Leros is a picturesque destination with a diverse landscape, ranging from serene anchorages, rolling hills, fragrant pine forests, and verdant olive groves, to sprawling low-lying plains and glistening freshwater streams. This island's rich history dates back to the Neolithic era, and its cultural heritage is evident in the ancient Christian settlements that once dotted the coast during the 5th-7th centuries.
The Crusaders held sway over Leros from 1309 to 1522 before it was annexed by the Turks, who in turn lost it to Italy in 1912. The Italians recognized the island's strategic significance and made the most of its natural harbor. In 1948, Leros was finally integrated into Greece and became a place of exile during the civil war and dictatorship that followed from 1967 to 1974.
Today, Leros covers an area of 54 km2, has a stunning coastline stretching for 71 km, and is home to a friendly population of 8,500. Visitors can reach the island by ferry from Piraeus, the islands of the North and East Aegean, and various Dodecanese islands, including Rhodes. Additionally, Leros is accessible by plane via Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport, making it a convenient destination for travelers from around the world.
Leros Island is the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway or a chance to explore a hidden gem, and visitors will not be disappointed by the charm and beauty that this island paradise offers.
History of Leros island
The alluring island of Leros boasts a fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Its strategic position was crucial as far back as the Peloponnesian War, and it was integral to the fate of the Dodecanese islands throughout the Alexandrine, Roman, and Byzantine eras.
Leros also played a pivotal role in European politics during World War I, as the island was occupied by Italian forces. However, it was during World War II that Leros truly became a battleground. In fact, it was the second-most bombed island during the war, and the dramatic Battle of Leros in 1943 left an indelible mark on the island's history.
Even today, remnants of Leros' storied past can be seen throughout the island. From ancient ruins to Italian-era architecture, visitors can immerse themselves in the island's rich cultural heritage and discover the many tales that have shaped its history. Despite its tumultuous past, Leros has emerged as a peaceful and welcoming destination that is beloved by travelers from all over the world. Come and explore this island paradise, and discover the captivating history and beauty that Leros has to offer.
Sights - what to see in Leros
Leros Island is a treasure trove of historical and cultural sights that are sure to captivate any traveler. The island's striking mansions, such as those found in Platanos and Alinda, are a testament to its impressive architecture, with the Beleni Tower standing out as a must-visit attraction. The tower has been transformed into a folk museum that showcases many fascinating exhibits from Leros' rich and tumultuous past.
The charming village of Ag. Marina is another highlight of Leros, boasting numerous buildings from the Italian era and a magnificent medieval castle. Meanwhile, Lakki is a poignant reminder of the island's remarkable history, with numerous Italian-style buildings, including the Theater and the Officers' Club.
The Ag. Marina Castle and the Virgin of the Castle Church is one of the most impressive castles in the Dodecanese, and visitors will be awestruck by its grandeur. A line of windmills, some of which have been converted into residences, leads the way to the castle and the monastery, where a legendary icon of the Virgin Mary can be found.
One of the most unique and moving sights on Leros is the Underground Tunnel War Museum in Merikia. The museum is housed in a renovated tunnel that was built by Italians in the late 1930s to hide their ammunition. Today, it offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into the island's rich history.
Whether you're a history buff or simply looking to explore Leros' many sights and attractions, this island paradise has something for everyone. Come and discover the captivating beauty and cultural heritage of Leros for yourself.
The stunning beaches of Leros
Many breathtaking beaches, each with its own special charm and personality, can be found on Leros Island. Visitors can visit Panteli beach, which offers welcoming surroundings and appealing waves, for a genuinely magnificent experience. Vromolithos beach is a great choice for families looking for a lively yet tranquil setting.
Alinda Beach, which has stunning houses bordering the coastline, has a vibrant atmosphere for those seeking a more cosmopolitan feel. For those seeking a more tranquil getaway can visit the lovely "Panagies" chain of bays or Gournes beach.
There are several sunken shipwrecks on Leros' seabed that are just waiting to be discovered, making it a true wonder. These wrecks offer an exhilarating journey for divers and snorkelers alike and offer an insight into the island's rich maritime past.
Leros Island has a variety of beach experiences to choose from, no matter what you're looking for. This island gem is a refuge for beach enthusiasts of all stripes, offering everything from serene coves to bustling waterfronts.
Tradition on Leros
Due to the abundance of fresh fish and locally cultivated vegetables, Leros Island has a long tradition of delicious cuisine. Tourists are urged to sample the marinated fish and sea urchin salad, as well as the well-known "pouches" filled with marzipan and chocolate pie or the delicious "patsavouropita" from the island's famed pastry shops.
On the island, numerous yearly celebrations take place to honor the saints, with the most prominent one being the Virgin Mary's August 15th festivity. Additionally, Alinda arranges marine competitions and merriments in remembrance of the Queen Olga's sinking on September 26th.
Leros houses an assortment of stunningly picturesque churches, such as the pious Monastery of the Virgin Mary of the Castle, Saint Isidoros, and the Virgin Mary of Kavouradaina. These modest yet captivating places of worship allow visitors to catch a glimpse of the island's extensive religious and cultural legacy.
Leros Island caters to gastronomes and culture enthusiasts alike, ensuring an unforgettable experience. Discover the island's vibrant customs and savor the local cuisine firsthand!