Lesbos is a popular destination for Turkish tourists and shoppers and just a short 55 minutes by high speed ferry. Equally, the Greeks use this service to do their own shopping in Ayvalik!
Catching the ferry from Ayvalik is pretty straight forward. In the summer months you are advised to book online in advance to ensure that you get a seat but in spring, autumn and winter it becomes much easier. In December we didn't pre book our ferry tickets but there were plenty of seats available.
From Ayvalik you arrive at Mytilene which is a fairly large port city on what is the third largest of the Greek Islands. This is a busy town with some good restaurants, bars and shopping outlets. There are also plenty of hotels to choose from.
In town you have the impressive church of Agios Therapon featured in our video along with the impressive Castle of Mytiline up on the hill surrounded by pine trees and which is one of the largest castles in the Mediterranean. It was probably built by the Byzantines but contains stone from an earlier castle which would have been besieged by Achilles during the Trojan War. This was also an important Turkish castle or fortress during Ottoman times too.
Mytiline has its very own Greek version of the Statue of Liberty which is a bronze statue by the harbour where the ferries come in. Many visitors come to Lesbos for a day trip but this doesn't really do it justice. There is so much more to explore on the rest of the island.