MÓLYVOS (officially Míthymna), 61km from Mytilíni, is arguably the most beautiful village on Lésvos. Tiers of sturdy, red-tiled houses, some standing defensively with their rear walls to the sea, mount the slopes between the picturesque harbour and the Genoese castle (Tues-Sun 8am-2.30pm; ?1.50), which provides interesting rambles around its perimeter walls and views of Turkey across the straits. Closer examination reveals a score of weathered Turkish fountains along flower-fragrant, cobbled alleyways, a reflection of the fact that before 1923 Muslims constituted over a third of the local population and owned most of the finest dwellings. You can try to gain admission to the Krallis and Yiannakos mansions , or the municipal art gallery occupying the former residence of local author Argyris Eftaliotis, which hosts temporary exhibitions. The small archeological museum (Tues-Sun 8am-2.30pm; free), in the basement of the town hall, features finds from the ancient town, including blue Roman beads to ward off the evil eye (belief in this affliction is age-old and pan-Mediterranean). Archival photos depict the Greek conquest of the island in November-December 1912, with Ottoman POWs being dispatched afterwards from Mólyvos port to Anatolia. Barely excavated ancient Mithymna to the northwest is of essentially specialist interest, though a necropolis has been unearthed next to the bus stop. Modern dwellings and hotels have been banned from the municipal core, but this hasn't stopped a steady drain of all the authentic life from the upper bazaar; just one lonely tailor still plies his trade amongst souvenir shops vastly surplus to requirements, and the last traditional locals' ouzerí shut in 1989. Cast as an upmarket resort in the early 1980s, Mólyvos is now firmly middle of the road, with the usual silly T-shirts and other shoddy souvenirs carpeting every vertical surface of yet another, however intrinsically attractive, stage-set for mass tourism.