Leros is ideal if you want to visit an island that is small, green, laid back, but full of history and cultural traces from different eras. If you are WWII history buffs you will find a lot of points of interest and exhibits (especially from the battle of Leros in 1943). The same if you are into modernist architecture (Lakki). It is also an ideal island to visit if you are travelling on a small motor or sailing boat, since it has a great marina and lots of natural harbors.
Enjoy the harbor , 9 a.m.
Take your first swim in Porcelana beach, a small hidden beach near the exit of Lakki harbor. The harbor of Lakki is the second biggest in the Mediterranean, it really makes you think you are around a lake. That is why it was given the name Portolago during the Italian occupation.
The guns of Navarone, 11 a.m
Did you know that the movie “The Guns of Navarone” waw inspired by the battle of Leros? After the early swim you can visit the Leros War museum in Merikia. The museum is hosted inside a tunnel constructed for defense purposes by the Italian army during WWII and it is a very interesting exhibit by itself.
Italian razionalismo in Portolago 2p.m. It is a rare example of Italian mid-war rationalism, a modernist movement rarely preserved outside Italy.
Τhe most prominent leftover of Italian occupation (1912 to 1943) is the town of Lakki. The Italians won over the Dodecanese islands from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. The physical harbor of Lakki was ideal to install a protected naval base to control their Mediterranean routes. Almost 7000 Italian men were serving in the island; therefore the Italians constructed a nearby town from scratch to serve their needs. This is the town of Lakki, named Portolago back then. The town is a unique urban complex including cinema, market, school, church, hotel and residences for the officers, from which a big number of buildings manage to survive intact. It is a rare example of Italian mid-war rationalism, a modernist movement rarely preserved outside Italy. It is really worth walking around Lakki and observing these architectural gems.
Seafood paradise in Gourna, 4 p.m.
Don’t miss fresh seafood plates in the Fish Taverna. You can sea local fishermen bringing in the food you will have in your plate half an hour later.
Traditional dessert while strolling in the narrow streets of Agia Marina, 6 p.m.
Agia Marina is the capital of the island. It is a traditional port village with great small mansions on the water and climbing over the hill. It is really worth to walk around the port and inside the narrow streets, but after you select a delicious dessert from “Paradosiako”, a pastry shop on the port of Agia Marina, whose young pastry chef does miracles!
Sunset view from Panteli Castle, 8 p.m.
It’s time to take the route from Platanos up to Panteli castle in order to enjoy a unique sunset view from where you can see the whole island. Panteli castle is a medieval defense fortress built in 11th century and used from Saint John’s knights in order to guard the island from foreign attacks. On your way up you will pass from inside the picturesque village of Platanos, among narrow streets, small patios and hidden churches.
Sunrise from Alinda beach, 6 a.m.
If you are not a morning type, forget about. However, if you can make it to the beach for the sunrise, the spectacle and the colors of the sun rising from the Aegean will leave you speechless.
The museum also inludes findings from the shipwreck of the Greek navy ship “Queen Olga”
Live the family drama in Beleni Mansion, 9 a.m.
The Beleni mansion hosts today the Leros folklore museum. However the family drama behind Parissis Belenis and his family, narrated by Eirini, the museum’s only staff member will transfer you to Leros inner social and political workings of the early 20th century, when Belenis came back as a wealthy and respected diaspora man from Egypt to create a summer house for his family and to become involved in local politics. The museum also inludes findings from the shipwreck of the Greek navy ship “Queen Olga”, which was bombarded by the Germans during the Battle of Leros.
Don’t miss a chance to eat a piece of patsavouropita from the Kamara local bakery, 10 a.m.
Aspronisia are two small rocks with white beaches in the middle of the sea.
Cruise in the White islands of the Aegean, 11 a.m.
Leros is surrounded by beautiful small islands with turquoise waters. Take “Barbarossa or “Agios Georgios” boat to Aspronisia, Tiganakia and Marathi. Aspronisia are two small rocks with white beaches in the middle of the sea. Tiganakia are the most beautiful parts of the Lipsi coastline and Marathi is a small island with seven inhabitants (a family of three brothers) that have a local tavern serving roasted goat meat by the coast.
Alternatively, if you are into diving don’t miss a chance to dive in selected areas inside the harbor of Lakki to explore old shipwrecks.
Visit the beautiful small church of Agios Isidoros from its trail inside the sea, 6p.m.
Last dinner in Mylos, 9 p.m
Mylos is a seaside restaurant with beautiful view on Agia Marina. The restaurant features greek fusion cuisine developed by the younger generation of its chefs. They serve both seafood and meat in imaginative plates for all tastes. After dinner walk by the trail next to the sea and have a last drink in Agia Marina, before you say goodbye to the island.