Leros in Greece
Leros belongs to the Dodecanese islands and is located between Kalymnos and Lipsi. It is a small island with an area of only 54 km2, compared to Rhodes with its 1,401 km². In terms of number of inhabitants (7,900), Leros is placed on the fourth place of the islands in the Dodecanese, only Rhodes, Kos and Kalymnos have more inhabitants. The highest mountain is named Klidi (320 m) and lies above Alinda.
Four nice villages in the same picture: Panteli, Platanos, Spilia and Vromolithos.
That it is a small island with a large population have a great importance for the few tourists who choose to spend their holiday on Leros. I write few, because there are not many who travel to Leros. I do not know why Leros do not attract foreign tourists. However, many Greeks travel to Leros. It is also important for us who like to travel to Leros.
Vromolithos is a small village with beach and a taverna.
The formula is as follows: large population + many Greek tourists + few foreign tourists = very good Greek food. I have been four times on Leros, and I have never been disappointed in the food, rather the opposite is true, I have been pleasantly surprised each time. There are restaurants that are so excellent that they are worth a long detour, even from another islands. If you enjoy Greek food you will for sure love Leros.
All restaurants on Leros serve incredibly good food. Like Ouzeria Dimitris O Karaflas in Spilia.
Not everyone loves Leros despite the good food. I know people who do not like Leros at all, and I know people who love the island. Those who like Leros do it enormously, few other islands have such fanatical fans, and many of them go to Leros several times a year. Some stay for a long time, some so long that they finally settle down.
Actually some Swedes lives on the island. Also I like the island very much. That the food is fantastic means a lot to me since I am childishly fond of Greek food, I also like that the island is so Greek and that people are so extremely hospitable and friendly. Another reason is that one of my favourite Greek villages - Panteli - lies on Leros.
One can not write about Leros without mentioning the Finland-Swedish author Göran Schildt and the Swedish authoress Sun Axelsson. Both have lived on Leros and written books about their lives on the island.
Göran Schildt (1917-2009) is best known for his travel books about sailing with his sailing boat Daphne as he sailed with for over ten years. He has written a number of books from his voyages. My favourites are In the Wake of Odysseus (1951), The Sea of Icarus (1957) and Dianas ö (1976) (the book do not seems to have been translated into English, a direct translation from the Swedish title would be Diana's Island). Dianas ö is about Leros. Göran Schildt came with his wife Christine to Leros in 1965 with his sailboat Daphne. They immediately fell for the island and bought an old house (Villa Kolkis) in the village of Spilia above Panteli. They lived here for about seven months a year until the death of Göran in 2009. Villa Kolkis remains and is owned by Christine Schildt.
Blefouti beach is in my opinion the best beach in Leros.
Göran was of bad repute with some of the islanders when the book Dianas ö was released. Some Greeks considered themselves insulted, and various threats were delivered to the couple Schildt. It was so serious that they were thinking of selling the house and leave the island. Today it is no one on Leros who dislikes Göran Schildt. For example he was appointed as honorary citizen in 1997. The street leading up to Villa Kolkis are going to change name (or have changed name) to Göran Schildt's street. Since 2010 an annual regatta is arranged in his honour.
Sun Axelsson (1935-2011) lived on Leros in the 1960s and 1970s with her husband, the sculptor Michael Piper. Her book Eternity ends was written a few years after her husband passed away, and was published in 2001. It is a tender description of love for her husband and Leros. The book is set during the rule of the military junta. Leros is called Eoneos in the book. I can highly recommend this absolutely amazing book.
You can read more about Leros via the links at the end of this page.
A very short summary of the information comes here:
It is possible to go on a package holiday from some countries, check with a travel agency in your country. If you are travelling independently, it's best to go by air to Kos or Samos. There are two ports on the island: Lakki and Agia Marina. There is also a port in Xerokampos where a boat goes to and from Kalymnos. Leros also has a daily flight from Athens.
Many of the villages are built together. Agia Marina is joined with Platanos, which in turn is built together with Panteli, which in turn is grown together with Spilia, which ends where Vromolithos begins. Other villages are Lakki and Xerokampos.
The long beach in Alinda.
The island's beaches are of good quality, but do not expect to be met by long paradise beaches with powdery white sand. The water is however absolutely wonderful. My favourite beaches are Blefouti, Alinda and the beach at Panteli. Other beaches include Agia Kioura, Dio Liskaria and Gourna.
There are many interesting sights. Church of Agia Kioura, Church of Panagia Kavouradena, Castle of Panteli, War Cemetery and War Museum must be seen. However, Diana's temple near the airport is not much to see.
Most hotels and pensions are in Alinda and Panteli. There are also accommodations in Platanos, Vromolithos, Xerokampos and Lakki. If you want some nightlife choose Alinda or Agia Marina, if you are looking for peace and quiet, choose Platanos or Panteli and if you want it to be even quieter, choose Vromolithos.
READ MORE ABOUT LEROS
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