Leros island in Greece is an unusual place, full of history and charm along with all the usual Greek wonders we’ve come to expect such as the crystal clear waters and beautiful stony beaches. Leros was missed off the list of tourist islands, so you won’t find crowds of people here, or even that many ‘attractions’. If you’re looking for something a little different from the usual circus of tourists Greece has to offer then Leros is the place to head!
About Leros Island
Leros island in Greece has an interesting history, shown through it’s unusual architecture (not to everyone’s taste but it’s something different!)
In 1912 the Italians took over the Dodecanese, and Mussolini poured money (and cement) into Leros to make it the navel base. Lakki town has a distinct feel to it, with broad boulevards, grand villas, apartment blocks and the 100 year old market place. The restored cinema is quite something too.
The second world war created derelict military buildings and tunnels in the cliffs, with amazing murals painted by the soldiers. Lakki bay is littered with the wrecks of many ships and warplanes from the Battle of Leros.
How To Get To Leros Island In Greece
One of the best ways to reach Leros island is by ferry. Lakki town has a large ferry port and you can reach it from Athens (Piraeus) or from some of the larger nearby islands like Kos or Patmos. You’re best off booking your ferry transport in Greece through Direct Ferries as it has all the different providers, times and prices under one search.
Although tiny, Leros conveniently has it’s own airport. Flights from Athens take only an hour and the journey is quite an experience, taking you over many of the little Aegean islands and showing off Greece’s glorious blue seas. It’s a small plane so it can be a little bumpy when the weather’s not perfect. The airport is in the north of the island, and there are usually taxi’s waiting on a flights arrival. There’s also car hire available here if you wish.
Where To Stay On Leros Island
There are two main places to stay on Leros: Lakki and Agia Marina. Agia Marina is arguably the prettier of the two, with some nice beaches and the castle overlooking the town, and it’s iconic windmills close by to visit. Lakki is an interesting place to visit but we wouldn’t choose to stay there again.
There are also some lovely options for places to stay in Leros in our favourite area, the quieter Alinda bay. It’s possible to walk from Alinda Bay to Lakki in about an hour and a half – this really isn’t a big island! So where ever you stay you’ll have a chance to explore if you fancy it.
If you’re here for a special occasion, or just want to treat yourself, then here is the place to stay. This luxurious hotel is right next to the sea and has an incredible swimming pool for hot summer evenings. The rooms are beautiful, as are the communal areas. It’s in a perfect location too, close to the pretty town and the castle. We didn’t get to stay long, but what we saw we loved! You can find out more information and prices here.
Opposite Agia Marina, just 100 m from Panteli Beach, Asterias is a great choice for anyone wanting to unwind. The property has a private set of stairs leading to the beach where you’ll find local tavernas, or you can walk easily into Agia Marina for a wider choice. You can find out more information and prices here.
We stayed in Marilen Hotel while we were in Alinda Bay and loved it. These self catering apartments are spacious and modestly decorated. The beds were comfortable and the views incredible.
It has a lovely pool, and be sure to ask the owner about his orange grove. It’s just behind the hotel and he’s happy for you to help yourself to fresh oranges during your stay! If you’re planning on saving money by eating in then this is the perfect option.
It’s only 5 minutes from the local supermarket and 10 minutes walk from the bay, with good swimming and spearfishing and some nice local restaurants. From Marilen Hotel it’s about a half an hour walk into Agia Marina where there are more options for dining out and shopping. You can find out more info and prices here.
What To Do On Leros Island In Greece
Explore Agia Marina
Agia Marina is perhaps Leros’ most beautiful village. Its traditional houses spread out from the little port, and the harbourside is lined with local tavernas offering a range of food. The best thing to do in Agia Marina is to simply wonder the pretty winding streets, dotted with boutiques and impressive hillside villas. The village is overlooked by the castle, which stands formidably on a hilltop and makes the village seem quite fairy tale like.
Admire the Castle of Panagia
You can’t visit Leros and miss out the castle of Panagia. Sat on Apitiki hill, the Castle of Panagia was built in the 11th century. Occupied by the Saint John’s Knights, the Ottomans and the Venetians, the Byzantine castle is quite impressive and full of history. It is now home to the small ecclesiastical Museum of Panagia, where you can find out more about the history through manuscripts and a small collection of historical books.
You can reach the castle by taking the stairs behind Agia Marina, or there is also a road for those with access to a car.
Walk Windmill Row On Leros Island In Greece
Along the road to the castle you’ll find some beautiful restored windmills that are now apartments. They make for an amazing photo, with beautiful views behind. They’re some of the prettiest windmills we’ve seen in all of Greece so tag them onto your castle visit, bring a picnic to enjoy on one of the many viewpoint benches and make a day of it!
Leros is a great place to go scuba diving due to the many sunken war planes and ships scattered along it’s sea beds. Hydrovius Diving Center located in Krithoni near Agia Marina has a great reputation and can organise day trips and try scuba courses for you. You can even take your Padi dive course here if you have the time!
Take A Walk On Leros Island
Take a walk on Leros island in Greece and you won’t be disappointed. There are views around every corner. Just pick a direction and disappear!
Delve Into The Past
The Port of Lakki and the surrounding area is a history lovers paradise with preserved coastal batteries like the Tunnel War Museum with it’s incredible paintings, and numerous barges, landing craft, airplanes and anti-submarine wrecks on the sea bed surrounding the island.
The Best Beaches On Leros Island
Leros has about 78 km of beautiful shoreline, full of little bays and coves with a mixture of sandy and pebble beaches. There’s more than enough beaches to keep you occupied for a whole holiday if you’re here to relax and we’ve listed some of our favourites below!
Alinda bay on Leros island is probably the most touristy of the beaches here, especially in the summer months. It has facilities for water sports such as windsurfing, canoeing and water skiing which all take place in the large, protected bay. The beach has several pines and tamarisk trees that offer shade and there are sunbeds and umbrellas to rent in the summer. The bay is surrounded by nice restaurants serving sea food and gyros.
Panteli Beach On Leros
Panteli beach is one of the most popular beaches on Leros. There are showers available here along with sunbeds and umbrellas. There is nice snorkelling on the rocks either side and some cafes too. This beach is a favourite with families.
Vromolithos Beach On Leros Island
Next to the bay of Pantelio you’ll find Vromolistos beach. From the steps to Panteli turn left on the road that goes to Vromolithos. If you are coming from Lakki turn right in Agyra towards Vromolithos. Again, there are sunbeds here and a few restaurants.
To the south of the island is Xirokampos. This beach is less well set up for tourists but it has a lovely rustic feel, with trees for shade and a couple of local tavernas. It is easy to walk here from Lakki and you can make a nice day out from there if you have the time.
Gurna Beach On Leros Island
The beach of Gournas in the northwest is a sandy beach. It’s great in good weather but can get pretty windy during the summer, Meltemi months. People come here to surf when the wind is up!
To the north of the island is Belefutis beach. It’s easy to find privacy here with it’s little coves a large pebble beach with several tamarisk trees for shade. If you go to the end of the beach you will find small coves where you will be completely alone.
You can get to the beach of Dyo Lisgaria by continuing along the coastal road of Alinda to the east. This is a small beach but it has a beautiful view to Agia Marina and the castle. There’s a nice little beach bar here and sun umbrellas too.
Where To Eat On Leros Island In Greece
Mylos restaurant has a big reputation among locals and tourists alike. It is located next to an old mill by the sea in the harbour town of Agia Marina. The family run business has been around for decades but it still draws the same crowds each year for it’s delicious seafood. Head here if you want something really special with true Greek charm.
For any vegetarians out there we found a hidden gem. Unfortunately we didn’t take down the name of this little gyros place, but it serves several awesome ‘quorn’ style gyros alternatives that were incredible and great value for money. Head to Agia Marina and walk along the harbourside.
There’s a row of several small cafes with tables along the water front and the kitchens on the street behind. It’s a modest looking take-away style cafe serving gyros, but take a look at the menu and treat yourself to the veggie alternative and you won’t be disappointed! They also serve amazing halloumi wraps!
As you can see, Leros island in Greece is the perfect place to escape it all, soak up the Greek sunshine and enjoy the very best of what Greece has to offer. Let us know what you think of this incredible island in the comments below, and help us out by sharing on social media if you enjoyed this read – thank you!