Sigri is a small fishing village near the western tip of the island of Lesbos in Greece. Its name derives from the Venetian word siguro meaning 'safe' because Sigri was considered a safe harbour. The port of Sigri can accommodate large vessels, even cruise ship-size ferry boats coming from the mainline, but almost all ship to Lesbos, however, go into the east of the island. Sigri may not be a picture-perfect Greek island town, but if you want a more authentic and charming town by the sea with inexpensive accommodation, terrific fish restaurants, plus a crescent-shaped beach just a few steps from where you are staying - then Sigri is excellent. 

A brief history of Sigri

The history of Sigri remains the same as that of the rest of the island of Lesvos and the oldest artefacts found on the island may date to the late Paleolithic period. The island became known in historical records from about the 7th century BC. From then on it was a place of culture and education and many ancient philosophers including Aristotle and Epicurus, led philosophical academies here. The most famous is Sappho, one of Ancient Greece's greatest poets. Her sensual, passionate poetry has fuelled a modern-day following and draws lesbians from around the world to the village of Skala Eresou, where she was born (c 630 BC).

Jumping forward, we can see evidence of the Ottoman occupation of Sigri and the rest of the island, thanks to castles and other buildings. Until the 20th century, the island remained Muslim, until there was a population exchange between Turkey and Greece and the island became Christian in1923.

Things to do in

Sigri has a Turkish castle that was built in 1746 during the Ottoman occupation, and it looks over the bay and the island of Nissiopi. It is probably the towns most impressive human-made feature. Built in 1746 by the Sultan Mehmet I, this fortress protected the harbour. The stones came from quarries in Turkey and were paid for by heavy taxes levied upon Christian inhabitants in this part of Lesbos. You can walk through the iron door and along the walls for an impressive view of the village and the surrounding sea. The church of Agia Triada, initially built as a mosque, is also worth a short visit. 

The Petrified Forest Park is the most famous natural site in Sigri and is accompanied by The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, established in 1994 for the study, protection, maintenance and promotion of this listed natural monument. The Petrified Forest was initiated 15 – 20 million years ago and covered an area of 150,000 acres. It spreads across the whole of Southwest region of the island, and visitors can admire hundreds of fossilized tree trunks and conifers. It became part of the worldwide network of UNESCO Geoparks in 2004. If you want to explore a bit further afield then why not take a ferry to Megalonisi, the long, thin island off the west coast, situated right in front of Sigri's harbour, it stretches across the mouth of the bay and acts as a buffer to the prevailing winds.

Beaches around Sigri

Sigri's main beach is a lovely golden sandy stretch, with sunbeds available for hire during the summer months. The water is clean and refreshing, and there is a taverna on the beach and a canteen that sells drinks and snacks. Like many beaches in Lesbos, there is also a shower so you can rinse off. The beaches to the north and south are breathtaking and depending on the time of day, you can sometimes have one all to yourself, even in peak season. The snorkelling south of the town is good, and there is plenty of fish and even some octopus. To get there, follow the dirt road to Eressos and the beach at Tsichlioda is at the end of a long valley. You can park close to the sea, but it can be rough on your car. 

Related destination guides