Olympus Mountains | Lesbos | A Natura 2000 Botanical Paradise of 1400 Species
Updated: Sep 13
George Papadellis | SG Head
Olympos is a 967 m. mountain in south Lesbos island, extending from the plains of Polichnitos and Gera to Plomari village. It is located above the traditional settlement of Agiasos and it is considered a botanical paradise, including more than 1400 species of flora. This large number of species, many of which are rare and show high ecological interest, is due to the short distance of the area from Asia Minor.
The mountain owes this natural wealth also to the variety of the island’s habitats, the peculiarity of the rocks, the weather of Lesbos, the morphology of the Lesbos landscape, and the geological disconnection of the island from Eastern Aegean.
The Olympos mountain range has been included in the official list of CORINE-Land Cover habitats. It is part of the region “Gulf of Gera – Marsh Dippi and Mount Olympus”, included in the national catalogue of the European Network of Protected Areas “NATURA 2000” with the code number GR4110005. It has also been characterized as an “Important Bird Area".
Photo by: Panagiotis Papadellis (Copyright: 12.08.2021)
Olympus mt. area is covered by chestnut cultivated forest, by trachea pine forests and by black pine forests. The black pine is a priority habitat, endemic to Lesvos and rare all over Europe. There are also twelve species of (rare in Europe) orchids that are protected by the CITES treaty and are almost non-existent in Greece, such as Compera Comperiana and the only one in Greece Himantoglossum Comperianum, Grisebachii, Sideritis Sipylea Tea, Pea Paeonia Mascula, Centaurs Cemtaurea Urvillei and Viola Viola Heldreichiana (the name was first given by Lesvos Theophrastus, one of the first Greek botanists of the Aristotelian community).
Regarding fauna, important in Olympus mountains are: the small Persian squirrel that is known in Lesvos as "galia", which lives only in Greece, the "Turkotsobanakos" bird that lives and breeds throughout Europe only in Lesvos, the reptile vipera xanthine and the agama stellio dragon found in the Red Book of Threats (RED BOOK).
Olympus Mountains Routes
Mount Olympus has also beautiful routes, with the main starting point at Kastianionas of Agiasos village, enjoyed by hundreds of visitors each year.