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Why Should I Visit Leros?

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Leros at a glance

Leros offers a simple but attractive combination of gently curving hills, green plains and orchards, and countless sheltered bays of crystal-clear blue water.

The most enigmatic of the Dodecanese Islands is a place of untouched natural beauty and a rich treasury of history and architecture. Evidence of some of the most fascinating episodes of 20th-century European and Greek history is all around, from the architectural utopia of Lakki, built during the Italian occupation, to the World War II wrecks of ships and aircraft which have remained in its waters since the legendary Battle of Leros. Truly cosmopolitan and genuinely hospitable, Leros is the ideal travel destination for anyone who wants to get away from it all in a place where nature and culture co-exist in perfect harmony. You can visit it by choosing a ferry ticket to Leros.

10 reasons to visit Leros
  1. To explore Platanos (the capital of the island) with its picturesque little streets, beautiful two-storey mansions, and the nostalgic atmosphere of a bygone age. Make a stop in the neighbourhood of Avlaki, where fountains flow with water from the Paliaskloupis spring, or enjoy a traditional fruit preserve with a cup of coffee on the town square.
  2. To discover the stunning seabed around Leros, an underwater spectacle of shipwrecks and World War II aircraft. They include the legendary Queen Olga, a destroyer in the British Mediterranean fleet sunk in Lakki harbour.
  3. To watch the sunset from the tiny church of Saint Isidore at Kokkali, built on a rocky islet connected to the land by a narrow causeway.
  4. To enjoy the sea views from the medieval Castle of Our Lady on Apitiki Hill in Platanos. The route to the top passes through the idyllic “Windmills” neighbourhood. 
  5. To take a day cruise to the tiny neighbouring islands of Aspronisia, Tiganakia and Marathi.
  6. To explore the fascinating War Museum, housed in a military tunnel at Merikia. The underground passageway, built by the Italians for the delivery of supplies during World War II, displays equipment, mementoes, and unique documents about the historic Battle of Leros.
  7. To visit the excellent Archaeological Museum, with finds and artefacts (including pottery, mosaics, and gravestones) from the Classical to the early Christian era. 
  8. To discover the unique history and architecture of Lakki, the largest natural harbour in the Mediterranean, with a town modelled by Mussolini’s architects on Italian principles of design. Explore the wide avenues and large squares to admire architectural treasures such as the seafront Primary School (1936), the cinema/theatre, Leros Hotel, the open-air market (1934), the Clock Tower, and the palacinos (one- or two-storey houses with round balconies and wooden shutters) where the Italian naval officers lived.
  9. To find out the unique history of the church of Saint Kioura above Partheni Bay, the church of political prisoners exiled by Greece’s military dictatorship. They included a number of artists who decorated its walls (1969-1970) with aesthetically unorthodox murals. 
  10. To visit the beautiful Historical and Folklore Museum in Alinda. Bellenis Tower (1925), where it is housed, is an elegant mansion combining a medieval fortified style of architecture with neoclassical elements. 
The top 5 beaches

Alinda: The most touristy beach on the island combines sand and shingle with plenty of tamarisk trees that come down to the shore. It has sunbeds and umbrellas, with opportunities for water-sports. There are also tavernas and hotels nearby. It is well-worth visiting if you choose one of the ferry tickets to Leros.

Pandeli: The island’s most famous and popular beach combines pebbles and sand, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of tourist amenities. It is ideal for families. After your swim you can enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat in one of the café-bars or restaurants of the area.

Vromolithos: A sandy beach with small pebbles, where natural shade provided by oak and tamarisk trees. It has sun loungers and umbrellas, as well as beach bars nearby. There are good views of the island of Agia Kyriaki.

Saint Kioura: Set in a beautiful little cove with crystal-clear turquoise waters, this shingle beach is especially popular with lovers of pristine beauty, despite – or perhaps because of – its lack of amenities. Get there early if you want to be sure of grabbing a spot. Access is via a dirt road that starts at the historic church of Saint Kioura.

Dio Liskaria: A small sandy beach shaded by fragrant eucalyptus trees, with crystal-clear waters. It has some amenities and is extremely popular, both because it is sheltered from the wind and because of the beach bars in the area.

Don’t leave Leros without…
  • Stopping for a coffee – or something stronger – at one of the bars in the cosmopolitan harbour of Agia Marina.
  • Visiting the enchanting Church of the Virgin Kavouradaina (“crabfisher”) in Xirokampos, which takes its name from an icon depicting a crab “embracing” Mary.
  • Enjoying a romantic bike ride along the seafront of Lakki.

 

Tasty experiences
  • Leros is famous for its cured fish. If you choose the ferry to Leros, be sure to try the salted mackerel, one of the island’s most popular delicacies.
  • Discover a paradise for seafood lovers with a huge variety of fresh fish and shellfish. Try koukouvades (fish fried with garlic and rosemary), grilled octopus, sea urchins, sea squirts, and mussels saganaki.
  • Enjoy goat in lemon sauce, cabbage-leaf dolmades, and pita bread with fava (split-pea puree).
  • Finish off your meal with a soumada almond drink.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with poungia (filo “purses” filled with bitter almonds), syrupy sfingi (doughnuts) and patsavouropita (a kind of cheese and yoghurt pie made with thick sheets of filo pastry).
  • Try gavafes (a Greek kind of guava), a tropical fruit that grows only on Leros and looks like a cross between a passion fruit and a dragon fruit. You can find it at greengrocers, or in spoon-sweet preserves and jams.
Trivia

Lakki, the famous Porto Lago of the 1930s, is a veritable open-air architectural museum, with stunning examples of Italian rationalism or internationalism, which is a mixture of art deco and Bauhaus. It is said to have the highest concentration of art deco buildings after Miami!​

MAP OF LEROS
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