Agia Marina with the characteristic flour mill, Pandeli with the Medieval Fortress, Lakki with the Neoclassical architecture and Alinda with the relaxing beach atmosphere provide nice places for long promenades.
All around the island, you will also find lovely beaches to enjoy a day in the sun. Alinda and Vromolithos are organized, while you will also find many secluded beaches to enjoy total privacy. Sightseeing worth to visit is the Medieval Fortress above Pandeli with strong walls and the breathtaking view to the Aegean Sea. Close to Lakki, there is also a War Museum housed in a real old tunnel of World War II.
According to mythology, goddess Artemis was the protector of ancient Leros. Archaeological findings have proved that the history of Leros started in the Neolithic Period. Its first inhabitants were the Carians, Leleges, Phoenicians and Minoans. Then, the island was conquered by the Dorians. Leros flourished culturally during the 5th century, when various philosophers and scientific brought an intellectual growth to the island. After the Persian Wars, the island united with Athens and became a member of the Athenian Alliance.
The forces of Alexander the Great passed through it during the period of the Macedonian Empire, as testify various findings. During the Byzantine Period, various magnificent churches and Byzantine monuments were built on Leros, from which some can still be admired today. The Knights of Saint John of Rhodes conquered the island of Leros in 1314. They exercised their tyrannical power on the inhabitants until 1523, when they were beaten by the Turks, who took control over the entire Aegean. Despite the Ottoman yoke, the island managed to keep a kind of autonomy. When the Greek Revolution of 1821 started, the inhabitants of Leros were part of the first to rise up against their oppressors. Despite the Greek Revolution, the London Protocol gave back the islands of the Dodecanese to Turkey in 1830.
From 1912 to 1943, the italians took over and fortified Leros. They used it as their main naval base. They carried out important defensive works and created a new town at Lakki. The Germans came to Leros just after the Italians. From the 12th to the 16th November 1943, the Battle of Leros took place. In fact, a war memorial stands in Lakki for the attack of the Greek submerger Vassilissa Olga in the port. The island of Leros was liberated by the Greek Navy but then, the British occupied the island for two years. Leros, with the rest of the Dodecanese, eventually became part of the Greek State in March 1948.
Museums - Archeological
Leros is home to have many historical sites but the its rich history is well-guarded in the local museums. Of unique interest is the Archaeological Museum of Leros, located in Agia Marina. There guests have the chance to admire some exquisite findings that depict the various historical periods of the island (Hellenistic, Geometric and Classical period) including inscriptions, marble columns, mosaics and vessels.
It is worth to see the Bellenis Tower, the two-storey stone building which blends the medieval and neoclassical elements in Allinda village. Today, it houses the Historical and Folklore Museum of Leros, an ideal place to get a taste from the traditional life of Leros in the old days through a great collection of items from World War II and the local tradition the island, furniture, embroidery, musical instruments and pieces of wooden sculpture. Portraits and a great photo archive can also be viewed.
The War Museum of Leros pays a tribute to the history of the island during the World War II. Those who visit the museum, in Lakki will live a unique experience walking the dark corridors of the tunnel where the museum is housed. Guns , bombs and various documentation are in display.
The Ecclesiastical Museum of Leros which lies within the fortress of Panagia brings light into the ecclesiastical aspect of the island. The museum introduces a unique selection of Byzantine icons, manuscripts and vestments as well as some ceramic vessels and statuettes from the archaeological collection.
Alinda beach, Agia Marina beach, Blefoutis, Dioliskaria, Gourna, Ksirokambos, Merikia, Tonnys, Vromolithos
Religious Monasteries and Churches
During the Byzantine period many Christian churches were founded in Leros. Of unique interest is the church of Agia Paraskevi which was the old Metropolis of the island. It is found on the edge of the settlement, close to a path that leads on top of the castle.
Around the capital of Leros, in Partheni quarter lies the early Christian vaulted church of Agios Georgios. Within the walls of the medieval castle in Chora, stands the church of Our Lady of the Castle famous for the miraculous icon. It was built in the 10th century and hosts an ecclesiastical museum with valuable icons and frescoes.
In the village of Lakki, in the middle of a pine tree forest lies the Monastery of Agios Ioannis which holds significant historical interest. Other churches in Leros are those of Agia Marina, Agios Isidoros and the church of Panagia Kavouradena.