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The economy of Lesbos is largely dependent on agriculture. Olive oil is the main source of income; Lesbos is also known as the "island of olives. Tourism, stimulated by the presence of an international airport, also contributes substantially to the island's economy today. Fishing, especially mackerel, sardines and tuna, and the production of cheese, soap and ouzo, the Greek national liqueur, are also important sources of income. Efforts are being made to bring as many economic activities as possible to Lesvos so as not to be entirely dependent on agriculture. Thus, quite a few factories have been built on the island in recent decades, especially in the food and beverage industry.

Lesbos currently has about 11 million olive trees in an area of about 4650 ha, and thus Lesbos has more olive trees than any other Greek island. Every year 100,000 tons of olives are grown on Lesbos and 20,000 tons of olive oil is produced. In the south and in the southeast of the island, the kolovi olive is grown on about 65% of the total area. In the north and northeast, the adramytini olive is grown on about 35% of the total area. The best olives come from the plantations between Plomari and Agiasos and are harvested from November to the end of December. Most of the olive groves are located in eastern Lesbos.

Lesbos is still a wine producing island. Grapes are grown on about 65 hectares and the yield of all the vineyards together is 45,500 kilos. An important export product is ouzo, in and around Plomari there are five well-known distilleries, the most famous being Varvagiannis. The best known ouzo of Lesbos is Ouzo Plomariou, but also the well-known brand Barbajannis is made here. Lesbos produces almost half of all ouzo made worldwide and 70% of all ouzo made in Greece.

Sheep's milk is used to produce Ladotyri cheese in the traditional way, preserved in high quality olive oil, and goat's milk is used to make the typical Kalathaki cheese.


Dubin, Marc S. / Griekse eilanden
Van Reemst

Greek islands
Lonely Planet

Griekse eilanden

McGilchrist, Nigel / Greece : the Aegean islands
Somerset Books

Midgette, Anne / Griekse eilanden : Egeïsche Zee
Het Spectrum

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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