The Gulf of Kalloni
Kalloni Salt Pans
At the head of the Gulf of Kalloni,
where it is passed by the main road to Mitilene,
the shallow waters have been divided into evaporation pools for salt production.
These are colonised by flocks of flamingoes, egrets, and other water birds,
and you can sometimes see storks, both white and black.
(For more about the birds of Lesvos, see 'A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos' by Steve Dudley, available locally, or online at www.lesvosbirding.com or www.amazon.co.uk)
Skala Kallonis (Σκάλα Καλλονής) is a flourishing fishing village,
and also one of the main holiday resorts of Lesvos.
Its south-facing position at the head of the Gulf gives it a
warm, shallow sea, sandy beaches, and plentiful fish.
It is surrounded by low-lying salt flats and lagoons, and fertile alluvial plains,
which make it particularly attractive to resident and migratory sea-birds and waders,
and to the many bird-watchers who flock here each year in the hope of seeing them.
The village is also famous for its mascot non-migratory one-legged pelican,
which you may well see patrolling the harbour.
Parakoila is a prosperous village on the Gulf of Kalloni about 11 km south of Kalloni on the western side of the Gulf.
Under Ottoman rule it was a joint Greek and Turkish settlement, and is now mainly of interest to outsiders
for the ruins of the mosque to the south-east of the village, which boasts the one surviving complete minaret in Lesvos, and, on the edge of the village itself, the crumbling remains of the old Turkish bathhouse, or hamam.
The village has a flourishing Womens' Co-operative, whose shop sells their conserves and confectionery
(many medium-sized communities have their Womens' Co-operatives, mutual groups similar
to the British Womens' Institute, but more ambitious and entrepreneurial).
The Eastern Shore
On the eastern shore of the Gulf was the ancient city of Pyrrha,
which once covered the area between Achladeri and the fishing harbour of Skamnioudi.
It was here that Aristotle came in about 350BC to research and write his works on natural history.
Most of the city's ruins now lie beneath the sea, but some ancient masonry is still visible along the shore,
and, in calm weather and at low water, on the sea bed.
Further down the coast are the salt-pans of Polichnitos, less extensive than those at the head of the gulf,
but equally attractive to wading birds, the small port and fishing harbour of Skala Polichnitou,
and at the end of the road towards the mouth of the gulf, and almost unknown to overseas visitors,
the tiny beach resort of Nifida.
The main road leaves the coast soon after Achladeri, and leads through pine forest
to Vasilika, Lisvori, and the main town of the area, Polichnitos.
There are hot springs and therapeutic thermal baths at both Lisvori and Polichnitos,
though those at Lisvori are currently closed for renovation, modernisation and 'improvement'.
'On Foot - Circular Walks on Lesvos' has descriptions of several walks in this area.