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Leros looks like a piece from a jigsaw searching for home. The text-book Cycladic island has its obligatory port (oddly enough, usually at sea level) and its Chora on the nearest convenient hill-top, ideally overlooking the port. In fact Leros has two ports – charming Agia Marina on the north coast facing Lipsi and used by most of the hydrofoils and catamarans serving the Dodecanese; and Lakki on the south coast, a huge natural harbour where the big ferries linking Piraeus to Rhodes call. That made it a valuable base during the Italian occupation for the Italians before and during WWII as is immediately clear from the nondescript architecture of the place with a rather out-of-place Roman bureaucratic style seemingly the main ingredient. Stick to Agia Marina if you can.
Leros differs from most small Greek islands in that it has about a dozen villages dotted round its gently sloping scenery (most on one of the six deep bays which give it its jigsaw aspect) The island is thoroughly Greek, with most summer visitors coming from Athens – it has a small airstrip for domestic flights but cannot take foreign charters; and it has plenty of life in winter as well as in summer, so it’s a good choice for an early or late holiday with little danger of everything being closed.
The capital, Platanos, is a buzzing little town dramatically set on a ridge with steep descents on one side to Agia Marina and on the other to the mini-beach resort of Penteli, which almost links with the long sandy beach of Vromolithos. Above it, in a commanding position on a promontory, stands the ruined Castro from which there are breathtaking views to surrounding islands as well as over half Leros itself. There are good beaches all round the island, easily reached by bus, taxi, scooter or even one of the motor boats for hire on Alinda Bay.
Good ferry connections make it easy to combine Leros with a stay on Patmos, Lipsi or Kalymnos. Kos is the convenient gateway airport for charters.