The castle is king
Molyvos' Byzantine-era castle is one of the most iconic landmarks you'll see on holidays in Lesvos, and you can see it, up in its imposing position, from pretty much every point in town. You can walk around the castle for €2 and children get in free – they'll love the mystery of the castle and spotting lizards on the walls. Once you've reached the top and taken in the amazing views there's a cafe to recharge in.
Below the castle is a series of winding cobbled streets full of traditional buildings housing antique, jewellery and craft shops, art galleries, tavernas and cafes too. The main street is hung with twisting wisteria plants, which have fragrant flowers in spring. Sitting with a drink in this area is a real treat for your Lesvos holidays, as not only do you get an attractive view, but also some much-needed shade.
Modern but well-preserved
In 1965 Molyvos' mayor enforced a preservation order meaning any future building work had to be carried out in natural stone. So, even though there are plenty of places to stay in Molyvos, they're all built in a beautiful old style.
At the north of town is a quaint harbour dotted with fishing boats and moored with visiting yachts. Boat trips are arranged from here to villages and beaches around the island, passing Molyvos' coastal caves as you go.
The quayside is a prime spot for tavernas serving delicious Greek dishes, including seafood that has been freshly fished and grilled. The food here also has Mediterranean and exotic influences from other nearby countries. Sitting at the tavernas after dark, you can see the castle beautifully lit up on the hill.
Molyvos' Blue Flag beach starts just beyond the harbour and runs south along the length of the town. There are some pebbles along the shore but the majority of the beach and seabed are sand. You'll find a good range of facilities – including toilets and cafes – towards the south end of the beach, where you can also take part in watersports such as snorkelling.
Next to the main beach, beyond the Olive Press Hotel, Psiriara Beach is smaller but offers shade from tamarisk trees as you lie on your secluded spot of sand.
Night on the town
A fun place to be at night, in Molyvos you can opt for a quiet night at one of the tavernas, find a bar in town or head to one of the clubs on the outskirts. Molly's Bar is a happy medium as it plays lots of pop, soul and rock but is conveniently located at the entrance to the harbour.
If classical and chamber music are more your thing, you'll find both at the Molyvos International Music Festival – held in August – including atmospheric performances at the castle. Book a package holiday to Lesvos around this time and you'll have the change to experience some truly wonderful sounds.
The pretty, traditional village of Petra is just across the bay from Molyvos and similarly tranquil Anaxos is only a little further. The three places are connected by a mini-train so you can explore the area and sample further beaches.
Another excellent beach that's a five-minute drive north of Molyvos is Golden Beach near Eftalou – a long stretch for unwinding on away from it all. This isn't the only place for relaxing in Eftalou as it's home to some hot springs, said to have healing properties, that are housed in a recently renovated 17th-century domed bath house. Completing a calming trio you can visit Eftalou's famous yoga school.