Welcome to Europe 

In just a few months, Lesbos, a small Greek island a few miles off the Turkish coast, has changed from a tourist paradise to a refugee hellhole. In early October, around 7,000 people crossed the strait a day, on smugglers' rubber boats, seeking a better life in Europe. 

They won't find it here in Lesbos, for the Greek economy is in a bad shape. This is just the beginning of a long journey through the Balkan states, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria, from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, to northern Europe, which still welcomes the people who manage to make it all the way. 

Germany is on top of the list, welcoming more than a million refugees this year. Hope and a small backpack is all people bring with them. 

  • 1 DSC1601(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/6.3, ISO 100

    The landing, Skala Sykamineas, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 2 DSC1541(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/11, ISO 100

    Syrian man from Aleppo carried the last meters to Skala Sykamineas, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 3 DSC1677(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/2.5, ISO 100

    Syrian girl in great pain after the journey from Turkey. Skala Sykamineas beach, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 4 DSC2148(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/8, ISO 50

    Praising the Lord, this boat full of Syrian refugees made it (safe) from Turkey. Skala Sykamineas, beach, Lesbos, Greece.

    Open fullscreen
  • 5 DSC2013(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/8, ISO 100

    Four minutes in a new continent, Afghan refugee at the beach West of Skala Sykamineas, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 6 DSC2398(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/200sec, f/6.3, ISO 400

    The hotel the first night in Europe. Sykaminea, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 7 DSC1439(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/4.0, ISO 100

    Afghan family of 21, from a few days old to 70, waiting for the ferry to Athens at Mytilene harbour, the capital of Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 8DSC02711(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony a7RMII Distagon T* FE 35 mm F1.4 ZA 1/320sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

    Syrian, family of five, tenting at Mytilene harbour, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 9DSC02712(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony a7RMII Distagon T* FE 35 mm F1.4 ZA 1/320sec, f/13, ISO 200

    Two boys from Afghanistan waiting for their papers to continue to Germany. Mytilene, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 10 DSC1690(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony DSC-RX1R 35.0mm f/2.0 1/320sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

    Her leg was limp after the three and a half hour journey to Greece from Turkey. Skala Sykamineas, Lesbos.

    Open fullscreen
  • 11DSC02749(1)

    Páll Stefánsson

    Lesbos

    Sony a7RMII Distagon T* FE 35 mm F1.4 ZA 1/320sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

    Camping near the Mytilene harbour, Lesbos, Greece.

    Open fullscreen
Close