During the last two decades Leros has become a popular destination for alternative tourism as the island offers natural beauties, green landscapes, quiet gentle bays, history, beauty and friendly people. Despite the massive package tourism that have hit many other Greek islands, Leros island has managed to stay “unpoilt” and keep it's own traditional character. There is a a great variety of things to see and do and a life of its own quite independent of tourism. Althought it is housing a mental hospital for the most intractable psychiatric cases, an asylum for mentally handicapped children and a military base, Leros, the island of contrasts and harmony is definetely worth the visit!
The numerus bays and little coves offer an excellent selection of beaches. More specifically, you can swim in Ag. Kioura, Ag. Marina, Ag. Stefanos, Alinda, Blefoutis, Dioliskaria, Gourna, Kokkali, Kokkina, Koulouki, Krithoni, Kryfos, Lakki, Merikia, Panteli, Partheni, Rina, Vourlidia, Vromolithos and Xirokambos.
The MOORING place for charter yachts is in Lakki and Ag. Marina.
IMPORTANT FACILITIES for YACHTS AND BOATS ON CHARTER in Leros Island (Necessary needs and infrastructure for yachtsmen or generally for anyone who is on sailing vacation / yachting holidays onboard a sailing yacht or a motor boat).
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WATER SPORTS in Leros Island
Only the beaches of Lakki, Alinda, Pandeli, Vromolithos and Gourna offer various watersports facilities such as paddleboats, canoes, windsurfing and water skiing rentals.
SCUBA DIVING in Leros Island
There is only one diving centre (Leros Diving Center) located at the beach of Xirokambos which offers diving courses and underwater excursions.
RENT A CAR / BIKE in Leros Island (main town and port)
SUN RENTAL, http://www.sunrental.gr/
AVANTI S.A, http://rent-a-car-in-greece.com/leros/index.htm
HISTORY Information for Leros Island
The island of Leros has a rich historical past which has developed due to its strategic position in the S.E. Aegean. Although it was first inhabited during the Neolithic period, it wasn’t until the 6th century that Ionians came to the island and introduced Leros to the idea of trade and contributed in the creation of commercial, political and intellectual growth. The rest of the history is very similar to the history of the other Dodecanese islands with many conquerors such as the Persians, the Athenians, the Macedonians, the Romans, the Knights of Saint John of Rhodes and the Turkish. During the Byzantine Period, various magnificent churches and Byzantine monuments were built, some of which can still be admired today. Leros island was under Turkish occupation from 1821 to 1912 when the Italians (having aspirations on the Aegean and Asia Minor) appeared as a saviour for the islands and eliminated the Turkish fleet.The Italians turned the island into a main military centre, a base of operations (Lepida) and an arsenal by manufacturing important buildings: naval base, martial naval station, fortifications creating a new town at Lakki. After the Italians, the Germans took over the island followed by the British. The island was finally united with the rest of Greece in 1948.
MUSEUMS AND other interesting SITES in Leros Island
One of the most remarkable sites and the top attraction in Leros is the Castle of the Virgin Mary (Panagia Kastrou) that stands imposingly over the island's capital Platanos and dates back to the 11th century. Make sure you climb up to the castle to admire the panoramic views!! In Agia Marina you can visit the Brouzi, a Romanfortress built on the ruins of an ancient city, the Archaelogical museum and the Lighthouse. Also visit the Temple of Artermis (Goddess of the Hunt) in Partheni, the ancient churches scattered across the island and the distinguished neoclassical houses of the nobble that match with the white and blue traditional popular houses.
LOCAL THINGS & STUFF to check or BUY in Leros Island
Platanos is the main shopping centre of the island where you can find plenty of shops that offer a wide variety of goods and items such as fine traditional hand-woven fabrics, embroideries, ceramics, boutiques, fine jewelleries and tourist shops. Don’t miss out on the three traditional markets of Agia Marina, Platanos and Lakki are where you can buy fresh fish, fresh vegetables, fruits and tasty local products like honey, cheese and drinks.
While you are in Leros, make sure you try the local cheese called “mizithra” and “tsitsiri” (great meze for ouzo), the local soft drink “soumada” (made of bitter almond) and the “pougkaki” local sweet. Also for seafood lovers, don’t miss out on the fresh fish in local tavernas!