Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos – Lemnos, Greece - Atlas Obscura

Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos

An alien landscape on the banks of the Aegean Sea. 


The Greek island of Lemnos is the mythic location of the forge of Hephaestus, god of blacksmiths, metallurgy, and all things fire.

According to legend, Hephaestus landed here after Zeus hurled him off Mount Olympus - and although the fall was a steep one, he could hardly have touched down in a more appropriate spot.

The Miocene volcanoes that used to spew lava on these shores are long gone, but they’ve left behind peculiar, entrancing rock formations. The locals call these rocks “faraklo” or “fragokefala” - “bald” or “bald heads” - references to the barren hills and tawny orbs that dot the volcanic landscape. This petrified lava is frozen in all sorts of bizarre shapes, from ripples in the rockface to built-up 3D spirals.

Markedly unlike the extensive beaches and striking waterfalls that draw most tourists to the island, this site is located at the northern edge of the island, beyond the settlement of Poliochni (which is notable in itself, as the oldest Neolithic city in Europe). Several gravel paths lead from the small town towards the raging Aegean Sea. Although it may take a few moments to find the right one, the rugged coastline will be worth the adventure.

Know Before You Go

After the village Propouli, you take a small detour off the road and see it right beside the beach.

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