Just outside Molyvos on the north part of Lesvos there is a very interesting hiking trail filled with beautiful landscape, a rich flora, historical ruins and a stunning view.
The trail is called the Ligonas Valley Water Mill trail and during the walk you will pass by 18 ancient water mills, some in quite good condition.
In ancient times all the mills in the valley was connected to each other through aqueducts and other constructions leading the water from one mill to the other. That way all the mills could use and re-use the same water and not spoil more of the valuable resource than necessary.
To take a closer look at the remains of the water mills I went on a guided walk up the valley with Sabine from Disa Travel. Disa Travel is an adventure company specializing in guided hikes, trips and outdoors activities across Lesvos and they offer their services to smaller groups and individuals who wants a safe and informative activity on Lesvos.
The Ligonas Valley Water Mill Trail
The first part of the walk up the Ligonas Valley Water Mill trail was on a dirt road leading us past a farming area with olive groves and fields of colorful flowers. There were also small bridges passing over the river winding its way down the creek. The first resting stop we made was at a small chapel in the valley. Even though we had an early morning walk the shade from the chapel was welcome.
The hike continued into the valley as the dirt road turned into a path and the vegetation got thicker and closer to the path. At one point it was even a bit tricky to recognize the path at all, but luckily our hiking guide Sabine was familiar with the landscape and recognized it.
Parts of all the water mills was still present, but some of the mills was more intact than others. They created an interesting pattern looking like steps and one of them even had the mill stone intact. One of the first ones we passed had a big sign with a description to explain how the mills worked.
During the hike we passed by interesting vegetation, trees with wild fruits growing and a small, green oasis with a running river and large trees casting shadows to the area way up in the valley. We guessed it must have been the same water source the mills used to run on back in the days. The oasis was a great place to have a second rest, drink some water and chill down a bit as the running water combined with the shadows from the trees made it quite cool. The water also attracted lots of dragonflies, butterflies and other interesting insects, so we were entertained by nature as we rested.
The closer to the top we got, the more rocky and steep the path turned. Also the vegetation more or less vanished so there were no more shadows from the trees to seek cover under. As there were no large trees, we got to enjoy the view a bit more and could see the rocky landscape with layers and bricks of different colors and shapes, so consistent in its shapes that it almost looked like it was man made. At the very top of the trail we had a stunning view over the valley and was happy to take it all in before we continued on a dirt road towards the village of Petri.
The village of Petri
From Petri we had a great view towards the sea and the sister village Petra with a church situated on top of the core of a volcano. Along with the view to the Ligonas Valley on top of the hiking trail, this was one of the photo opportunities I would not want to miss!
As it was lunch time when we entered the village of Petri we found a nice taverna who served traditional home cooked meals from their view terrace and we could just relax in the cool breeze and refill our bodies with a bit of water and energy.
After a nice lunch we took the shorter route back down from Petri, which was on a wide dirt road most of the time, and ended up at the same place as we left our car that morning. The total time of the hike was around 4 hours, but that included a couple of breaks and lots of photo stops on the way up and a nice lunch on the top.
More hiking opportunities on Lesvos
Apart from the Ligonas Hiking Trail there are lots of interesting trails all over Lesvos for you to discover. Both historical trails, culinary trails and nature trails along rivers and through chestnut forests. Find more inspiration from the official tourist guide here or on the website of Disa Travel to find the perfect hiking trail for you!
Hiking tips for the Ligonas Water Mill Trail
Wear good hiking shoes as the path is rather rough. Parts of the upper path is like stairs created by big bricks of rocks but mostly you walk on an uneven surface. Remember to bring water, wear a hat or a cap and use sun screen when hiking, especially in the hot summer period when the sun is at its strongest. The heat and exercise will make you sweat so apply sunscreen as you go to avoid a burn.