Leros (Λέρος in Greek) is a beautiful island in the South Aegean that belongs to the prefecture of the Dodecanese . It lies between Patmos and Leipsi to the north and Kalymnos to the south. It is also 7 nautical miles from the coast of Asia Minor in Turkey. Leros covers an area of 53 sq.km with a long coastline of 71 meters filled with beautiful pristine beaches. Along the coastal areas many large natural gulfs and bays have evolved as a result of intense sea activity along its shores.
Thanks to sea’s intensity, Leros today is one of the last small, island paradises for all visitors searching for peace combined with a traditional way of life. It provides peace of mind and body surrounded by a wonderfully hospitable environment that will make you feel like your home right from the first moment.
Leros the last 10 years has evolved significantly in the tourism sector. The island has been enriched with new tourist facilities, marinas for yachts, tourist shops, football stadiums, bowling, playgrounds, shopping etc..
On the island there are two diving schools for those wanting to explore the rich depths of the island. For those who love sports there are two stadiums where you can play football, volleyball and basketball in Xirokampos and Laki, also in Panteli there is a playground and a small basketball court.
On the way to Laki at Vromolithos you will find a modern bowling and cafeteria.
For those who are fans of hiking the island offers many hiking trails passing through beautiful locations.
Several hotels organize island tours by coach. Cafes, restaurants and lovely bars you will find at all the beaches and tourist places of the island.
Also worth visiting are the island’s museums and the Byzantine castle. By boat you can explore the nearby islands such as Lipsi, Marathi, Arki and Aspronisia. The Barbarossa boat departs daily from Agia Marina at 11 am for excursions on those islands.
The enthusiasts of fishing will find their ideal element on Leros as well as the fans of snorkeling.
The quaint streets of Leros are also ideal for cycling and jogging.
Finally the Municipality of Leros organizes various events each summer with music, theater and traditional dance.
One of the most essential gulfs of Leros is Lakki, which is also one of the largest, naturally secure ports in the Mediterranean. During the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese, the Gulf of Lakki was used as a naval base because of its natural element. The other important gulfs are at Partheni with three successive creeks and another one at Belfouti. Both of them are protected from the north winds by the smaller islands of Stroggili and Archangelos that function as natural barrier. In addition, remarkable bays are Alinta, Xerokambos and Panteli. Also, there are beaches ideal for swimming, in smaller bays all along the coast.
The landscape of Leros has a rather soft texture with Skoumbardos at 327 meters as the highest peak, in the south. From north to south, the hills of Kasteli, Turloti, Katevati, Klidi, Patelos, Turturas and Vathia Lagadia unfold lengthwise. Low, flat areas and fertile valleys are formed among those hills. Because of the mild climate, the cultivation of a variety of fruit including citrus fruit and olive trees is extremely favorable.
In the central part of the island, two powerful communities have been developed. All public services are concentrated within these polar communities. The populated area at Agia Marina and Lakki are linked along the axis of the main road with the rest of the island. Agia Marina is the capital of Leros’s Municipality and has a detailed, street infrastructure uniting the neighborhood of Agia Marina along the northern coast of the central region, Platanos between Castle Hill and the Merovigli high-grounds to Panteli creek and the bay by the same name. Panteli has a remarkable harbor which is alternatively used when weather conditions do not allow for ferries to moor into the main harbor at Lakki.
Along the coastal zone of Agia Marina, there are numerous places for entertainment and along the axis of the main road there is a less developed center. Agia Marina has one of the island’s four Primary Schools, two Kindergartens, a Junior High School, the Cultural Municipal Center, the Archaeological Museum which is housed in a well-preserved, neo-classical Nobleman’s home, the Financial Services or the Revenue Building, the Post Office, Greece’s Telecommunications Organization, banks and the local radio and Police stations. The Public Services of Leros’s Municipality are established in the neo-classic building at the square. Although the building is strategically located at the town square, the building itself is insufficient to meet the actual needs. The Municipal Library and the Leros’s Historical Archives are housed in neighboring buildings.
The local shops cover the annual as well as the seasonal demands for both produce and merchandise. There are no public service offices in Panteli. Nevertheless, many restaurants and entertainment venues have been established along the attractive beach area. At the two ends of the settlement and in a very special natural beauty setting, there are some scattered homes and other residential units, and country homes can be seen at Krithoni and Vromolithos. Still, both regions are not yet included within the borders of the official city plan, despite the fact that these two areas are in the vicinity of the island’s capital. The second area is Lakki, where many developments that exceed the ‘local’ characterization are concentrated. The port at Lakki is the Leros’s most vital one and facilitates the transportation of both passengers and goods to and from the island.
Leros’s State Rehabilitative Institution provides high calibre medical services to all of its inhabitants. There is a wide range of established commercial enterprises as well as manufacturing businesses. These services concentrate the highest percentage of Leros’s workforce, daily. At the center of this Italian designed development, the following operations exist: Retail businesses, restaurants and recreational facilities, public and municipal services, the Port Police, Police, Leros’s Municipal Enterprise of Sewage and Waterworks, as well as educational institutions including two Kindergartens, a Primary and a Junior High School and a Technical College.
The most distant areas from the island’s capital are Partheni to the north and Xirokambos to the south. These communities are at the limit of the island’s road network. The homes in these areas belong to fisherman and show limited tourist activity. To the west at the Bay of Gourna is the village of Drimonas which belongs to the urban area of Lakki and is accessible by the northern road network.
In the soft, rolling hills to the north of Lakki, residential communities have been built at Agios Theologos and in the area of the Byzantine Church by the same name as well as at Kamaraki. These are the suburb regions of the Lakki area. Moreover, the settlement at Mili – Plaka is also developed but, it is a sparsely built area with a problematic formation and a lack of organization and infrastructure. These residential developments constitute the suburban territory of Lakki and depend on it for all their service needs and requirements.
Leros island offers a lot of unique routes and locations where you can visit either via car or boat. Below we present the most important excursions.
- Starting from Lakki, there are a lot of spots for relaxation, swimming, hiking and cycling towards the areas Merikia and Katsouni. In that area you will be able to find many isolated gulfs ideal for swimming, diving and fishing. Also, you will be able to observe the scattered remains of Italian buildings of World War II. At the heights of Gerakas and Patela, in Katsouni area, you will find the remains of the Italian fortifications and the bases of antiaircraft cannons.
- A popular area worth visiting is the Chapel of Agios Isidoros. This small chapel is located in a small islet that is connected to Leros with a long corridor built on the sea. From that point you can enjoy stunning views over the gulf of Gourna as well as towards the Aegean Sea. In addition, the area is recommended for those who want to enjoy unique sunsets.
- At the north side of the island, at Partheni area, there are a lot of places to visit. The most important among them are the ancient stronghold, which probably was the temple of Goddess Diana. At a southern point, at the area of Agia Kioura, do not forget to visit the famous church in which the wall paintings have been made by political exiles during the period of dictatorship in Greece.
- At the southernmost point of Leros, at the area of Xerokampos, a little Chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary is waiting for you. The Chapel is right next to the sea and built into the rocks. The name of the Chapel is Panagia Kavouradena. This excursion can be combined with a visit at the prehistoric sight Paleokastro that you can find at a height when entering the area of Xerokampos.
For those who have a boat, the island of Leros seems to be a paradise. This is because there are a lot of beaches with sea access only as well as a lot of islands and islets around.
- The island Archagelos is the biggest of the small islands around Leros. It is on a very short distance from Partheni area and is recommended for swimming and food.
- The islet of Agia Kiriaki has a small white Chapel on it. The Islet is just opposite the areas of Panteli and Vromolithos.
- The most famous beach with sea access only is called Krifos beach. It is located right next to Dio Liskaria beach. All around the island of Leros you can find a lot of isolated beaches with sea access only.
- For the small islands north of Leros i.e. Marathi, White Islands, Tiganakia and Lipsi there is an option of half-day cruise. The tourist boats are departing every day during summer season and each day the schedule is different.