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29 August 2005

How To Get To Limnos

A short travel guide

Now that I'm back in Athens, I'm reflecting a bit about this trip I took. Limnos (or Lemnos as the English speaking sometimes write it), had a lot of tourism this year, almost more than the island is prepared for. 97% booked out hotels, 100% booked out planes (waiting lists closed because of overbooking) and ferry boats. Tourism may increase as people get to know and like the island. Up to now this tourism is mostly Greek tourism, but soon the foreigners may get to know Limnos as a non-typical Greek island too.

But transport to and from the island is still a problem: It's hard to travel to Limnos and even harder to come back. I had recommended the island to a few friends, but only the very interested ones persist enough to actually get there. This August, nobody had visited me, mainly for this reason. Some thoughts about getting to Limnos:...


Plane

Olympic Airways will fly you in and out of Limnos to Athens, Thessaloniki and Mytilini (maybe others too, I'm not that up-to-date on the planes). Provided that you get a ticket of course: In summer and sometimes on other occasions getting a seat can be a real problem. The plane is of course more expensive compared to the ferry boat, but travel time from Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos Airport) is less than an hour. There are roughly 2 flights a day to and from Limnos to Athens. I've been told that a ticket one way costs around 90 Euro, but I can't confirm that really. (Nor do I know about airport taxes.)

If you fly in from outside Greece, you will have to change planes in Athens. Flights with the Greek airline Olympic are timed to give you a short waiting time for connections to the islands, while with other airlines you will unfortunately (in my experience) have to hang around the transit area for something like 5 hours sometimes. There are bound to be charter flights too, but I don't know anything about these, besides that I have known someone who got a ticket on one of them.

Ferry boat

Still that may be faster and less tiresome than the ferry boat. Ferry boats reach Limnos from the ports of Pireus, Thessaloniki, Lavrio, Kymi, Kavala, Moudania. Plus the islands, where the ferry boat stops, e.g. Samothraki, Mytilini (Lesvos), Agios Efstratios, etc.. Check out the schedules and timetables at openseas.gr.

There are some hypermodern ships that are fast and expensive (the ones going to Limnos are named after the Greek sprinter-ex-star Kenteris, the one who is under thick suspicion of having been doped, so you can consider those ships to run like on steroids). Downside: The seats are numbered and you can't get out. The price is almost as much as for the plane (I've heard about 70 Euro to Pireus and I've been quoted 48 Euro to Thessaloniki). Personally I avoid these and prefer the old-fashioned, cheaper boats, where you can take in a bit of sun and sea breeze, and roll out your sleeping bag to doze in a corner. No matter which you prefer, you will have to check them out in advance, there is not bound to be a boat every day for each of these destinations.

Getting to the port

All ports have bus connections to and from the big cities. Traveling to and from Thessaloniki, you will look at the ports of Thessaloniki itself, Moudania, and Kavala. For Athens you want Pireus (but keep a good look at ship travel times, because the "steamer" has to take all the way around Attika), Kymi, but most common currently Lavrio. Ships to and from Lavrio typically take 9 hours. Busses from Athens to Lavrio are stationed at the "Pedio tou Ares", you can take the Metro to the station "Victoria", then walk 3 minutes to the bus station. Calculate at least 1.5 hours bus travel time and be early enough because busses leave about each half hour, but you can't rely on all this. Last time I took that bus, the ticket was 3.60 Euro. You pay your ticket in the bus, after the bus started the cashier comes around. It's good but not absolutely necessary if you have change.

(Public) Transport on the island

Obviously if you have your own car, you can bring it with the ferry boat. The roads on Limnos are fine, the drivers are not too crazy or dangerous. If you want to go to special places or to the beach with the car, be prepared to drive a few kilometers on dirt roads. On the island, public transport consists of overland busses (in Myrina from the "Platia ton KTEL", the "KTEL-bus plaza" so to speak, on the upper end of the "agora", the market street). About once a day each destination is serviced.

Then there are overland taxis, in Myrina either waiting at the port when a ship comes in, or else at their own "platia" in the upper part of the "agora". Taxis (but no busses) are also waiting at the airport when a flight comes in. Prices: For example the 42km to Panagia (at the far end of the island) cost me 3.40 Euro by bus and 25 Euro by taxi. I can recommend Manolis from Moudros (697 2008388) and Giorgos from Panagia (693 7632372), just in case there is noone there when you arrive at the airport and you have to go in that direction (of course none speaks anything but Greek). In general, Limnos taxi drivers are nice people.

Car rental

The airport is located in the center of the island, about 20km from the capital and port Myrina. You can rent a car in Myrina or at the airport. Cost is about 30 Euro a day, plus 10 Euro for full insurance. In the main season be sure to book your car well in advance. Out of season it might be a good idea to arrange for a car especially at the airport, because noone might be at the booth if they don't know you are coming. I recommend Europcar, Mr. Hatzoglou (694 5495104, 22540 23777), I've had a couple of times good experiences with him when I rented cars for a few days.

Important: Price information

Prices are approximate and current as of about August 2005, sometimes even older. I don't plan to keep them updated.

Posted by betabug at 18:01 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Comments
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Hello, have you a good address for bed and breakfast in Myrina ?
Thanks

Posted by: Jacques at May 14,2006 10:33
Re: Bed and Breakfast in Myrina

Salut Jacques!
Sorry, since I usually stay on the other side of the island in a little village, I don't know of a good bed and breakfast in Myrina. Depending on the season you will be travelling there, it could be very easy just to go and see which one you like. But if you go end of July / early August that might be not such a good idea, because in the main tourist season it could be difficult to find rooms. Sorry that I can't help more, I hope you will enjoy your stay on Limnos, the people are very hospitable there!

Posted by: betabug at May 14,2006 23:17
Re: How To Get To Limnos

my friend is currently over in lemnos and myself and my daughter are looking for a cheap holiday in june but are struggling with uk flights and accommodation. please give us some advise.

Posted by: emma downs at May 30,2006 10:56
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Emma:
Well, the island is not very much developped in respect to tourism, which shows very much from the difficulty to get there. I already described the main option to get by plane to Limnos: Fly through another, bigger airport in Greece (like Athens or Thessaloniki).
Another options would be to look out for charter flights and packages. I know that there is one big hotel complex near Myrina that is run by some british company, with almost only brits as their guests. I think it's in Plati Beach, but don't remember the name. I don't know which company in the UK links up with them, but I suspect booking a week there is cheaper than just the flight.

Posted by: betabug at May 30,2006 11:05
Re: How To Get To Limnos

good stuff. I spend at least 15 days on Lemnos every summer.

For more info reagarding Lemnos, you can check my island review at igogreece.com

http://www.igogreece.com/EN/Greece.asp?area=areas&id=16

Posted by: odysseas psarris at September 09,2006 12:35
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Odyssea,

thanks for the link! I "activated" it, so people can click on it and go directly to the right page.

I don't agree with everything you write, "Lemnos has good connections to other destinations" (on the "Island Hopping" page) - say what? Connections to other destinations is one of the biggest problems for Lemnos. One boat a week to Thessaloniki? That's a huge problem and the people from Lemnos are right to be upset about it.

Appart from that I liked your pages, even though the information is a bit centered on Myrina. One of the thing I like most about Lemnos is that it's a big island with not only a harbor, a "hora" and two villages. Limnos has lots of villages with widely differing character. But enough "grinia", keep up the good work!

Posted by: betabug at September 11,2006 10:14
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Hi,
I am writing a book about the second world war and whilst doing some research I discovered that my Great Grandfather was killed in action 10/01/1916 and is buried in the Portianos Military Cemetery, on Limnos.
It makes me sad that he has been there for over 90 years and nobody has ever been to his grave.
I intend some time in the future to make this trip and wondered if you could give me any advice regarding getting there.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you. Jamie MacAlba (from Scotland, UK)

Posted by: Jamie MacAlba at November 15,2006 09:36
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Jamie, you will find already a lot of information on this page. In short, just book a flight via Athens to Limnos. Rent a car (for example at the company recommended above), drive to Moudros (or get a taxi from the airport). I suggest you stay in Moudros. One possibility which I remember is the "Blue Harbour" (Γαλάζιο λιμάνι), which is a tavern and guest rooms place near the harbour. If you happen to go there in July/August, you will have to book a room in advance, otherwise there should be no problem.

From there you can walk over to the memorial sign for WWI in the harbour of Moudros. Moudros is the place where the troops shipped off and landed back for the expedition on Galipoli peninsula.

Portiano is on the other side of the gulf of moudros (see for example this map, but you can drive there and see all the area. Troops where stationed on both sides of the gulf of moudros, with the hospitals and harbours back then refered to as "Moudros east" and "Moudros west" IIRC. Accordingly there are two big military cemeteries, one on each side of the gulf. They are well kept and in a beautyful landscape.

Posted by: betabug at November 15,2006 09:58
Re: How To Get To Limnos

I already described the main option to get by plane to Limnos: Fly through another, bigger airport in Greece.
Another options would be to look out for charter flights and packages. I know that there is one big hotel complex near Myrina that is run by some british company, with almost only brits as their guests.

[operator notice: This comment was linked to a splog (fake blog), I consider it manually entered spam until proven otherwise. I deleted the link.]

Posted by: Jeremy >> the art of feminism at December 15,2006 15:04
Re: How To Get To Limnos

Je vous remercie de recommender mon oncle pour les locations de voitures Europcar et d eautre part desormais il fait office d agence de tourisme et d aides a tous les deplacements sur l ile

Encore Merci
Costa

Posted by: Costa at July 08,2007 12:12
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Got My Ticket

It took a while to get my ticket for the ferryboat to Limnos. Problem number one was that SAOS
lines did not have the timetable online untill a few days ago. Finally they arrived in the
Openseas online booking system. Then we had to find a travel age...

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at April 08,2006 22:31
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