Kalloni is located in the geographical center of Lesvos. It is blessed by nature and embraced by the waters of its bay. Its lush 100 square kilometer plain with its six rivers supplies it with abundant commodities. Underground and spring waters irrigate its grapevines and gardens. And its historical monasteries have stood by it as vigilant guards at the crossroads through which the island’s main roads have always passed. Nothing has changed here since antiquity.
In recent decades, the town of Kalloni has grown considerably as a commercial center. It is the seat of the Municipality, which consists of the settlements of Agra, Anemotia, Arisvi, Dafia, Kerami, Parakoila, Skalohori, and Filia. It is also the seat of the Bishopric of Mithymna. Its metropolitan cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist is one of the largest in all of Greece.
Crossing through the pine forest (tsamliki), at some point on your right you’ll see a pile of stones. These are the famous “stones of the Arapis.” Legend has it that a giant living in the forest would force passersby to gather stones for the building of his mansion. In the autumn months, you’ll come across many locals here, collecting mushrooms – the celebrated pefkites and amanites. Like all of Lesvos, this region possesses a wealth of flavors.
The Bay of Kalloni is the island’s largest, with a very narrow opening to the sea. It is known for its excellent fish (the famous sardines) and shellfish, including scallops, clams, mussels, and more.
It is the island’s ecotourism center, since despite some deterioration the nature in the greater region has managed to remain unaltered. The habitats, which contain significant numbers of rare birds, attract large numbers of ecotourists and have been incorporated into the Natura 2000 network of protected natural regions.
The main sights in the town are the Primary School, with its neoclassical façade, and many other architecturally interesting buildings.
The Kambos or Plain
In antiquity, the kambos was called Eudentron (many trees), and is particularly pleasant in the spring when the spectrum of colors is an artist’s delight. Its 100 square meter area is watered by six rivers: Kalis Langadas, Tsiknias, Vouvaris, Mylopotamos, Alevropotamos, and Acheron.
Like Pyrra, Arisvi was the daughter of the first settler of Lesvos, and gave her name to the ancient city. Today, her little community welcomes you just before you reach Kalloni. Its ancient Acropolis, the medieval Paliokastro, was near the sea. You can still see the remains of the medieval fortification wall scattered throughout the region.
This scenic harbor has one of the most beautiful and best organized beaches on the island. With tourist facilities to satisfy every need, it’s a popular destination for Greeks and foreigners alike. It offers modern luxury hotels and a huge variety of choices for food and recreation.
Its sandy beach is lined with cafés, bars, ouzeri and clubs. Its annual Sardine Festival is a particularly lively event.
Nestled among streams and gardens, Parakoila is located in a place blessed by nature.
Its otherworldly landscape, protected from winds by the mountain peaks around it, is the final stop of greenery before you begin your climb towards Apothika.
There are important archeological sites in Apothika (between Parakoila and Agra), where there is a 6-meter-tall ancient fortification wall, built in the “Lesbian style” of construction, and in Makara, which took its name from Makareas, the first settler of ancient Lesbos.
Tsichranta, Kalos Limenas
On the other side of the Municipality are the bays of Mikri (Little) and Megali (Big) Tsichranta (also known as Ambelia), with olive groves and oak-covered hills, two streams that empty into the sea, and tidy gardens filled with greens and flowers. If you prefer solitude, Mikri Tsichranta is for you. The volcanic landscape with its dark rocks extends as far as Kalos Limenas. This peninsula is the port of Skalohori, where many former acorn storehouses have been converted into homes and cafés. Proceed from here to the squares, coffee shops and collectives in the traditional villages of Filia and Skalohori. Filia has wonderful stone houses with brick decoration. Be sure to visit the Women’s Agrotourism Collective for some handmade marzipan. A spot of ouzo at Koutsavlis’ coffee shop in the old quarter is just the thing to relax you. The village still has a covered minaret and mosque, which is now used as a storehouse. Walk through the narrow streets of Skalohori to admire the superb stone houses. The entire village has a view of the sea, and its squares are the perfect places to stop for ouzo and the mezes of the day. Depending on the season, you can buy fresh feta, myzithra or graviera cheeses from the local dairy. And the main square with its plane tree is ideal for a rest.
If you take the main road out of Filia and turn left you’ll come to Anemotia, a village renowned in antiquity for its wine. This explains the grapevines that still grow here. It has wonderful kalderimia and a unique church with a stone templon carved by the sculptor Theodoros Vloutis. The village is known for being the birthplace of many prominent Greek sculptors. At the village bakery you’ll find raisin rusks, and at the Women’s Collective you can buy traditional cookies, biscuits and old-fashioned local sweets.