Much of this island is quite green, with expanses of pine, eucalyptus, stunted oaks and olive. The island is blessed with a superb climate, as attested by the riot of flowers bursting out from balconies and backyards. A must-see is the new Tunnel Museum at Merikia, with finds from World War II, when many battles raged round the strategically-placed island. The tunnel itself was dug by the Italian Army before the war and used as a bunker during the hostilities. Now it’s one of the world’s more distinctive war museums. Panaghia Castle on top of Apityki hill 1,000 feet above sea level contains a 7th century BC tomb.
In the north is the church of Aghia Koura, with icons painted by prisoners exiled to the island during the 1967-74 dictatorship. At Xirokambos, a small seaside village 6 miles south of Aghia Marina, there is a scuba diving school. Then there’s the fascinating story surrounding the little church of Panaghia Kavouradaina nestling in a fold of the seaside rock near Xirokambos. According to legend, a fisherman looking for crabs found an icon of the Virgin Mary in the rock fissure where the church stands now.
Call at the Castle of Blades, or Paleokastro, also near Xirokambos, built on the ruins of an ancient citadel dated to 2,500 BC and flourishing as late as the 4th century BC. The Beleni Tower at Alinta is a wonderfully-restored mansion that now houses the Leros Folk and Historical Museum. Panteli by the sea has pretty houses and seafront tavernas ideal for a light meal and an ouzo to wash it down.
Today Leros gives one the impression of being one of the last small paradises left the visitor who is seeking rare and untrammelled natural beauty. A serene beauty, which rests the spirit and the senses together in an environment full of harmony, so hospitable it feels intimate from the very first moment. Discover it! Important defensive works were carried out and military installations built with the idea of turning Leros into an Italian naval base. A new town was created at Lakki. Many buildings were pulled down in order that new ones could be built in their place, with architecture unique in all of Europe at that time.
Virgin Mary (Panayia) of Kastro
The island’s castle – kastro Panteli – stands at the top of Pitiki Hill at approximately 200 meters above sea level.
Temple of Artemis
Next to the airport of the island visitors may visit the archeological ruins at Partheni. A goup of churches built on top of Roman structures was discovered in excavation in the 80s.
The Tunnel War Museum
A must visit museum, unique in its nature, displaying significant exhibits for World War II. In the 1930’s the Italians fortified the naval base of Leros building the largest underground complex of warehouses and workshops for making arms.
The Church of the Virgin Mary (Kavouradena) at Xerokambos
This very picturesque little church located in the village of Xerokambos is said to be the most beautiful of all churches of Leros. Built into the rock formation of the coastal sea where according to legend a fisherman was fishing for crabs when suddenly he found the icon of Virgin Mary.
The castle of Lepidon, or else Paliokastro , is built on ruins of a Cyclopean wall construction dating back to the Hellenistic period.
The Archaeological Museum
Fine exhibits and artifacts can be found in the modern Archaeological Museum dating back to the islands pre-historic period and up to the medieval times.
The Historical and Folklore Museum is located in the tower of Belleni. There visitors can find costumes, needlework, ecclesiastical wood carvings, dating back to the historical period from 1880 to 1920. Many other exhibits worth seeing are the life of the activist Kyriakos Tsakiris, the Battle of Lesvos and the sinking of the torpedo vessel Vassilissa (Queen) Olga and many – many other exhibits.
Festivities and Local Traditions
The Alonaris Festival which takes place every July at Gourna, Leros.
Tourist Info Office at the port of Lakki, Tel. 22470 22937
Police Station at Lakki, Tel. 22470 22222
For emergencies, dial 100.
Hospital – the medical center is in Lakki, Tel. 22470 23251, 22470 22988.
Pharmacy in Lakki, Tel. 22470 23782.
Port Authority on the quay, at Lakki, Tel. 22470 22224.
Official website of Leros: www.leros.gr