Archive for Eftalou
Lesbos and Chios teem with natural delights, from picturesque waterfalls and sultry hot springs to forests fossilised by volcanic ash 20 million years ago. Pack your shorts for a warm spring holiday away from the tourist hordes on these two Greek islands that lie near Turkey in the north-east Aegean Sea. Wing it to Lesbos, known as Mytilíni by locals, which is a favourite spring.
All data based on Lesbos a Data from Hellenic National Meteorological Service b Data based on Molyvos resting spot on the avian migration route. In particular, Lake Metochi, the Tsiknias River and the Kalloni saltpans attract the likes of bee-eaters, olive-tree warblers, black-headed buntings and black storks. Don’t forget your boots: hundreds of miles of walking trails criss-cross Lesbos, one of Greece’s largest islands. A hike may lead through pine forests and meadows of wild orchids. Soothe your aching legs with a soak at one of the island’s hot springs – those at Eftalou in the north are on the beach. Stay at the nearby medieval town of Molyvos where red-stone houses cascade below a 14th-century castle down to a harbour and pebbly beach. Take a ferry from Lesbos to Chios to see a spectacular firework rocket war between two churches. This centuries-old battle takes place on the Saturday of Greek Orthodox Easter – a week after our own Easter – at the town of Vrontados. Stay at nearby Chios Town and don’t miss the superb Byzantine mosaics at the Unesco World Heritage site of Nea Moni, an 11th-century monastery.
Need to know
Ferries link Lesbos with other islands,
such as Chios and Limnos, but
services may be twice-weekly in April.
How to do it
The only non-stop flights in April are with Thomas Cook from Gatwick to Lesbos on Saturdays (from 18 April). A week’s package in the resort of Skala Kallonis – near the Kalloni saltpans – costs from around £400pp. Limosa, a specialist in birding holidays, has an eight-day tour of Lesbos in late April 2015 for £1,695pp, including flights.
More info: Rough Guide to the Greek islands.
It’s a misconception probably shared by birders from other European countries who flock to the island for each spring and autumn migration.
Only those in the know seem to choose Molivos – or Mithimna to give it its historic name – as their base.
Well, in my humble opinion as an avid birdwatcher, it’s about time someone banished this myth about Mithimna.
When it comes to finding a perfect place to combine birdwatching with walking in spectacular, hilly scenery, having a massive choice of eating places and history around every corner, then Molivos is the place to be
Is there any nicer place in the whole world to round off a day’s birding than with a meal on Molivos harbour side, watchingdolphins and diving terns in the fading light?
Skala Kalloni with its salt pans is only a 40 minutes drive away.
Even among the narrow streets and alleyways of the old town, there are birds to be seen and heard. You just have to look and listen.
Swallows nest under almost every canopy and overhang of buildings. Most years, for instance, they successfully rear young on top of an ornamental coach lantern under the canopy of The Captain’s Table restaurant on the harbour.
As darkness falls, the monotonous call of the Scops owl can be heard around the town squares and among the eucalyptus trees alongside the school.
The sound is reminiscent of the slow “peeps” of the Greenwich time signal.
Molivos is a place where it is usual to spot the unusual.
Floodlights which illuminate the castle are a magnet to moths and other flying insects. So birds such as nightjars and little owls are quick to take advantage of the ready meals.
Last year, barn owls, little owls and kestrels all nested within a few yards of each other in stone crevices near the castle’s main entrance.
Keep an eye on the sea, too. Some years, thousands of
Mediterranean shearwaters can be seen in the huge bay between the harbour and the Kavaki headland. At times there are so many it looks like a giant oil slick.
The headland itself, near the “disco on stilts”, is known as one of the best places in Europe to see the very rare Ruppell’s Warbler.
Inland, the reservoir off the Vafios road is a good place to see Eleanora’s falcons hunting for dragon flies. Many other birds can also be “ticked” here.
In our 16 years of holidays in Molivos – sometimes twice a year – my wife Sheila and I always see at least 120 species.
Really keen birdwatchers can expect many more than that.
FRANK WOOD, press officer for the Bolton area of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in North West England.
The end of a tiring Autumn day! Got up at 9.30 am, had a lazy breakfast and drove to the Post office to pay my health insurance and send my youngest daughter her belly button jewellery.(She has just gone off to England for a foundation year at uni, is taking a belly dancing class and REALLY needs it!)
Then I sat in the village square in the sun and had coffee with a friend, watching the fishing boat come in and the old men crowd around to buy their supper.
After various, minor household tasks, I drove over to Eftalou and had a hot bath in the natural hot spring water. It is housed in an old, domed bath house right on the beach so you have a soak, come out and swim in the sea, and then go back into the hot water. Afterwards, you feel as if the flesh is slipping off your bones. Wonderful.
A bit of proper work after that, teaching English privately, and then a lazy supper with a glass of red wine. Phew, I hope tomorrow isn’t going to be so stressful!