Vatera is one of the longest beaches in Greece and the best place to be if you are traveling with your family or are looking for a quiet place to enjoy the sea and nature as well as good food. It stretches for 8 km in length and has a width of almost 30 – 50 meters. It contribute to the consistent awards of the EU Blue Flag each year. The village of Vatera itself stretches for 8 kilometers and is made up of some really nice taverns, several beach bars and coffee shops, mini markets, bakeries and pharmacies.
On its western edge, at Cape Agios Fokas, the sparse ruins of an ancient Temple of Dionysos occupy a headland overlooking the sea. In the cove between the beach and the cape, evidence indicates an ancient military encampment. Indeed, some historians believe this is the place Homer was referring to in the Iliad as the resting point for Greek armies besieging Troy.
Vatera’s ancient history includes fossils dating back 5.5 million years, including remains of a tortoise as big as a Volkswagen Bug, though possibly faster, and fossils of a gigantic horse and gazelle. The inviting Vrisa Natural History Museum, in Vryssa’s old schoolhouse, displays these and other significant remains.
Polyhnitos, 10km north of Vatera on the road back to Mytilini town, is known for its two nearby hot springs, among the hottest in Europe. The more popular of the two, the Hot Springs of Polyhnitos, await just 1.5km east of the village, set in a pretty, renovated Byzantine building, with some of Europe’s warmest bath temperatures at 40°C (104°F). Rheumatism, arthritis, skin diseases and gynaecological problems are treated here, along with the chance to simply enjoy a relaxing soak. Professional massage is available, and there’s a small cafe on the grounds for drinks, lunch and dinner. A nearby, smaller hot spring, Lisvorio Spa, 5km north of Polyhnitos, is popular for baths and massage.
About 5km northwest of Polyhnitos, the fishing port of Skala Polyhnitou lies on the Gulf of Kalloni, where caïques bob at the docks and fishermen untangle their nets. It’s great for low-key seafood dinners at sunset. If you want lower-key yet, head 6km west to seaside village of Nifidha.