They say that time goes slower in Leros. This laid-back island in the Dodecanese may not have a UNESCO-listed medieval town like Rhodesor or a spiritual and mystical aura to it such as Patmos, but it has a nonchalance and a je-ne-sais-quoi that makes it a refreshing haven for those looking to disconnect from their busy lives and recharge. Don’t expect big museums or archaeological wonders in Leros – spared from mass tourism, it’s an ideal location for practicing mindfulness and simply relaxing. Here are the best things to see and do in Leros.
Known as one of the best restaurants in Leros, Mylos is located next to an old mill by the sea in the harbour town of Agia Marina. This quaint, family-run business has been around for decades but its charm and appeal remain the same. Appearing to be floating on water, Mylos is a delicious fish restaurant worthy of an awarded address in the Greek capital. Serving freshly caught fish and other delicious seafood, the restaurant has several creations that surprise visitors (we recommend the tuna tartare). Simple, warm and delicious, Mylos is definitely one of the island’s top spots.
Located north of Platanos, the beach of Dioliskaria is an unspoilt sight to admire. With crystal blue waters, gold sand and small pebbles, the beach is surrounded by vegetation that contrasts the colour of its water. Hardly crowded, this beach is perfect if you are looking for seclusion and relaxation away from the crowds. But don’t fret, it is located near several tavernas and restaurants.
One of the most beautiful villages in Leros, Agia Marina is known for its traditional houses spreading from the port to the foot of the neighbouring hill. Boasting impressive mansions, boutiques and little cafés that create a meander of narrow alleys, Agia Marina is certainly worth exploring. The Bourtzi, right at the entrance of the harbour, stands over the little town, while it is dominated by the Castle of Panagia, built on top of the Apitiki hill, which offers fantastic views to the sea. The waterfront is where you will find bars and cafés, as well as little shops where you can pick up handmade crafts.
Perched on Apitiki hill, the Castle of Panagia was built in the 11th century. Subsequently occupied by the Saint John’s Knights, the Ottomans and the Venetians, the Byzantine fortress is home to the small ecclesiastical Museum of Panagia, where you can find icons, manuscripts and a small collection of historical books.
Throughout centuries, the seabed around Leros has accumulated historical memorabilia waiting to be explored. Under its clear waters lies plane and boat wrecks that you can discover during a diving session. The Hydrovius Diving Center, located in Krithoni near Agia Marina, is fully equipped to take you on an underwater adventure. If you are a beginner, you can take part in a discovery dive or snorkel your way around the seabed.
On days where you are craving something sweet, we highly recommend visiting Sweet Leros 1897, a quaint place located after Panteli beach. This little pastry shop serves the best galaktoboureko you will ever try – it’s simply a must-see. You will also find a number of local delicacies and sweets, such as loukoumades and homemade liqueurs. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Leros is certainly one of Greece’s well-kept secrets. It may not have a lot to impress, but it certainly has a distinguished charm that draws visitors back summer after summer. If you are simply looking for a relaxing retreat in the Dodecanese, then surely Leros is what you need. We guarantee you will be coming back for more.