LESVOS & CHIOS
traditional islands for nontraditional cyclists
Cycle self guided in the Northern Aegean. It is a region overlooked by travelers thus making it inviting to adventurous bikers. In Lesvos and Chios islands you will find an authentic local culture where the plateia (town square) dominates village life, elders still ride donkeys side saddle and the menfolk sit all day at the kafeneion (café) playing tavli (backgammon) and drinking dark Greek coffee (mavro) in doll-sized cups.
As Greece’s third largest island, Lesvos has almost 400 kilometers of paved road with minimal traffic outside the capital Mytilini. It is the home of ouzo, that Greek spirit with a licorice flavor. You could easily spend the entire tour cycling here. Yet, you absolutely do not want to miss Chios, an island that has a retro-1950s feels to it from the moment you get off the boat and face the old Rex Theatre. Unique in the world to Chios is mastic, a resin cultivated since medieval days and now enjoying an eco-cachet as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory all-purpose product.
Before or after your self-guided tour, we recommend booking the Athens Add-on that immerses you in the culture of Athens and the Attica region with exciting activities: Historic Central Athens bike tour (90% traffic free), Acropolis & Acropolis Museum with professional guide, Temple of Poseidon coastal cycling, Attica wine tasting, Temple of Artemis.
If you only have one day in Athens, check out the one-day bike rides available at Athens Day Tours
|Dates||choose your dates
|Duration||11 nights, 12 days — opt for Lesvos only 8 days|
||yes, Athens – see Add-on tab
|Arrival City||Athens or Mytilini or Chios
|Arrival transfer||yes, in Athens – Extras tab
|Tour Start Point||either Mytilini, Lesvos or Chios
|Tour End Point||either Mytilini, Lesvos or Chios
| Minimum Age
|Total Mileage||474 km, 294 miles based on standard 12 day itinerary
||451 meters, 1479 feet|
|Rating||Active — see Rating System
The standard 12 day version of this tour includes Lesvos and Chios, but you can opt to do Lesvos alone for 8 days. The standard version starts in Lesvos and ends in Chios, but it’s also possible to start in Chios and end in Lesvos.
If you take the overnight ferry to Lesvos (or Chios) from Athens, you will arrive early in the morning and can start biking directly from the port to your first overnight destination. There are also daily flights from Athens to Lesvos and Chios.
Leave your luggage in the hotel and it will be transferred to your next destination. On Day 1 the luggage transfer driver meets you at the port.
If you want to visit Turkey (non-biking), take a day boat from Lesvos to Ayvalik or from Chios to Cesme and Izmir.
Day 1: Molyvos
Heading north the road hugs the eastern seacoast with views of Turkey always in the distance. En route there are several important churches and monasteries that attract Greeks from all over. Don’t tarry because you will want to maximize your time in lovely Molyvos, visiting the seaside hammam Eftolou and exploring the Genovese castle. 62 km, 38 miles
Day 2: Molyvos
Five kilometers south is Petra alluring with its expansive sandy beach. Today you make a loop that takes you to little mountain villages and eventually back to the sea at Skala Sikaminia, a charming fishing hamlet whose Gorgona Church is called such because the Virgin Mary is portrayed as a mermaid (“gorgona” in Greek”). 48 km, 30 miles
Day 3: Skala Eressos
Riding westward, the terrain dramatically changes from lively green to desert-y dry. One stretch looks like a moonscape. Low key and hip, Skala Eresso is a very alternative place in Greece with vegan restaurants, reflexologists and white kids with dreadlocks. In September there is a women’s music festival. 56 km, 35 miles
Day 4: Skala Eressos
You can hang out in Skala Eressos for the day or cycle west to Sigri. The town feels like the end of the world with its unobstructed western horizon. Sigri has a Turkish era fortress that’s intriguing to roam around. The ride’s big highlight is the fascinating Petrified Forest, with “trees’ millennia years old. 58 km, 36 miles to Petrified Forest only. 72 km, 45 miles includes biking to Sigri
Day 5: Skala Kalloni
Bike through quiet villages stopping for frappés and spinach pies hot from the fournos (bakery). The Kalloni Gulf is known for water sports, birdwatching – migrations from Africa – and sardines (“sardelles”) with high mineral content. The town has sandy beaches and water sports like windsurfing. 45 km, 28 miles
Day 6: Plomari
Cycle up to Agiasos, a cute mountain town boasting traditional arts and crafts. Next stop en route at refreshing Karini Springs where artist Theophilos lived inside a tree. Yes, you can enter the tree and see where he slept! If Lesvos is home to ouzo, Plomari is its headquarters and you can visit various distilleries for tastings. 70 km, 43.50 miles (with 22 km detour to Agiasos).
Day 7: Mytilini
Take time in the early morning to bike to Melinda a sea town with about six houses and an amazingly romantic beach. No need to return to Mytilini early because you have all tomorrow to explore it. Heading back to Mytilini, at Perama port hop a little boat to cross the bay and bike to the capital city, arriving from the rear entrance. You will be enchanted by the Victorian houses reminiscent of San Francisco. 37 km, 23 miles
Day 8: Chios
Free day to roam Mytilini. Explore the ancient theatre, the fortress from the Byzantine era, the shops and stalls. There’s time for a quick optional loop south of Mytilini hugging the coast before the three hour ferry departs for Chios. Luggage transfer drivers meet you at the ports in Lesvos and Chios.
Note: Ferries from Lesvos to Chios run weekdays in the evening 20:00 depart, 22:30 arrive. The hotels are close to both ports. On Friday, Saturday, Sunday there is a morning boat departing 8:45, arriving 11:00.
Day 9: Mesta
Chios town is chaotic and funky with its own spirit that will win you over. Depart for the countryside when you’ve had your fill of city life. You are now headed to the intriguing mastica villages (mastikachoria) whose mastica was once as valuable as silver. Pirate raids forced villagers to convert their medieval homes into fortifications 36 km 22 miles
Day 10: Mesta
Spend the day cycling or hiking from one mastic village to the next. Olympi has a cave to explore. The most curious town is Pyrgi with homes, churches and buildings painted a black and white design so dazzling you will get dizzy walking through the town. Pygri is the reputed homeland of Christopher Columbus who islanders claim was from Chios! Short route 22.80 km, 14 miles Long route 68 km, 42 miles.
Day 11: Kambos
Kambos is a neighborhood of 18th and 19th century Genoese mansions, pastel pink and red horizontal stripes with arched portals, Arabesque doors and grand courtyards filled with orchards and water-spouting cisterns. Despite destruction of many mansions during the 1821 massacre and 1881 earthquake, enough survive to enchant you. 39 km 18 miles plus additional optional Karfas Loop 10.60 km, 6.50 miles
Day 12: Departure
Take overnight ferry to Athens, or daily flights from Chios to Athens.
Athens Add-On, 4 Nights
Start the morning with a three hour Athens Bike Tour that is 90% traffic free stopping at 25 points of interest, including famous sites like the changing of the guard at Parliament and unheralded sites like the Pynx where democracy was born and Socrates’ prison. Bike tour is 11 km, 6.8 miles. After lunch in an outdoor taverna at Plaka visit the incomparable Acropolis with a professional archaeology guide and the Acropolis Museum holding the monument’s treasures.
We take an excursion to the magnificent Temple of Poseidon in Sounion at the southern tip of Attica Peninsula. Lord Byron carved his name in the marble but the graffiti cannot mar the temple’s geometric precision nor its stupendous views. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in the sea before returning to the city. Includes lunch at a seaside taverna. Option to bike from the Acropolis to Sounion, 60 km, 37 miles or vehicle transfer to Vari and bike from there, 42 km, 26 miles
The roads are primarily rural in this agricultural region full of grape vineyards, fig farms and pistachio orchards. The tour visits five wineries including an organic winery which won Greece’s first award for its bio-climatic system. At these wineries you have the opportunity to taste several varieties of local wine, such as, Savatiano, Attica’s indigenous wine, a white grape that withstands the summer temperatures with an aroma of citrus fruit and flowers. 45 km, 28 miles A special detour is made to the Temple of Artemis in Vravrona (a/k/a Brauron). This was an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of hunting, Artemis, that was a female-only place of worship.
Take a walking tour that immerses you into Greek food, wine, local products, spirits. All things that stimulate the palate. Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest diets on the planet. The gastronomic guide takes you to places you would never know as a foreigner. 4 ½ hours 10:00 – 14:00.
Day 5: depart
1430 euros per person for 4 persons based on double occupancy
1690 euros per person for 2 persons based on double occupancy
440 euros for single supplement
Accommodations: 4 nights in 4 star hotel within walking distance of Acropolis with daily breakfast.
Athens Bike Tour: 3 hours, hybrid bike, helmet, water bottle, front handlebar bag for cellphone, wallet, camera
Acropolis & Acropolis Museum: 3 hour private tour with professional guide, includes entry fees to Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
Temple of Poseidon: full day excursion, road bike, biking guide, vehicle support, entry fees to Temple of Poseidon, helmet, water bottle, front handlebar bag,
Attica Wineries: full day excursion, road bike, biking guide, vehicle support, wine tasting at 3-4 wineries, entry fees to Temple of Artemis
Athens Food Tour: 4½ hour walking tour, over 25 tastings at 11 food spots
* Breakfasts are included at the Athens hotel.
* Four lunches
* No dinners
* All dinners
* Airport transfer on departure, requires minimum 4 persons, maximum 8 persons. See Extras tab
* Travel Insurance. See Extras tab
Cost in euros based on double occupancy
||12 Days – 3060 euros per person
8 Days – 2070 euros per person
|3 riders||12 Days – 2760 euros per person
8 Days 1840 euros per person
|4 riders||12 Days – 2600 euros per person
8 Days 1725 euros per person
||12 Days – 570 euros
8 Days 400 euros
Accommodations: 3-4 star hotels, primarily family owned and operated, ranging from boutique hotels to seaside upscale hotels. Tasteful, clean, air-conditioned, private bath, abundant hospitality, comfort. All accommodations are standard doubles with option for upgrade. All accommodations serve breakfast, usually buffet style. Tour prices are based on double occupancy. See Accommodations tab to request more info about tour’s accommodations
Luggage transfers: 8 luggage transfers
Bikes: Specialized road bike or hybrid bike. Triple chain ring, 27 gears. Road bike has carbon fiber fork. Hybrids have front suspension. Electric bike or carbon Tarmac bike are available as an upgrade on request. Regular pedals or toe clips on request. You are welcome to bring your own clip-in pedals and shoes. See Our Bikes and Our Gear
Bike gear: 2 water bottles, helmet, handlebar pouch, odometer, lock, rear rack on request. For hygienic purposes we encourage you to bring your own helmet.
Bike tools: hand pump, patch kit, tire irons, spare tube, multi-tool. One set per group.
Cue sheets turn by turn directions plus distance/elevation profiles
Bike Routes Options (1) RideWithGPS tour routes to upload to your iphone or Android with voice narration – bring your own bike mount (2) GPX tracks to download to your device – bring your own bike mount (3) we provide you a Garmin Oregon 450 GPS device with programmed routes, no narration, plus bike mount.
Meals: Breakfasts are included at each hotel.
Mobile phone: one per couple with 10 euros phone card. One phone per group.
Maps of the region
Trip packet: useful and interesting information about the region
CycleGreece jersey: short sleeved, rear pockets, locally made
Gratuities, tips and 24% VAT taxes
• International airfare to/from Greece
• Transfer from Athens Airport to Athens hotel on arrival, or from hotel on departure to port or airport
• Flight or overnight ferry from Pireaus (Athens’ port) to Lesvos or Chios
• All meals except breakfast
• Additional GPS device, 50 euros per device
• Travel insurance – see Extras tab
Carbon Road Bike
- Upgrade to a Specialized Tarmac Sport, carbon fiber frame and fork. Cost is 400 euros for an 8 day tour. See Our Bikes and Our Gear for more info
- For travel insurance for U.S citizens, we are official agents of Travel Guard. Contact us to receive a policy quote. Cost of coverage depends on various factors including your state or residence, your age, dates of travel. Travel insurance is not provided for flights booked using frequent flyer mileage. Some policies require booking within 15 days of paying your trip deposit, such as, cancel for any reason or coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
Airport Transfer On Arrival
- Private transfer from Athens Airport to Athens hotel. You are met at the arrivals exit by one of our team holding a sign with your name on it. We wait for you regardless of how late your plane may arrive. No waiting in taxi or bus lines. 170 euros per transfer for up to 8 persons.
- If you stay in Athens pre or post tour, we can recommend a hotel and book your room. We patronize a range of Athenian hotels in different neighborhoods and different budgets.
An indicative hotel for the Lesvos Chios self-guided tour is Pyrgos Hotel in Mytilini on Lesvos, located in a classic house of the year 1916.
We select the accommodations for self-guided tours based on quality, comfort, cleanliness, hospitality, location and charm. Most of the hotels on this tour are family owned and operated.
Hotels are included in the tour cost based on double occupancy. A single room entails an additional cost. Standard double rooms are provided but upgrade options are available.
Self-Guided tours require a deposit of 400 euros per person with the balance due 90 days prior to departure.
To make payment, we must first set up your online account. Once your itinerary and cost are finalized, go to the Book Now link which takes you to the secure Aegea Booking page to input your credit card information via PayPal. You may pay with a major credit card or Visa or Mastercard debit card or a PayPal account if you have one. You have the option to pay in euros other currencies. We pay all bank service fees although your credit card company may charge you a foreign transaction fee.
Alternatively, if you are reluctant to pay online, we can take your credit card information by phone. Please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient date and time for us to call you. We can also give you our bank account details if you opt to pay by bank wire transfer which usually has lower fees than those charged by a credit card company .
Lesvos & Chios Photo Gallery
Pre & Post Tour Add-Ons
TOUR RATING SYSTEM
FAQ’s FOR SELF-GUIDED TOURS