Greek Guide

Leros Island Greece Guide Leros

Leros Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Leros is one of the Greek Dodecanese Islands located in the Aegean Sea 295 kilometres south east of Athens and 95 kilometres north west of Rhodes. The island remains mercifully unscathed by mass tourism though foreign travellers are now starting to arrive here in increasing numbers. Local people proudly preserve their age old customs and traditions and their friendliness and hospitality towards outsiders have not yet been jaded by excessive hordes of holidaymakers. Come here for a relaxing sea and sun holiday on an island which offers sufficient sports and leisure facilities whilst retaining its essentially Greek character.

You can fly to the small airport in the north of the island via Olympic Airways which has daily flights to and from Athens. Regular ferries connect Leros with the mainland port of Piraeus (12 hours) and the other main islands on the north south route through the Aegean. Ferries arrive at the main port of Lakki in the south west of the island. In high season there are regular hydrofoil and catamaran services to Patmos (45 minutes), neighbouring Lipsi (20 minutes), Kos (one hour), Rhodes (just over three hours) and the North East Aegean island of Samos (two hours). The port of Agia Marina on the east coast is the arrival and departure point for fast boats.

Leros is a pretty, green island shaped like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle with four huge lake like bays indenting its 77 kilometre coastline. It's relatively flat with low mountains and plains reaching down to the sea (the island takes its names from an ancient Greek word meaning smooth and flat). The plains are peppered with pine, eucalyptus, oak and olive trees but there's little cultivated farmland as sailing and fishing have been the main occupations of the islanders in the past.

Tourism has not dominated the local economy here as it has on the more popular islands. After the Second World War Leros was used to incarcerate prisoners and psychiatric patients and a series of scandals about conditions in the local sanatoria kept foreign tourists at bay. A major injection of money, expertise and humanity into the psychiatric institutions helped repair the island's tarnished image. A greatly improved health service now generates a vital source of income for the island and international visitors provide a useful but not indispensable second string to Leros' financial bow.

The result is an island which has so far escaped the worst excesses of international tourism whilst offering sufficient holiday accommodation and facilities to satisfy those who shun the frantic party playgrounds of the better known islands. Here you can watch the fishermen spread their nets on the pier, join in one of the many local festivals and explore the ancient sites which give a glimpse into the island's rich history.

According to legend Leros was once the home of Artemis (Diana) the goddess of hunting and evidence has been found of human settlements here as far back as 8,000 BC.

The modern day visitor will find enough good beaches, watersports, fine restaurants and evening entertainment to make Leros a worthy Greek island destination.