Introduction to Leros, Greece
Leros is one of the many islands on the Aegean Sea.
Although it is considered to be a Greek island, it is much closer to Turkey than it is to Greece.
In fact, it is over 300 km from the port of Athens in Piraeus. It is a beautiful tourist destination that is often underrated.
Its breathtaking coastline offers tourists a breath of fresh air.
Anyone looking to relax, unplug from the world, and escape to paradise should travel to Leros, Greece, for their next vacation.
Best of all, it is easy to visit Leros.
Leros history is rich as it dates back centuries like the other Dodecanese Islands.
Leros is part of the 12 islands collectively known as Dodecanese.
These beautiful islands are scattered on the southern part of the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey.
To the north of Leros is Lipsi; while Kalymnos is to its south. The capital of Leros is Platanos. Its elevation is from zero to 320 meters.
One of the things that makes Leros unique is that it has a touch of Italy.
Back in 1912, the Italians conquered the entire Dodecanese Islands for its strategic location and deep waters.
They did so except for one during the Libyan War with the Ottoman Empire, now known as Turkey.
They held onto the island for 31 years before relinquishing it back to the Greeks.
In that period, they had transformed the island, especially Laki, with their architecture and influenced their way of life.
Today, Leros combines the Greek and Italian lifestyles to produce a unique way of life.
Before You Go: Travel Insurance
When planning a trip to Greece and the Greek Islands your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.
Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well.
Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Greece.
Unfortunate things do happen. Especially when you least expect it.
Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Greece.
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How to Get to Leros
There are two main ways on how to get to Leros – by air and by ferry –, largely because of its geography as an island.
Not so long ago, barely 30 years ago, Leros was not a destination for tourism. In fact, it was lost among other islands in its region.
But the locals were determined to bring it to life and wanted to share its hospitality with the world so they built an airport, which began operations in 1984.
The airport has since served as an open door to the world.
The fastest way to get to Leros is by air. The Leros airport (IATA code: LRS, ICAO code: LGLE) has three names.
It is called Leros Municipal Airport, Leros Public Airport, and, simply, Leros Airport. Its elevation is almost at sea level.
It rests at a mere 12 meters above sea level in the city of Partheni, Leros.
This makes flight approach, landing, and take-off an exciting experience for passengers.
Passengers will get to enjoy the view of the blue seas and the sudden transition from sea to land.
The two main airlines that operate the flights to Leros daily are Sky Express, with destinations to Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, and Olympic Air, and Olympic Air, which operates to and from Athens.
Take an international flight to Athens then join the Athens to Leros flight to complete your connection.
The alternative means of getting to Leros is via the Leros ferry. The travel time on the Athens to Leros ferry is about 8 to 10 hours.
The ferry originates from the Port of Piraeus.
The main carrier here is the Blue Star Ferries, which operates about 3 to 4 times per week. Be sure to check their schedule online.
The ferry travels past several islands, and from Leros, you can explore up to eight Dodecanese islands by the ferry.
Where to Stay in Leros
The accommodation options in Leros vary based on lifestyle, as there is something for everyone in Leros.
All the accommodations are usually spacious and clean because the Greeks pride themselves as neat, organized people.
Most of the homes in Leros, as with other Greek islands, are white in color.
This maintains the look and feel of cleanliness.
The white homes coupled with the blue seas is an expression of their love for their country as blue and white are their national colors.
The fresh, cool colors help you relax on your vacation.
The main accommodation options are Airbnb and hotels.
Aside from cleanliness, another unique feature these accommodations usually have are large windows or some form of open space on the balcony or frontcourt.
This is common among most Greek homes to allow for the flow of fresh sea breeze.
Regardless of what choice of accommodation you go for, you will get to enjoy fresh air and have a relaxed stay in Leros.
This is the most recommended Leros accommodation.
Airbnb offers a variety of options that provide guests with a comfortable home-like experience.
Check out the Airbnb website for booking Leros accommodations.
The most popular options listed on the website are studios and apartments that can be found by a simple search using the keywords ‘studio Leros’ and ‘apartment Leros’ on Airbnb.
- Paradosiako Angelou Studio – 1 Bedroom/ 1 Bath (Budget)
- Villa Via Savoia – 3 Bedrooms/ 3 Baths (Midrange)
- Atlazia Family Resort – 2 Bedrooms/ 1 Bath (Midrange)
- Pirgaki (within Caslte Vigla Resort) -2 Bedrooms/ 1 Bath
Most of the Leros hotels can be categorized as affordable, luxurious, or comfortable and can be found in these towns: Agia Marina, Alinda, Vromolimnos, Laki, and Panteli – with the first two being host to most of the hotels.
If you would like to combine comfort and luxury, then try out the small, modern, stylish Leros boutique hotels in town.
Bookings can be done online as well.
- Tony’s Beach ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Leros Princess ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Nefeli Hotel Leros ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Crithoni’s Paradise Hotel ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
Things to Do in Leros
Leros has quite a lot to offer. Rich in history, it has museums to take you back in time.
The museums are packed with artifacts that are hundreds of years old and are well-preserved.
Still on the side of history, Christianity played a significant role, and as a result, it is home to some of the most fascinating churches and monasteries.
And of course, a Greek island would not be complete without its famous beaches. Leros has five beaches worth checking out.
The Ecclesiastical Museum
Visit this museum located inside the Fortress of Panagia. The museum displays manuscripts, old wooden utensils, and other archaeological assets.
Visit the Bellenis Castle on your day off and have a tour of one Greece’s most beautiful castles. It is located in Alinda. It was built with stones and it only took one year (from 1925 to 1926) to complete.
As the name suggests, this museum is all about Leros’ history with World War ll. You will find bombs, old guns, and other weaponry displayed here.
The Greeks started press printing as far back as the 15th century. Visit this museum to see the old machines they used from the 15th century through to the 19th century.
Take a walk through the narrow alleys of this beautiful city, just a few minutes away from the capital city, Platanos. This city offers a lot of accommodations and activities that cater to tourists.
Port of Leros, Laki
Just 4 kilometers from Platanos, the Port of Leros in Laki is the main harbor for all sea traffic on the island. The harbor is the hub connecting the other Dodecanese islands and the Cyclades on the Aegean Sea.
Bay of Xirokampos
This bay has a refreshingly beautiful soft-pebbled beach filled with Tamarisk trees. Take a rest on your day off here.
Castle of Panagia
Strategically placed on the Apityki Hill, this castle offers a 360-degree view of Agia Marina, Platanos, and Panteli. It is the most visited place in Leros. Take a tour back in time to the 11th century here.
Fort of Virgin Mary
Also on the Apityki Hill is this fortress that dates back all the way to the 7th century. There are archaeological evidences like tombs and settlements that tell the stories of ancient Leros and their connection to the Virgin Mary.
Monastery of Panagia Kyra
This is translated to Our Lady of the Fortress. It is located in the Fort of Virgin Mary. The monastery is like a museum with old manuscripts and bowls, among other items, used for baptism centuries ago.
Church of Christ and Stavros (The Holy Cross)
These churches are located in the capital city. They are very old yet very beautiful and well maintained. The Greeks surely have a deep connection to Christianity.
Church of St. John Evangelist
Check out this unique church with outstanding mosaics designed back in the 11th century. It is located in the Port of Laki.
Church of Panaghia Kavouradena
This small, attractive, and charming church is located near the village of Xirokampos. It was also built into a rock formation by a fisherman who believed he saw the Virgin Mary on the rock while fishing for crabs.
Leros has a few beaches worth checking out.
- Partheni – this small beach is more or less a fisherman’s playground. It is a pebbled beach with almost no sand.
- Blefounti – this clear-watered beach is suitable for swimming and relaxing under the Tamarisk trees. Watch out for small boats though.
- Agia Marina – this popular beach has many accommodations and restaurants around it. It is perfect for relaxing if you love taking short walks home or going for swims.
- Kokali – Kokali Beach is located in the north. It is one of the more popular beaches, which makes it ideal for meeting new people.
- Ayia Isidoros – also one of the more popular beaches, it is located in the western part of the island. It makes water sports a little more fun.
Getting Around Leros
Due to its small land mass, getting around Leros is quite easy.
The roads are quite wide for cars and buses unlike some islands in the Dodecanese.
The main means of transportation are by car, bus, and taxi.
You can pick up taxis at the Leros taxi station near the port.
Alternatively, if you are on a budget, you can use public buses to get around.
The buses shuttle between the cities of Platanos, Agia Marina, Xirokampos, Laki, and Alinda.
For convenience in Leros, rent a car instead.
There are rental services in the Platanos that require an EU driver license or an international license.
Best Time to Visit Leros
Like most of the Dodecanese Islands, the best time to travel to Leros is around mid-March to early August. Although the summer time in July gets really hot up to 89.6°F (32°C).
Apart from the Leros weather, May to early August is also when the island gets crowded with tourists. For a peaceful experience, visit either from March to early May or from late August to late September.
Overall, Leros is a beautiful island. With plenty of things to do, affordable accommodation and food, plenty of places to visit on this small Greek island, and amazingly friendly locals, Leros makes for a perfect destination for your next vacation.
Its rich history helps take you back centuries in time.
The breathtaking beaches allow you to relax and get away from your daily routine.
Leros is truly a gem in the Aegean Sea.
Interested in visiting the Greek islands? If so, be sure to check out my full collection of Greek Island Travel Guides.
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