Beautiful Leros is an island of 29 square miles, close to the Turkish coastline, offering peacefulness but with an enjoyable buzz.
Discover beautiful Leros, an island of 29-square miles close to the Turkish coastline. Peaceful and unhurried, there is nevertheless a buzz in the pretty towns and resorts. Numerous charmingly hidden-away sandy coves are to be found along the coastline, cafes and eateries abound, and the stunning marina lined with luxury yachts offers a touch of sophistication.
Who Holidays Here:
If you yearn for sunshine and relaxation in an authentic Greek atmosphere, but without sacrificing your creature comforts, Leros could be the place for you.
Arriving in Leros feels a bit like discovering a cherished Greek secret. The atmosphere is one of laid-back seclusion, but without the sense of it being a backwater. The picturesque resorts and in particular the pretty town around the port of Agia Marina is alive with good cafes and restaurants frequented by holidaymakers largely from other parts of Greece as well as wider Europe. The marina occupies an enclosed bay with a mouth only 500 metres across, one of the largest natural harbours in the Mediterranean.
Yet Leros remains unsullied by mass tourism. As one of the country’s richest islands, there has been no imperative to erect large hotels in as short a time as possible. Its horizons remain unbroken by highrise, though you may see a line of little windmills studding the skyline, or the imposing sight of the remains of a medieval castle of the Knights of Saint John believed to have been built on a Byzantine fortress; illuminated by night it sits like a glowing gold cap on the hilltop.
The beautiful green contours of Leros are lightly peppered with cubed white villas and holiday homes between small sandy coves, olive groves, figs, carobs, tobacco, fruit and grapes, and a fine marina. Travel the excellent roads lined with eucalyptus and pine, to discover the beautiful beaches and visit all the island’s resorts in no time at all.
If you venture north, the terrain becomes more rugged and windswept. Here you will find many small fishing villages, and the landscaped dotted with beehives. The unexcavated Temple of Artemis dating from the 4th century can also be found here.
Alinda, a small relaxed resort running alongside sandy Alinda bay with a few kafeneia and tavernas. This is one of the best beaches on Leros with shady areas and clear, gently shelving sea.
Pandeli is a picturesque fishing village with a well organised sand and shingle beach overlooked by a castle. Enjoy the sight of fishing boats bobbing on the sea, and the enticing aromas emanating from local tavernas and cafes. Nearby is Vromolithos with its beach and stunning views from the clifftop.
On Leros you will find many restaurants, fish taverns, bakeries and confectioneries with traditional Lerian sweets, coffee shops, discos bars and clubs. There is no shortage of traditional tavernas to enjoy the unrivalled deliciousness of authentic Greek cuisine. Try local fish dishes such as koukouvades, fish marinated with rosemary, fresh octopus on the grill, saganaki mussels, salted mackerel, sea urchins, fouskes and fish soup. Other tasty dishes are goat meat in lemon sauce, stuffed cabbage and the local mizithra cheese. There are a number of irresistible desserts which could be accompanied by diasogala, a sweet drink like the soumada, found only find in Leros. Make a night of it by visiting one of the many bars and nightclubs in the main resorts of Agia Marina Pandeli, Lakki and Alinta as well, enjoying live folk music, traditional songs, or european disco.
- Picturesque and relaxed setting
- Unhurried atmosphere
- Quaint villages
The main shopping centre is in Platanos: Fresh produce and locally produced goods such as honey and cheese, among other non-perishable goods can be bought at one of the island’s three traditional markets. These are at Agia Marina, Platanos and Lakki. There are also grocery stores surrounding the markets. For souvenirs, check out the local folk art shops for fine, traditionally hand-woven fabrics, embroidered goods and ceramics. Jewellery can be purchased in the boutiques round and about. You will also find alcohol, clothes and shoes imported from overseas sold at low prices.
Things To Do
Sporty action: There is a football pitch at Lakki and a basketball court at Pandeli. You will also find diving centres for underwater exploration. Give it a go!
Hiking: A good network of paths makes exploring the hills and fertile valleys or Leros a good way to spend a day or two.
Watersports: With deep, sheltered natural bays, such as the picturesque Lakki Harbour, a coastline 82 kms long and clear waters over volcanic rock, Leros lends itself easily to activities such as sailing, scuba diving, and windsurfing.
Go Fishing: Try your luck casting your line at one of the plentiful fishing spots on Leros. Hire a boat or hook up with one of the island’s fishermen for a real taste of the sea.
Things To See
Festivals: The traditional festival of Agia Marina takes place on 17th of July and the festival of the Virgin Mary on 15th of August. During the first 10 days of August, the popular Wine Festival is held in Xerokambos, while the Alinta Nautical Games also take place in August.
Lakki cinema: Chill out in front of the big screen in Lakki’s cinema, a preserved building simultaneously reminiscent of a stone amphitheatre and the vast Odeon cinema buildings of post-war Britain.
Archaeology Museum: On the road to Platanos near the Marina, this 19th-century building houses a collection of artefacts found on Leros and nearby.
WWII War cemetery: On the waterfront at Krithoni, neighbour to Alinta. Leros was the scene of some fierce fighting between British and German forces after Italy’s surrender. The cemetery contains the remains of nearly two hundred British and allied forces.
Temple of Artemis: On the marshy north coast of Leros, feel the touch of time when you visit this unexcavated site while Artemis was worship. To the south of the settlement Partheni, in the church of Agios Georgios evidence of a chancel dedicated to Artemis was found dating back to the Hellenistic Period.
By Ferry: Daily ferries connect Leros with mainland port Piraeus (about 8 hrs) as well as the other islands of Syros, Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos and Rhodes. The journey by ferry from Leros to Kalymnos is 1hr, to Kos 1,5hrs, to Rhodes 6 hrs and to Siros 5 hrs. Olympic holidaymakers will arrive in Leros by ferry from Kalymnos.
By Taxi: Low fare taxis are the main mode of transport on the island, though there is a bus service connecting the villages and the beaches, running from Platanos. Cars, scooters and boat are available for hire.