Mountainside Greek village of Stipsi Lesvos
One of the aspects of traveling on Lesvos, Greece that I wasn’t expecting and really enjoyed was driving through the beautiful mountainside villages. Villages like Stipsi (or Stypsi). Actually, let me clarify. It was a little stressful driving my compact car though these centuries-old villages because the road going through the center of the village was always one narrow lane! But even from the car, it was cool to get a glimpse of life in these sleepy and relatively remote towns.
Stipsi, like other villages on Lesvos, is constructed entirely of stone houses and cobbled stone streets. This traditional “hanging” village has two churches and the rock of Ai Yiorgi. Here, men sit in cafes playing backgammon or at outside tables under the shade of grapevines. The odd kid is riding his or her bicycle on the uneven streets. Woman are sweeping up or taking care of the taverna. There are so few cars that you don’t even have to worry about one coming in the opposite direction! Although most front doors are propped open, there are few people to be seen. I suspect most are living in the bigger cities where there are more job opportunities. Judging from the looks of most villages, all I could see was olive and nut trees and herding sheep and goats as a source of income. But the elderly do stay around and places like Stipsi would be a peaceful place to spend retirement days.
Stipsi is located on the south-facing slope of the mountain to the east above Petra. The view of Petra is lovely from here and the Ligonas ravine, with 20 abandoned watermills, holly-oaks, pear trees, wild shrubbery and an ancient cobbled path, is great for walking. It is easy to visit if you’re staying in Petra or Molyvos. But there are plenty of other little villages to discover on your own. As a friend said, “If it looks touristy, keep driving.” referring to the ability to easily find local tavernas and good places to eat. Lesvos is an exceptional island with a wide variety of places to explore and things to do. And best of all it’s a very authentic island that hasn’t been altered by mass tourism.
To read more about my trip to Lesvos, read: Why I’m going to Lesvos, Greece