Three kilometres of beach
Skala Kalloni’s dark sand beach has a rustic feel, with washed-up shells and driftwood that children will love picking through in search of treasure. Tamarisk trees are dotted along the sand, providing some shade. There is shallow water as far as 100 metres out, which remains calm as it’s protected by the large bay.
Should you be in need of refreshment, it’s possible to relax on sun loungers outside one of the bars or restaurants, where drinks flow freely. Elements beach bar, on the east of town, is a relaxing spot with modern decor, and offers table service on the beach.
At the western end of the beach is a river, which provides a nice spot for a stroll and a reliable location from which to spot stripe-necked terrapins.
Due to its location on the Gulf of Kalloni, Skala Kalloni is well known for its sardines, or atherina, which are a summer delicacy. As well as a reputation for being the best sardines you’ll find on your Greece holidays, they’re also particularly healthy due to their high mineral content.
The best places to eat sardines and other delicious seafood, such as cockles and mussels, are the psarotavernas seafood restaurants in the harbour. These places also serve plenty of meat-based and vegetarian Greek dishes. Alternatively, try the eateries in the main square.
For the ultimate in fresh sardines, you can buy a container of sardeles pastes straight from the fishermen when they are in season – usually in July and August. They are raw, skinned sardines that are salted and seasoned on the boat, perfect with some bread from the local bakery.
Around the first week in August, Skala Kalloni holds a Sardine festival in the village square, which is a wonderful celebration of sardines with ouzo, music and dancing. Plan your package holidays to Lesvos around this time and you could put yourself in the thick of the festivities.
Twitching and hiking
A favourite with birdwatchers, Skala Kalloni’s bay is surrounded by marshes, flatlands and rivers that are home to a large number of rare birds. Hiking around this green and pleasant land of olive groves and pine trees is also popular.
Spring is the best time for spotting migratory birds but there are rare and protected species here to spot all year round. At this time of year you’ll also see Skala Kalloni coming into bloom with the colours of beautiful wildflowers.
The most famous bird inhabitant of Skala Kalloni is a one-legged pelican that lives down by the harbour. On your travels you should also keep an eye out for Persian squirrels and tortoises.
What to do nearby
Around five minutes by car or bus to the north is the market town of Kalloni, which acts as a crossroads. Here, buses serve destinations dotted around the island. Although you’ll find some gift shops and small grocery stores in Skala Kalloni, the selection in nearby Kalloni is far wider, meaning you can happily spend a whole morning browsing the local wares.
Travelling further north to Agia Paraskevis, you’ll find a beautiful town full of 19th century mansions, which remains one of the wealthiest places in Greece. It has an olive oil museum and chapel built in a rock cave but is best known for its horse-racing festival. In late June, horses are paraded through the streets while people listen to live Greek music in cafés, before an exciting horseback race is staged on a dirt track outside of town.