LEROS



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Leros - general

LEROS
Leros has peacefulness, beauty and a wide variety of interest for its modest size. These qualities have for long passed unnoticed because of a number of preconceptions stemming from the recent history of the island which have tended to cloud its image. As a large naval and military base for the Italian occupation during the years between the wars; as a place of exile and reclusion for political prisoners under the Colonels’ Junta; and as a centre for a series of mental institutions and hospitals that have been the object of shaming criticisms of misconduct and inhumanity in the last 20 years, Leros still struggles hard to overcome a dark reputation. It is therefore all the more surprising to discover that it is such a radiant and gracious island—a coastline of magnificent bays, a handsome chora dominated by a dramatic castle, a number of interesting museums, early rural churches, and villages that burst with flowers and trees amidst a landscape of rocky hills. Extraordinary and unforgettable, is the island’s principal harbour, Lakki­—an evocative assemblage of architectural forms and ideas, created in one of the most complete examples anywhere of so-called ‘Futurist’ or ‘Rationalist’ planning. What it evokes—Italy’s imperial aspirations between the Wars—may not delight, but its historical and aesthetic interest cannot be denied. Although now rather ruined and neglected, the wide sweep of buildings on the harbour’s waterfront, from Elementary School to Customs House, is worth the visit to Leros alone to see.
   Leros feels like, and is, a compact island, and its short distances can be covered easily on foot. With a deeply indented coastline, varied vegetation, and a stimulating combination of different kinds of architecture, there is al ways considerable visual interest, and little real ugliness, on the island. Its Ancient and Early Christian remains, whose effect depends more on setting than on content, are largely undramatic, while monuments from an unexpectedly different quarter can sometimes speak more eloquently: the unique murals by political exiles of Greece’s Military Junta in the late sixties in the remote chapel of Aghia Kioura, are a good example. Leros rewards exploration that is unhurried and, above all, open-minded.


Leros Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.


access

Leros Island, Greece.

By air: Leros has a small airport at the north end of the island (12km from Lakkí), to which Olympic Air operates a daily (morning) summer service. There is also a flight three times weekly to Astypalaia, Kos and Rhodes.
By boat: Two main ports are used on the island: the daily services by catamaran (Dodecanese Express), and four times weekly by car ferry (F/B Nisos Kalymnos) that ply the route between (Rhodes, Kos) Kalymnos and Patmos (Samos) call at Lakki; from the same port there are late-night ferries to and from Piraeus, four times weekly.
The faster Flying Dolphins on the routes linking the Dodecanese Islands, use the port of Aghia Marina on the east coast of the island: these run daily in summer only. There are also local services to Lipsi and Pat mos from Aghia Marina, and from Xerókambos to Myrtiés on Kalymnos. The latter is worth taking simply for the beauty of the scenery along the way.

Leros Travel Guide

eating

Leros Island, Greece.

Some of Leros"s best eating places are mezé tavernas, serving a wide variety of small dishes to be taken together with an ouzo or wine.
The mezedepoleion "Dimitris" has the most imaginative selection: it is signposted from a bend on the main Lakkí Aghia Marina road above the north end of Vromólithos Bay, and is hidden away beside the steps that lead down from the road. It has a terrace with a pleasant view.
To Koulouki, beside the shore at Koulouki Bay, just to the southwest of Lakkí, similarly serves hot and cold mezé on a peaceful terrace. For a shore-side setting of great beauty and for good quality fish,
To Kima, on the eastern side of Xerókambos Bay is a reliable taverna.
Locals, especially on Sundays, like to eat in the bay of Pandéli (south of the castle). There are three fish restaurants here; of these, Patímenos, is the most original and thoughtful in the presentation of its dishes, as well as the least expensive. But the liveliest experience and best value is represented by the small café, which produces a remarkable variety of mezés—situated in the tiny "square" just in from the shore at Pandéli, where the one-way system turns sharply back up to Platanos and Aghia Marina.

Leros Travel Guide

lodging

Leros Island, Greece.

One of the dozen nicest places to stay in all the Greek islands is on Leros, and is to be recommended above all else: the *Hotel Archontiko Angelou (T. 22470 22749 or mobile 6944 908182, www. hotel-angelou-leros.com) in Alínda is a fine 19th century neoclassical mansion set in its own gardens a little way back from the shore. The rooms are comfortable and beautifully appointed without being over-decorated, the breakfast is excellent, and the setting in every way a delight. Price is moderate: a rental car is advisable.
At the southern end of the island, in Xerókambos, the studio-rooms at Villa Maria (T. 22470 27827) are very simple indeed, but are given life by the burgeoning flowers all around: the lodgings are peaceful, inexpensive and pleasant.

Leros Travel Guide

practical info

Leros Island, Greece.

85 400 Leros: area 54sq km
perimeter 82km
resident population 8087
max. altitude 326m.
Port Authorities: Lakkí, T. 22470 22224
Aghia Marina, T. 22470 23256.
Travel and information: Lakki, Aegean Travel, T. 22470 26000, www.aegeantravel.gr
Aghia Marina, Kastis Travel, T. 22470 22140, www. kastis.eu

Leros Travel Guide

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