Leros belongs to the islands of the Dodecanese and is located off the coast of ancient Ionia, between the islands of Patmos and Kalymnos. It has been connected with the cult of the goddess Artemis since ancient times, a goddess whose temple existed in the area of Partheni, in the northern part of the island. Small but strategic, in its turbulent history, the island has been conquered by Persians, Romans, Venetians, Turks, Italians and English before being annexed in 1947, together with the other Dodecanese islands, to the Greek state. Leros will enchant you with its natural beauty and its genuine greek atmosphere, it will generously offer you its warm smile and its cordial hospitality; an ideal destination for calm and relaxation, the island of Artemis is just waiting to be discovered by you!
Starting from Platanos and Agia Marina
Starting from the Town Hall Square which is just two minutes walk from the Maison des Couleurs, we propose you to explore the historic village of Platanos with its narrow streets that lead to the top of the hill and the Castle on the one side, and on the other they descend towards Agia Marina. If you head from the square to the church of Agia Paraskevi, the old Cathedral of the island, you will find the path that leads to the medieval Castle of Leros. The view from the castle is stunning, especially if you choose to visit it at dusk. Make sure to have a camera and good company with you and let yourself be carried away by the intoxicating atmosphere of the place. Agia Marina is ideal for strolling along the beach, where you will find a number of shops, coffee bars and restaurants. You may browse in the shops for works of local artists – clay, glass, wood, jewellery and more – and then go up the lighthouse to the fort Broutzi, where you will enjoy the lovely view over the picturesque harbour of Agia Marina and Alinda bay.
Time Travel: The architecture and history of the island
Wandering around the streets of the capital with its traditional island homes and the mansions with their spacious courtyards, one gets an initial overview of the island’s architecture. This walkabout deserves to be complemented with a visit to Lakki, the main port of Leros and the largest natural port of the Eastern Mediterranean, built in the ’30s by the Italians. This town has a special color, being completely different from the rest of the island, as it was built in the international style (a mixture of classic, neo-futuristic and rationalistic architecture that was prominent at the time). In particular, the architecture of the city is unique as only two cities around the world have been built in this way. Lakki of Leros and the city of Sabaudia of Italy. Along its comfortable streets you will see pine trees and a large number of the eucalyptus that the Italians planted and which, due to their necessity for water, served to dry the land in Lakki, which was then a marsh. Along its wide streets you will see rows of pine trees and monumental buildings with rounded lines that will remind you of times gone by. If you are interested in the rich military history of the island, you may start at the “Tunnel” war museum, which is situated in Merikia, where numerous photographs and remnants of World War II are exhibited. Continue with a visit to the Memorial of the historic destroyer Queen Olga in Lakki and the English Cemetery at Krithoni. You may complete your experience with a visit to the Beleni Tower where you will see findings from Q. Olga, weapons, maps and other impressive items. Explore the island’s history through exhibits at the Archaeological Museum in Agia Marina, the Ecclesiastical Museum at the Castle and the Folk Museum, which is also housed in the Beleni Tower.
Not to be missed…
The picturesque fishing village of Panteli is not to be missed. There you can taste fresh fish and seafood accompanied by fresh vegetables and local delicacies, while enjoying the lovely views of the islet of Agia Kyriaki opposite. While your delicious meal is being prepared, take a dip in the gulf’s turquoise waters right in front of you. A lovely path connects the southern end of the bay Panteli with Vromolithos, a great beach with lounge chairs, coffee bars and taverns with amazing appetizers. Head to Alinta and admire the lush landscape of greek-egyptian mansions that overlook the sea from the Kamara hill. Make a stop at the Panagies, the church inside the pine forest at the end of the village and rest in its yard. From there the road will take you to Two Liskaria, a very lively beach, mainly appealing to the younger crowd. If you feel like taking romantic walks, turn from Alinta towards Partheni and then go down to Kokkali. Walk from the end of the village to the church of St. Isidore, on a little islet just off shore, which stands bravely between the land and the sea. The road to Partheni will get you out to the northern tip of the island, to a beautiful bay, with Archangel island at its entrance. It is worth continuing to St. Kioura, an 18th century church, in which you will see religious murals made by political prisoners during the years of the oppressive dictatorship.
These and many other beauties are what Leros has to offer to the visitor.