leros

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 OF LEROS

PLATANOS

The capital Platanos is located in the east of the island below the mountain Apitiki and the castle of Panagia. Agia Marina the second port and co-capital is located in the north just a few minutes walk from Platanos as well as the picturesque Panteli in the south. Apitiki separates the bay of Alinda from the bay of Panteli and Vromolithos. From the beginning of the 20th century Leros and the rest of the Dodecanese were occupied by the Italians who liberated them from the ottoman empire. The Italians have built many art deco mansions in Leros and so the island feels more Italian than Greek in some places. Other places are again typically Greek, so you will receive both. A chaotic spread of whitewashed houses lies between two barren hillsides, flanking a busy main road designed more for donkeys than the motor traffic that now streams along it.

Attractive houses line the main road and the narrow alleys that branch off left and right. Platanos houses the Leros island council and library and there are many shops, cafes and supermarkets. Extensively bombed by the British in World War Two, much has survived or been restored. At the top of the hill is the main square which holds one of the biggest markets on Leros.The Venetian castle dominates and you can drive up to it or walk, although the walk involves about 300 steps, for extensive views of Leros and a chance to see the beautiful 10th century Church of Our Lady which stands inside the castle.
As well as a small museum in the castle church there is a good archeological museum on the main road, housed in the renovated Astiki Sholi built in 1882.

AGIA MARINA

AGIA MARINA LEROSThe port of Agia Marina is one of two large harbours on Leros (the other is at Lakki) and the main tourist centre and the port of call for most ferries and excursion boats.Cafes line the quayside which eventually leads to a narrow shingle beach, a thin and scruffy strip sharp sand littered with debris and backed by a bare concrete wall.There is compensation in the sweeping views across the bay and a picturesque windmill perched on a causeway at the northern end. The warren of whitewashed back streets is marred by the stream of traffic that squeezes through alleyways and makes crossing the roads a head spinning pain.

Cafes have turned upmarket in recent years, with soft cushioned settees and internet access a much flaunted addition to cappuccino and ciabatta on the menus. The cafes have the charm of brightly painted boats bobbing at the quayside and fishing nets sprawled to dry at your feet.
The whitewashed homes of Agia Marina sprawl up the hillside to merge with Platanos, while the impressive Byzantine castle stand aloof on the treeless skyline of Apityki, visible from virtually everywhere on Leros.

PANTELI

panteli beachTo the south of Platanos, below the slope of Mount Apitiki is the small seaside resort of Panteli. The road from Platanos goes down to the beach where there is limited parking, but on the road that goes up to Platanos there is a spacious municipal parking lot.
Cafes and taverns embrace an attractive strip of sand and pebbles in the deep bay with almost all the taverns on the shore.

The sea is shallow with sand further away, so it is a good beach for families with children. The tamarisk trees offer natural shade, while the small port is usually full of fishing boats and yachts. The
unique traditional cafe Tzoumas has a beautiful view, while a recently paved promenade overlooks the beach of Vromolithos. Also overlooking Panteli on a ridge below the ruins of the castle of Panagia there is a series of six ancient windmills that have been recently renovated. In Panteli there are two hotels and several studios and apartments for rent.

LAKKI

LAKKI LEROSThe large bay in Lakki is one of the deepest natural harbors in the Mediterranean and, it must be said, probably one of the driest.
Occupied by the Italians for 30 years before the 1940s, Mussolini had plans to turn it into an Italian flagship for his Greek “empire”. They created the majestic city of Portolago, now Lakki, and resurrected wide boulevards, impressive parks and bombed-out buildings in a combination of Art Deco and Bauhaus called Rationalism by the fascist regime.
The buildings are of historical architectural interest. A long walk, wide enough to host a military parade, crosses the coast with eucalyptus and elaborate lamps, ending in a large yacht marina.
The splendor is located in monumental buildings as in the old cinema, it is currently being restored with EU grants, after it was heavily bombed in World War II, the majestic Leros Hotel, the Clock Market and the imposing building of the former Navy administration

HIKING

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.

ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHLIFE

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 THERE

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 By Air: There are daily flights from Athens with Olympic Airlines.
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