Discover the island of Leros

Leros like most of the Greek islands is an island of small fertile valleys sandwiched between rolling green hills, deep coves and pretty beaches Leros  topography has given rise to many villages.

Leros has been quickly making up for lost ground and the island is now one of the more sought after destinations among the Greek islands, and growing in popularity, with visitor numbers rising each year.

leros Leros is located among the north Dodecanese group, just off the Turkish coast between Kos and Samos and, although ferry connections are good, the island airport can take only small domestic flights.

Leros has a long coastline with many deeply indented bays. None contain memorable beaches but they do offer that tranquil, picturesque charm that has unfortunately vanished from many Greek island resorts.
Cappuccino may have replaced Greek coffee in the pavement cafes but craft shops and bakeries still prevail over trinket stalls and fast food takeaways in the narrow streets.

For those seeking serene surroundings and prefer to escape the holiday hustle and bustle, Leros has much to offer the holiday visitor.

Today Leros is quickly making up for lost ground and the island is now one of the most popular  destinations in the Dodecanese and its popularity continues to grow every year.

Cappuccino and espresso may have replaced Greek coffee in cafes and coffee shops, but craft shops, bakeries and patisseries, local fashion stores and boutiques still dominate the island.

leros-agia-marina For those looking for a peaceful environment and prefer to escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Leros has a lot to offer even the most demanding visitor.

The island of Leros is green and in the interior there is agricultural production, there are countless vines, figs, prickly pears, Gavafes (found only on Leros), vegetable crops and many roads are covered by eucalyptus and pine trees.
On the beaches there are plenty of tamarisk trees that offer shade to vacationers. There is even a small river that starts from the Imerovigli hill and goes out into the gulf of Gourna.

Leros has a long coastline with many bays and secluded beaches. You won’t find noisy beaches with all-night beach parties or aqua parks here, but you will find the quiet, picturesque charm that has sadly disappeared from many Greek island resorts.


Leros is believed to have had numerous settlements as early as the Neolithic period of Greece and it seems that the inhabitants of the island, along with those of the neighboring island of Kalymnos, took part in the Trojan War. The island, later colonized by the Dorians. After the Persian wars Leros became part of the Athenian alliance, and in the course of the Peloponnesian wars the island fell under the rule of Sparta.

In the Byzantine period, having become a monastic property, it seems to have been divided between two convents and the construction by the Venetians of the Paleocastro fortress dates back to this period, built on previous cyclopean walls still visible, and under which it is believed there may be an acropolis. It became a possession of the Knights of St. John in 1309, remaining there until the fall of Rhodes.

From 1523 until 1912 the island was subjected to Turkish domination. The Italians occupied the island from 1912 – 1943 until its occupation by the German forces. With the Treaty of Paris of 1947, the Dodecanese was ceded to Greece, which officially annexed it on 7 March 1948.


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 a medical center. Fishing and farming are among other resources of income.


Leros is an island where you have the feeling that time moves at a different pace. Away from the crowded tourist destinations, you will live an unforgettable experience, because even today life in Leros is a true and authentic adventure.

The island is a constantly changing landscape. Contour with strong marine dismemberment that forms deep windward shelters and large bays in many of its parts.

At the same time, Leros has many attractions that bear witness to the rich history of the island. The Castle of Panagia, built in the eleventh century, dominates the mountain Apitiki above Platanos and directly opposite is the key highest point of the island with a panoramic view. The war museum of Leros is located in Merikia built inside tunnels of the Second World War.

On the beaches there are plenty of tamarisk trees that offer shade to vacationers. There is even a small river that starts from the Imerovigli hill and goes out into the gulf of Gourna.

Leros fascinates with its unique natural beauties but also with the options it offers for activities and entertainment.

Main villages and towns

Agia Marina

agia-marina The 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.


platanos-leros Platanos is located between Agia Marina and Panteli. In the center of Platanos is Roussou Square, which has a plane tree in its center. The tree used to be big and there was also a tap but it dried up and in its place there is a relatively new tree. Right on the Square is the town hall of Leros built in neoclassical style from the beginning of the 20th Century.

Next to the town hall was the Club of Leros which remains closed, it would be a good idea for the Municipality of Leros to undertake the reopening of this beautiful building.

Around the square you will find many shops such as Phylakouris photography, Mallorca cosmetics, the Leros press center with newspapers, magazines and the OPAP office, two steakhouses, grocery stores and butchers, the National Bank branch, the Tahliabouri supermarket, the Platanos coffee shop and cigarette stand. Next to the supermarket is the taxi rank and opposite the bus stop.

From Platanos, two roads lead to Agia Marina, the first and central one is two-way and passes by the Leros High School, the primary school and the Archaeological Museum of Leros right next to the Primary School.



Panteli is the most traditional village of Leros, within a few decades the small fishing village was transformed into a modern tourist resort. Modern hotels and apartments as well as mini markets and shops with mainly tourist products.

However, what attracts the tourists to Panteli are the fish taverns and cafes or bars next to the beach, from where in the evening you can enjoy a snack or a drink with a view of the sea. Panteli beach is relatively small, but it offers good infrastructure with umbrellas and sunbedsand is always full from locals and tourists

Despite the tourism, Panteli has not lost its traditional appearance as a fishing village, the fishermen still tie their nets next to their boats and in the mornings in the cafe of Juma they gather for coffee and conversation. Fortunately , the Municipality has prohibited yachts from mooring at the dock of Panteli, which is the main anchorage for fishing boats.


lakki The large bay at Lakki is one of the deepest natural harbour in the Mediterranean and, it must be said, probably one of the dullest. Occupied by the Italians for 30 years before the 1940s, Mussolini had plans to turn it into an Italian flagship city for his Greek ’empire’.

They created the grandiose town of Portolago, now Lakki, and erected wide, boulevard streets, impressive parks and bombastic buildings in a blend of Art Deco and Bauhaus dubbed ‘Rationalism’ by the showy Fascist regime.
Although individual buildings have some architectural interest, but the overall impression is of a large and empty shopping precinct.

A long promenade, wide enough to host a military parade, runs the length of the shore and sports eucalyptus trees and ornate lampposts, ending in a large yacht marina.
Bizarre grandeur is in monumental evidence at the old cinema, currently being restored with EU grants after being heavily bombed in Word War Two.

In 2005, the Leros War Museum was opened in nearby Merkia inside an old tunnel dug by the Italians in World War Two. There are many items from the battle of Leros including guns, helmets, bombs, uniforms and photos.

A couple of small beaches lie around the bay at Koulouki and at Merikies but they are mostly stone and have no facilities, although they are popular with locals and easily reached from Lakki. A couple of cantinas provide the basics.
Also near Lakki is the temple of Agios Iiannis Theologos, which dates from 1000 and is one of the island’s more noteworthy churches with some astonishingly good 11th century mosaics.


xirokambos-leros In the southernmost part of the island, 7 km from Agia Marina, one comes across a small seaside settlement, in front of which opens the bay of Xirokampos with the small islets, Glaronisia, securing its entrance and opposite, at a distance of one nautical mile, Kalymnos stretches out.

The houses of Xirokampos are scattered in a small valley, planted with olives, cypresses, almond trees and many flowers. In the distance the landscape becomes uphill and at the top of the hill, at a height of 70m, is the Paliokastro or castle of the Lepidos, older than the Castle of Pantelis.

It is built on the ruins of an ancient acropolis, which dates back to 2,500 BC. and flourished in the 4th BC. century. Today there are ruins of its walls, but also remains of a large early Christian church.


partheniParteni is a historical place, known since antiquity. Here it is said that there was the sanctuary of the Virgin Iokallida (Artemis) and from there Partheni got its current name.

In the archaeological site of Parthenium there are the ruins of a prehistoric settlement of 3800 BC, and recently the ruins of a temple belonging to the Hellenistic period were discovered.

In the wider area is the church of Agios Georgios (10th century AD) built with ancient materials, possibly from the ruins of the temple of Artemis.

The airport of Leros is located in Partheni as well as the second largest marina of the island. Near by is the beach of Agia Kiura and the beach of Blefuti

Leros beaches ↗

Leros has 77 kilometres of coastline indented with huge lake-like bays and tiny secluded coves. There are long sandy beaches well served with all the usual tourist facilities but it’s still possible to find tranquil spots far from the madding crowds. .

Places to visit ↗

Leros is an island still not very touristy, quiet, full of the real atmosphere of Greece of the past. It is ideal for a relaxing holiday in contact with nature and traditions. The main things to see and do on the island are listed here

Where to stay ↗

The island of Leros is not yet very touristy but there are still several hotels or small apartments and usually conducted at a family level rooms to let and studios.. There is also a camping site in Xerokampos on the island.

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 and paths on Leros . 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 of-leros There 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.

beaches of-leros Panteli: 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

leros foodThe 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 in Leros

leros-diving The island of Leros is a diving paradise and there are some 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

ferry to leros Leros 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.

Getting to Leros from abroad by train or by car

How to get to Leros
In case you travel by train or car via Italy you can get the ferry from several Italian ports (Ancona, Bari or Brindisi). The poert of call is Patras, from there you can drive to Piraeus and get the ferry to Leros.

Travel information

When in Leros you ask information about island hopping and tickets at the  travel agency Aegean travel. It is 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