Mytilini Town is the capital and port. There's a large university here, so the city life is active all year round. The once-grand 19th Century mansions are being restored and there are jumbled streets, traditional cafes and backstreet ouzeria, antique shops, embroidery and ceramic sellers, and jewelry shops. The architecture on Lesvos has Italianate influences.
Mytilini has two harbors. Passenger ferries dock at the southern harbor, called Pavlou Kountourioti. The northern harbor is called Navmahias Ellis.
The fortress was first built in Byzantine times. It's since been renovated by Gatelouzo and the Turks. The surrounding forest is a favorite picnic spot.
You get two archaeological museums for the price of one in Mytilini Town. One block north of the quay is the original museum with an impressive display. Your ticket also gets you into the new archaeological museum, which is 400 meters away. Both are worth a visit.
From almost anywhere on the waterfront you can spot the dome of the Church of Agios Therapon, which has a very ornate interior. There's a Byzantine museum in the church courtyard.
Four km south of Mytilini, the village of Varia has the not-to-be-missed Theophilos Museum. Many of the painter's works are displayed here. Right next door, is the Teriade Museum with works from Teriade (or Stratis Eleftheriadis). Teriade's collection of works by other artists is shown too, including works by Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse.
Northern Lesvos is dominated by the spendid town of Mithymna. The locals call it Molyvos. It features impeccable stone houses, flower-shaded streets, brightly colored shutters and a castle-topped hill. The beach here is pebbly and crowded, and is the site where excursion boats leave for beaches at Eftalou, Skala Sykaminias and Petra.