Leros paths and trails

Hiking and walking paths of Leros

The smoothness of the terrain of Leros makes every walking excursion enjoyable. The Municipality took care of highlighting the most important paths, most of which are marked and equipped with gazebos for rest. Beyond their natural or archaeological interest, several routes are related to the island’s military history during the Second World War.

Path to the the Castle of Panagia

To get to the Castle of Panagia of Leros, if you like romantic walks, you will leave your vehicle in the parking lot of Platanos and go uphill from the neighborhoods of Platanos to Agia Paraskevi. From there you will follow the path with about 500 steps.

You will walk through the beautiful alleys of Platanos and Agia Paraskevi and from the point where the settlement ends you will go up the hillside, smelling the thyme, alousfakia and other herbs.

In Apitiki you will see artillery and barracks buildings. The view as you climb compensates you for the fatigue you may feel. The Lerioi make this ascent on foot, when they make a request to Virgin Mary.

Arriving at the Castle gate, you will feel like you are passing through a time portal to another era. If you let your imagination run wild, you’ll see the knights and Lerian residents guarding the battlements from enemy raids.

Path from Lakki to Xirokambos

Leaving Lakki behind we take the direction that leads to Xirokampos and reach Temenia. There was the industrial zone, while today the PPC building (formerly SIER) is located.

Right next to it is the site that once housed the Dogliani gas plant. Immediately after was the Italian Pengo carpentry, which had the unique machine for cutting and processing wood. The Catholic cemetery was also nearby.

Today it functions as an Orthodox church while some Italian graves remain. Leaving behind Temenia, we reach Lepida and we see on our right the psychiatric hospital, which was once built to house the Italian Gulio Rosseti airbase (seaplane base).
You can see the impressive buildings and one of the two cranes that once lifted the seaplanes to land.

The three large seaplane hangars no longer exist, one of them is actually located today in Tatoi, Attica and houses the aviation museum. When we leave the gate of the State Spa on the right and continue the road towards Xirokampos, we meet the settlement of Sfakia, and on our left an asphalted road, which leads us to Mount Tsigounas.

There are the barracks buildings of artillery 113 as well as the engine room for the generators. As soon as we meet the first houses of Xirokampos (shortly after the church of Agios Vlasis) we find the sign pointing the way to Paleokastro. The climb to Paleokastro will lead us to prehistoric times (remains of the “cyclopean wall”).

At the same time, it will guarantee us a visit to monuments of historical and at the same time religious interest, such as the chapel of Panagia and the ruins of the early Christian basilica.

Inside the citadel, the ancestors of today’s Lerians ran to protect themselves from raids. Continuing the road towards Xirokambos, we will meet the village church, Agios Fanourios, through which a road leads to Mount Skoubarda to the artillery barracks buildings 262 and to Agios Georgios.

The road is paved only at the beginning of the route. Whoever climbs to the top, will be dazzled by the magnificent view of the entire island and will feel one with the Aegean. You will also be able to see the historical buildings, dating back to the 2nd World War. Descending the Xirokampos road towards the beach, we pass through the village.

The road continues to Diapori – Turtouras and the photoelectric station FT3. The route is paved up to the small church of Panagia Kavouradaina, where we can stop to visit it. From Diapori to the artillery barracks 281 and 388 we will have to go on foot, because there is no road access, but it is worth the effort, because in the barracks buildings of the artillery barracks you can still see wall paintings made during the occupation period.

Path rom Lakki to Patella

On the way to Patella, a route that offers a lot of information about the military organization of the Italians on the island, we first pass by the monument of the destroyer “Queen Olga”, on the beach of Lakki.

To our right we see the building of the Italian Naval Administration with the large warehouse next to it. Almost immediately after there is the YNTEL building and the residence building of the Commander of the Naval Base (the last commander, Admiral Mascerpa, also lived here).

The buildings in Gonia were the first to be built, before the city of Lakki, but continued to be built later. To our left we can see the wharf that ethe torpedo boats (and today it is used as a marina). Directly above, at the top of the hill is the anti-aircraft machine gun (airphone) base.

After passing Gonia, through a pine wooded area we meet Koulouki and Merikia. The large underground ammunition depots and workshops are abandoned there. Here we will meet the famous War Museum “TUNEL” which exhibits war objects, photographic and audio-visual material from the “Battle of Leros”. The war museum is the first step in highlighting and promoting the history of the island.

Continuing we reach the mouth of the natural harbor, Cape Katsouni, where we will see the barracks buildings, the engine room that pulled the anti-submarine net and the pillar that wrapped the cable with the various barriers that closed the entrance to the bay. Here one can see the gun mounts of the 250 and 227 artillery and the half-demolished observation post.

Returning to the main road and continuing we reach the Ducci artillery where we come across some buildings, one with armored windows and doors. The signs of the blasts are obvious. Continuing we reach the top of Patella. In this area was once the administration and coordination of the entire anti-aircraft system.

It also had aerophones for spotting planes with observatories under the command of Vice-Captain V. Spigai. Today the roof of the observatory is demolished. There are the remains of a large and a smaller airphone. There are also barracks and administration buildings.

From Lakki to Partheni

On the way to Platanos, at the height of Agira, we come across a road on the right, which if we follow it, we reach the Vigla area where artillery 306 is located. It is one of the most impressive fortified positions on the island. There are the entrance tunnels, the gun emplacements and the barracks building.

If we turn left at the height of Agira, we reach Agios Nikolaos the Poor. There is the Italian wireless with three towering antennas and their building, which today is open and abandoned.

From Agira turning left we reach the position of Rachi where the positions of the 211 artillery can still be seen. Continuing the beautiful route from Rachi we will reach Kamara and Alinda.

In Alinda, it is worth visiting the folklore and historical museum “Manolis Isychos” in Pyrgos Belleni, which is the only museum of recent history in the Dodecanese. Leaving Alinda and heading towards Partheni, in the areas of Kamara and Smalou we will come across some of the Italian warehouses that are still in use today.

Immediately after, a dirt road leads to artillery 906 in Diplogourna, with a barracks building where frescoes and inscriptions can be seen on the walls. In the Markellos area are the remains of the artillery, Farinata.

Arriving in Partheni, we will see many military buildings which are still in operation today, but entry is prohibited. In the dock, the rails for the wagons that carried the mines and torpedoes can still be seen. Continuing, we come across the port of Rina.

The small battle ship Ivorea had taken refuge there, which was discovered and sunk by the Germans. A small section escaped the breakup and lies half-submerged near the shore.
We can still distinguish the lines that tied the ships and remnants of the anti-submarine net. Moving towards Bluefoot, on the hill are the remains of the 888 Artillery.

At Cape Asfougaros the 899 artillery was located, the building is preserved on the facade of which there is the inscription “Siamo orgogliosi di occupare un posto di combattimento, di sacrifici e di dovere”, meaning “we are proud to be in a position of battle, sacrifice and duty” .

Immediately after is the bay of Vagia where the Germans landed, after the battle of Leros. Opposite the islet of Strogyli, there is a German landing craft submerged at a depth of six meters.

Also in the places of Agios Polykarpos, Agios Spyridonas, Gerakas, Kleidi, Thymari and Fakoudia, as well as in other places you can visit other artillery stations, several of which also have murals from that era.