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Leros island Greece | Official Guide to Leros

The island of Leros is located in the northern Dodecanese a few miles south of Patmos while to the south it is separated by a relatively narrow sea route from Kalymnos. The geographical relief of the island is characterized by small hills and innumerable coves with the largest being the bay of Laki which is the largest natural port in the eastern Mediterranean,( for this reason the Italians in 1932 established their main naval base in the Dodecanese). Other large bays are Alinda, Gourna, Vromolithos, the bay of Partheni, Blefouti and Panteli.

The highest altitude is located in Klidi (around 300 m), other mountains in Leros are Skoubarda and Diapori in the south and Apitiki in the east. Many small islands are scattered around Leros such as Agia Kyriaki and Pianousa opposite Panteli, Archangelos in the north and Glaronissia with the Leriko island between Leros and Kalymnos. The island of Leros is green and in its inland there is agricultural production, there are countless vines, figs, prickly pears, Guavas (found only in Leros), crops with vegetables and many roads are covered with eucalyptus and pines. There are plenty of tamarisk trees on the beaches that offer shade to the visitors.

Unlike other Aegean islands where the main resource is Tourism, Leros relies to a large extent on the public services that exist on the island which has 3 hospitals, a port, two high schools and several primary schools, and it is a fact that many of the inhabitants Leros are from other areas of Greece who work on the island. In Leros you will find all kinds of shops, boutiques, large supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, bookstores, gift shops, mobile telephony, electronics, shopping and car items, garages and gas stations, building and sanitary materials, pharmacies and medical centres. Fishing and farming are among other resources of income

Main towns and Villages

  • Agia MarinaAgia Marina is the second Port of Leros, its normally the Capital of Leros though Platanos host’s the City Hall.Agia Marina in contrast with Laki which build on a Italian style from the Mussolini’s times, is the typical Greek island’s traditional city, it has nothing to be jealous from the other world well known Greek island’s cities like Mykonos, Parikia(Paros island) Santorini (oia)or Naxos.Traditional white houses and idyllic narrow winding step roads. From here you can get the fast boats to the other islands of the region,Patmos,Lipsi, Samos,Kos,Kalymnos,Syni,Rhodes and Nisyros .Plenty of shops Cafes Greek art and souvenirs,travel agencies,bars clubs restaurants and internet cafes makes Agia Marina one of the highlight of Leros.
  • Platanos: Located between Agia Marina who in fact all those three cities have become one in the recent years, walking distance between them is not more then ten minutes. In Platanos is the City Hall the Leros Library ,the Greek National Bank with 24hours ATM service, Shops ,Hotels,Bakeries,News agents, Photo shops, Super markets, Fashion and souvenir shops Traditional cafes like the so called Leski or the Lerian Club,suvlaki shops,liquer shops and mini markets(periptera).In Platanos is the terminal of the local bus and the Taxis. From Platanos you can take the steps leading up the Castle of Leros climbing 300 steps! but worth to do it.!
  • Panteli :The traditional fishermen’s village. Its unique atmosphere made it the most “in” place for the locals as well with the tourist. Small taverns and cafes next to the sea, fishing boats along with Luxury yachts, fishermen knitting their nets. Once you are in Panteli you fell like home, the locals keep there lives in harmony without any affection from the summer tourist crowds ,you will always get a kalimera (good morning) or gia sou (hello) no matter if you ever meet them before, you can as well be invited for a glass of ouzo or retsina in the local cafe’s or taverns just for the sake of a good companionship. This hospitable mentality occurs the whole Greece and the Greek islands and as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the main factors that attracts tourism in Greece apart from the Sunshine and the perfect Mediterranean climate.
  • Lakki : Laki is the main Port of Leros island .Here you can get the big ferry boats to Athens and the other islands of Dodecanese,there also connections to some of the Cyclades islands like Paros or Myconos but not daily.Laki has a unique architectural style inherited from the times of the Italian occupation of the island. It is the commercial center of the island with numerous shops, supermarkets,green grocers,internet cafes and bars,restaurants Hotels and Apartments. 
  • Alinda: The most touristy area of Leros.Modern hotels and bungalows and a variety of Apartments and rooms for rent. It has all the facilities of a modern touristy resort,Restaurants bars cafeteries mini markets car and moto rentals wind serf facilities and everything else that the modern tourist wants.Alindas attraction is mainly the Belenis tower which host an excellent museum
  • Xirokampos : Located at the southest Part of Leros island it is 3 kilometers from Laki and has a daily conection to the island of Kalymnos by small boats.A big sandy beach with tamarisk trees and an idylik view to the mountains of Kalymnos.Near by is the small church of Panagis Kavouradena (Virgin Mary of the Crabs). Another attraction is the Palaiokastro where you can see the Prehistoric ruins of the ancient castle.In Xirokampos is the Camping and some Hotels and Apartments.
  • Vromolithos : One of the most favourite beaches on the island, there are Hotels Apartments Restaurants mini markets and Bars.Vromolithos is the best spot on Leros to watch early in the morning the Sunrise.From Platanos and Panteli its a few minutes walk and you can even go by swimming to Panteli beach or the other way around.

Things to do

Stroll round the wide, tree-lined boulevards of the main port of Lakki to marvel at what remains of Mussolini’s vision of turning the former island capital into a fascist dream town. The Italians occupied the island between 1912 until the Second World War, setting up a naval base in Lakki Bay, one of the biggest natural harbours in the Mediterranean.
These days the neglected buildings look like something out of an abandoned Italian film set. The former Italian naval base at Lepida, to the south of Lakki, is now a state hospital and its grounds contain a mansion once used as the dictator’s summer retreat.

In defiance of their Italian masters, the islanders abandoned Lakki and made the village of Platanos their capital. The picturesque, whitewashed village is the main shopping centre of the island and is dominated by the impressive Byzantine Castle of Our Lady.

You can reach it via a stepped path leading up from the village’s central square – the spectacular view from the battlements makes the climb well worth the effort. The castle houses the medieval church of Panagia tou Kastrou which contains a supposedly miraculous icon and a small museum with various religious artifacts.

Platanos spills down the hill to the working fishing port of Pandeli where you can enjoy a superb fresh fish lunch. The road north leads to the bustling port of Agia Marina which is the arrival and departure point for hydrofoils and catamarans. This is one of the best places to eat on the island and is a popular stopping off point for visiting yachties.

West along the bay from Agia Marina you come to the seaside resort of Krithoni where the well-kept Allied War Graves Cemetery is a poignant place of pilgrimage for families whose loved ones died in the Battle of Leros in 1943. The cemetery contains the graves of 179 British, two Canadian and two South African servicemen who died fighting the Germans after the Italians surrendered.

Relics from the battle can be seen at the Historic and Folk Museum at the nearby beach resort of Alinda. The collection is housed in the twin-towered Belenis Castle which was the former mansion home of the museum’s expatriate benefactor Paris Belenis

Seven kilometres north west of Alinda near the airport you’ll find the ancient ruins of the Temple of Artemis – the goddess of hunting who reputedly made Leros her home.

 

Hiking in Leros

There are many hiking trails on the island – most passable. If you choose the relatively easy route from Xirokampos to Cape Diapori, you will see an abandoned Italian military building with murals made by soldiers during World War II.
West of Agia Marina the road goes to Krithoni and Alinda and from there to Gourna, Kamara, Airport, Partheni and Blefouti while to the south of Platanos the road goes to Panteli, Spilia, Vromolithos, Turkopigado (left) and Ag. continues to Lakki, Xirokampos in the south and Merkies located in the west of Lakki.
From Lakki starts from the height of PIKPA the road to Gourna Agios Isidoros and Kamara which is a beautiful route. Also the road that goes to Merkies reaches the entrance of the bay at Cape Katsouni from where you can admire panoramic views of the Aegean up to Kalymnos and Kos. The road network started by the Italians and perfected in later years is quite good, except for the entrance to Platanos in Spilia where the road narrows and the turn from Agia Marina to Alinda where in summer there is a lot of traffic especially when local ships arrive, all other roads are relatively comfortable.

Beaches

vromolithos beachThere are many beaches in Leros, almost for every taste, organised you will find in Alinda, Panteli, Vromolithos and Gourna, Xirokampos, Blefouti, Dyo Lisgaria. In many there are taverns and canteens as well as umbrellas with sunbeds. Most have sand or pebbles. But if you want to explore the island you will discover countless small beaches just for you, especially if you have a boat or you like hiking. You will find other small beaches towards Tourkopigado and Vourlidia opposite Panteli. The road after Merkies to the mouth of the port will lead you to countless small bays and secluded beaches.
Vromolithos: One of the most popular beaches of Leros at the area of Vromolithos south west of Panteli. It is large, sandy, with sunbeds and umbrellas for guests, a tavern and a beach bar.

panteli beachPanteli: Perhaps the most famous beach of Leros at the tourist fishermen’s village of Panteli. Here you will find sunbeds with umbrellas, fish taverns and beach bars, shops and mini markets.
Alinda: One of the largest beaches of Leros. It has blue waters, sand and pebbles and is organised with umbrellas. Nearby you will find hotels shops and taverns.
Dio Liskaria: Beautiful windless cove with deep blue waters. The beach is organised with umbrellas and sunbeds, while nearby you will find beach bars with snacks and drinks.
Xirokampos: Quite a large, sandy beach with shallow waters, restaurants and a diving centre, very near is a small rocky beach at Panagia Kavouradaina, for those seeking solitude.

Krithoni: a small beach on a cove on the way to Alinta, clear waters with fine pebbles. If you prefer natural shade, you can relax under the tall trees around.
Koulouki: Very near to the port of Lakki, light sand, clear waters, surrounded pine and eucalyptus trees.There is a snack bar.
Merikia: Beautiful, quiet beach near Koulouki. It has crystal clear waters and large tamarisk trees that protect from the sun. The Lime beach bar is ideal for a snack, coffee and drinks.
Agia Kiura: Beautiful secluded beach, ideal for peaceful moments and cool swims. Make sure you have the necessary supplies with you, as it is not organised.
Gurna: the largest sandy beach of the island with shallow waters. It has sunbeds and umbrellas, but also trees that offer shade. Behind the beach there is a tavern and a cafeteria.

Enterteinment and nightlife

savana barLeros has a very interesting nightlife in winter and summer, with several bars and cafes, countless dining options in traditional fish taverns, restaurants, grills, snack bars and cafes. In Leros you will find a cinema, playgrounds, football and basketball courts, bowling alleys, water sports, museums and libraries. Every summer several events are organised such as traditional dances, concerts, sports, regattas, traditional weddings and festivals in various parts of the island. For those who love fishing and diving, Leros is the right island. You can fish with reed and fly from many beaches. The fish are abundant and the waters are crystal clear. Every summer the island receives a large number of yachts, especially in the bays of Panteli and Vromolithos and in the marinas of Lakki. For those seeking fun and lively nightlife, Leros has a very interesting one. Bars and night clubs with foreign and Greek music, restaurants with live folk music and traditional local songs keep the tourists until late at night and often until dawn at Agia Marina, Panteli, Lakki and Alinta, there is also a Cinema at Lakki. Leros unlike other Greek islands has nightlife all year round winter and summer since the locals will go to restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs, all year around .

Local cuisine

FISHERMENThe local fishermen take out fresh fish and seafood every morning. In the fish tavern Pyrofani, on the beach in Panteli you will taste local specialties, like salted mackerel and fresh grilled fish, but also mussels and many fish appetisers. At Apostolis Psaropoula, do not miss the sorrel soup , the shells and the lobster spaghetti. For grills, try restaurant Petrino in Lakki with excellent steaks, skewers and chicken, Very tasty traditional sweets such as the Lerian pougi a local sweet on a sheet of dough filled with marzipan and almonds, but also cakes and fresh handmade ice cream you will enjoy at the pastry shop of Repapis in Lakki. In Sweet Leros you will try delicious galaktoboureko, donuts, macaroons and homemade juniper liqueur .The patisserie looks like a traditional house. For patsavouropita, and other delicacies try the “Paradosiakon” in Agia Marina

Diving

The island of Leros is a diving paradise and there are two diving schools on the island. During World War II, Leros experienced one of the greatest battles in the eastern Mediterranean when German forces bombed the island to seize it from Allied forces and the Italians who had surrendered. The battle lasted about 50 days from September to November 1943. Many ships and planes sank in Leros during these battles. The seabed of Leros is a unique museum of World War II for those involved in diving and the underwater wealth of the island is a magnet for tourism. In Lakki, in the area of ​​Merkia, is the cruiser Queen Olga, which sank in September 1943. Around the island there are dozens of Luftwaffe and RAF warplanes, so far a Luftwaffe junker has been towed.

Getting to Leros

getting to lerosLeros has frequent connections from Piraeus. Ferries to Leros departing from port gate E2 at the North part of Piraeus Port. Arriving from Athens airport with the Metro, you can use the free Bus service witch is located opposite the main entrance of the station at the port.

The buses takes you at the ferries. Ferries and catamarans connect also Leros with Patmos, Lipsi , Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Symi and Rhodes.

From May till October other boats connect Leros with Samos, Patmos, Lipsi, Kalymnos, Kos Rhodes, Crete, Nisyros and Symi

Flights to Leros

There are several ways to fly to Leros. Arriving at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens you can take the 50 seat airplane daily direct to Leros witch leaves usually at 9.30 in the morning, the flight is about 55 minutes. An other way is to take the plane to Kos or Samos and from there you can take the fast hydrofoils or Catamarans, duration of journey about 1 hour from Kos and 1.30 min. from Samos.

Coming to Leros from abroad by train or by car

By Train or Car:
In case you travel by train or car Via Italy you can found all the information
about the ferries from Ancona or Brindisi at: www.Ferries.gr
All of the ferries boats from Italy arriving at Patras,the trip to Athens is about 2 hours by Bus train or Car.

The travel agency Aegean travel located at Lakki just opposite the taxi stand. It is one of the oldest travel agencies of Leros run by Nikos Kastis. The company is the official branch of bluestar ferries for Lero, except ferry tickets you can book flights and holiday packages. For more information visit the official site www.aegeantravel.gr

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Leros Panteli