have you considered Samos? IF you stay away from Pythagoria and Kokkari, there are not many package tourists. And Western Samos has lovely beaches and offers hiking through small villages that have changed very little. You will need to rent a car or scooters.

Samos is good-sized, and well-positioned for excursions to Chios, Patmos and the like. It also has historical/ancient sites and a very decent museum.

Here is a typical self-catering apts. on a lovely beach there .... http://www.studiosioanna.com/


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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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You are answering a question posted in March 2006.
G.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Well spotted, Gaspard! I'm incensed - what a complete waste of time, when you think you might be helping people! I guess I was wrong about Perla's post .....
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 11:26 PM
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It's not a complete waste of time!

Although Perla's post is advertising, some other posts are very informative and offer fresh ideas. Just because the post is old, doesn't mean other people aren't interested.

I've been reading the above thoughts and ideas with interest and would like to thank all for adding to this old post!
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 12:11 AM
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Agree a little with Schuler. It΄s not a complete waste of time. And I΄m glad to read that someone else likes Sifnos too. But, Schuler, if you have a question about Sifnos or Lesbos or Milos, just ask.
G.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 12:15 AM
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Hi Gaspard,

No questions at this time. I've made it a personal goal to visit Sifnos in the next ten years. I visited Naxos twenty years ago, which I adored, and would love to visit a similar island.

Thanks for your help though!
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