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Leros:
An Authentic Island with a Great History

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Discover Leros

Leros is one of the best-kept secrets of the Dodecanese, a magical location that uniquely marries stunning scenery with architectural treasures and some of the most fascinating Greek and European history of the 20th century.

The “Island of Artemis” is characterised by harmonious landscapes, where low mountains alternating with green plains are surrounded by a coastline of sheltered bays with calm blue waters. At Lakki, the largest natural harbour in the Mediterranean, there are some fine examples of interwar Italian architecture, an impressive mixture of art deco and Bauhaus influences. The legendary Battle of Leros and the spectacular wrecks of warships and aircraft in the sea around the island testify to its strategic position during World War II.

Today, increasing numbers of people are discovering this cosmopolitan and hospitable place full of authentic traditions, and see Leros as a perfect retreat for a relaxing holiday.

3 memorable experiences on Leros
  • Strolling through the cosmopolitan harbour of Agia Marina and stopping for a coffee – or something stronger – at one of its bars.
  • Visiting the enchanting Church of the Virgin Kavouradaina (“crabfisher”) in Xirokampos, which takes its name from an icon depicting a crab “embracing” Mary.
  • A romantic bike ride along the seafront of Lakki.
Beaches of Leros

If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Leros, you’ll discover an island blessed with beaches for all tastes. It is worth discovering:

  • The popular Alinda, with countless tamarisk trees that come right down to the shore. It has good tourist amenities and water sports.
  • The well-organised Panteli, with its long stretch of sand and crystal-clear waters, which is great for snorkelling and is preferred by families.
  • Vromolithos, in the village of the same name, a sandy beach with small pebbles, and oak and tamarisk trees for natural shade.
  • The fabulous Saint Kioura, which stretches around a small cove with fine sand and a tropical turquoise sea. It has no amenities and access is via a dirt road that starts at the historic church of Saint Kioura in Partheni.
  • Dio Liskaria, a small cove that attracts people of all ages with its golden sand and crystalline sea. It is protected from the wind, while its fragrant eucalyptus trees offer plenty of shade.
  • Gourna, especially favoured by families for its sand and shallow waters, where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets on the island.
  • Xirokampos, a tourist beach ideal for relaxation, swimming and good food at the nearby eateries. A short distance away, the picturesque church of the Virgin Kavouradaina nestles among the rocks.
Postcards from Leros: 10 things not to miss

Platanos
Built on the slopes of Apitiki Hill in the shadow of the Castle of Our Lady, the old capital of the island takes visitors on a journey back in time. Its quaint alleyways are lined with traditional houses and neoclassical buildings of the interwar period, with marble balconies and tiled roofs. In the neighbourhood of “Avlaki”, ornate fountains flow with water from the Paliaskloupi spring, while the road up to the castle passes six picturesque windmills.

The shipwrecks of Leros
A remarkable underwater museum awaits diving enthusiasts on the Leros seabed. These are the wrecks of warships and aircraft that were sunk and shot down during World War II, testifying to the strategic importance of the island at that time. The most famous is the British destroyer Queen Olga, sunk in the harbour at Lakki.

Saint Isidore at Kokkali
Built on a rocky islet 50 metres from Kokkali Beach, this pretty white chapel offers one of the island’s most gorgeous sunsets.

Panteli Castle
This medieval castle stands on top of Apitiki Hill, above the town of Platanos, offering stupendous sea views from its battlements. Visitors can see three courtyards with coats of arms of the Knights of St. John, as well as five churches, including the imposing Our Lady of the Castle (1719).

The small islands around Leros
Don’t miss the opportunity to make a day trip to the nearby islands of Aspronisia, Tiganakia and Marathi. These three destinations have the landscapes and atmosphere of an exotic paradise and take the breath away with their unexpected beauty.

The War Museum
Occupying a restored military tunnel from World War II, this evocative museum takes visitors back to the historic Battle of Leros through rare documents and mementoes. In the area around ​​the tunnel, there is a park with military vehicles, aeroplanes, weaponry and other items.

The Archaeological Museum
Housed in a neoclassical building of 1882 in Agia Marina, this museum contains finds excavated on Leros and dating from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Lakki
Designed by the Italians during their occupation of the Dodecanese, the town of Lakki was known as Porto Lagos in the 1930s. It has the wide avenues, large squares and architecture representative of early Italian modernism. Don’t miss the primary school on the seafront, the cinema, the Leros Hotel, the open-air market, and the clock tower.

The Church of Saint Kioura
This historic church looks down over Partheni Bay, and testifies to the presence here of political prisoners exiled to Leros by Greece’s military dictatorship. They included many artists who in 1969 and 1970 painted its walls with unique murals that took a somewhat unorthodox approach to religious art.

The Historical and Folklore Museum
Located in the striking Bellenis Tower (1925-1927), a grand residence in Alinda, the museum tells the fascinating story of the island through collections of objects and works of art.

Tastes of Leros

Leros is a gastronomic paradise for lovers of seafood, offering an enormous variety of fish (both fresh and salted) and shellfish.

Choosing one of the itineraries to Leros, don’t forget to enjoy salted mackerel, grilled octopus, and koukouvades (fish fried with garlic and rosemary). You should also try goat in egg-lemon sauce, filo parcels filled with fava (split pea mash), and cabbage-leaf dolmades. Favourite sweet dishes include patsavouropita (the local yogurt pie), sfingi (doughnuts), langites (fried pieces of dough), and poungia (filo “purses” filled with bitter almonds).

Don’t leave the island without sampling gravafa, a local variety of guava, a tropical fruit with a taste similar to forest fruits or dragon fruit. You can drink it in a juice or enjoy it as a preserve.

MAP OF LEROS
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