A dreamy Greek island that is simply made for yachting, Leros has a peculiar shape that creates several stunning protected bays. Situated in the northern Dodecanese archipelago, this scenic oasis might remind you of a picture-perfect postcard from the 80s with beautiful towns, family-friendly tavernas, numerous anchorages, sparkling beaches, and mysterious landmarks.
Home to the largest and safest natural harbor in the area, Leros oozes an aura of laid-back luxury, ideal for those looking for a relaxing stopover during their charter cruise.
Just a few miles away from the spiritual Patmos, you’ll find this unique island famous for its unique geographical relief that forms dozens of hidden coves and small hills. Thanks to its protected harbors, Leros enjoyed a privileged status in history, being a strategic point many rulers desired to conquer since antiquity. The Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans have all left their mark in the bustling culture of this Agean Paradiso, creating a superb blend of eclectic architecture.
As you stroll through the cobbled port towns and gorgeous villages, you’ll be seduced by the traditional “nisitika” music and local dances that capture the joyous mentality of the residents. Dance the nights away and spend endless days swimming and bronzing in this enchanting island - you might even want to prolong your stay.
Best towns to visit in Leros
A colorful settlement that, along with Agia Marina and Panteli, constitutes the capital of the island, Platanos will leave you spellbound with pastel-hued neoclassical buildings, labyrinthic alleys dotted with charming shops, and kafanias, and viridescent surroundings. The main attraction of the town is the 11th-century Byzantine fortress. Perched high on a hill above Platanos, the Castle of Panteli affords the best views and sunsets of the island and serves as a time capsule of the town’s rich history. On your way down from the castle, you’ll find yourself in the maze of old streets sprinkled with traditional churches - the first one is the church of the Holy Cross, found just beneath the fortress, and a bit further on, the Agia Evangelistria.
A lovely town surrounded by the bluest harbor you’ll come across, Agia Marina is one of the most popular resorts in the region that attracts visitors with traditional architecture and translucent seas. The port is dotted with sublime seafood restaurants where you can take a break and enjoy the soothing views of yachts coming in and out, while those interested in exploring the sightseeing attractions should pay a visit to the Bourtzi Castle. Located just at the entrance of the harbor, this Byzantine fortress was built on the ruins of a Roman settlement and is now one of the most photographed landmarks in Leros. To enjoy panoramic views of the azure bay and the gorgeous village, climb to the Apitiki hill to visit the Castle of Panagia. The impressive sight is located on the highest point of the island and was used as an observation point for the Knights of Saint John and different rulers of the island. Here, you’ll also find the Agia Panagia chappel, which features a miraculous icon and the Ecclesiastical Museum with a broad exhibition of religious items.
As one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean and the main one in Leros, Lakki is the yachting capital of the island and has an aura of under the radar glamour. An essential stop of your luxury charter cruise in the Aegean, the marinas here offer elite services and many anchorages to choose from. Thanks to marvelous neoclassical architecture, stylish Venetian villas, and glittery seas, Lakki is considered to be one of the most beautiful Greek villages ideal for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation. If history sparks your interest, make sure to visit the majestic War Museum and Memorial. Here, you’ll see a display that tells the story of the island’s 30 year old fascist occupations, with a display dedicated to the weapons of mass destruction in a large tunnel constructed by the Italians in World War II.
Situated in a natural bay of Agia Marina, the popular resort town attracts visitors with blooming nature, crystalline seas, and historical landmarks that will keep you busy both on land and during cruising. The most captivating sight is the neoclassical Belenis castle, founded by an affluent family in 1925. Inside, you’ll find the Historic and Folklore Museum of Leros and a courtyard with flowers, olive groves, and pine trees. To get some insight into the rich spiritual life of the island, visit the Monastery of Agios Sofronios, which enchants even non-religious explorers or Agios Isidoros where you’ll find ruins from antiquity scattered across this intriguing church that rises from a minuscule island in the turquoise bay.
This crescent-shaped village with a millennia-old fishing tradition might remind you of Santorini because of the antique windmills hidden on the tall hill, next to the medieval castle of Panagia, a popular sunset-watching point in Pandeli. The picturesque village owes its popularity to the verdant landscapes, a multitude of secluded coves, and steep hills that are a hiker’s paradise. The waterfront promenade is ideal for a stroll on a balmy afternoon and homes dozens of traditional taverns and shops where you can get some retail therapy and buy souvenirs.
Best beaches in Leros
Aside from the most popular beaches in Alinda and Agia Marina named after the villages, this Dodecanese island will spoil you with options for swimming and tanning. Just 3 kilometers southeast of Pandeli, you’ll find this family-friendly cove perfect for a beach day with little ones. Several tavernas offer complimentary parasols and refreshments, and Vromolithos is well-organized yet never overcrowded.
A tranquil beach with a retro look, Blefoutis is where you should go for a serene day of swimming and snorkeling without too much distraction. Surrounded by gorgeous nature and transparent seas, this beach is a great option for those who like to enjoy privacy and seclusion.
An Eden-like haven where you can enjoy the limpid seas and shade from the majestic pine trees, this sandy beach is one of the cleanest on the island. The impressive contrast of greenery and blue seas creates a soothing atmosphere, while nearby, you’ll find bars, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy some cocktails during your beach day.
One of the most scenic coves in Greece, Ksirokambos boasts long stretches of golden sand, dozens of small caves, and a gorgeous Church of Panagia Kavouradena that overlooks the blue seas. Nearby, you can visit the ancient Paleokastro castle - the oldest one in Leros, which rises 70 meters above the sea and provides panoramic views. The water here is very deep and great for scuba diving or snorkeling. For an added thrill, you can test out your luxury charter yacht’s water toys and explore the aquatic world in a new way.
Best restaurants in Leros
Skipper's All Day Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Fine dining made accessible to all - Skipper's has a cool concept that offers culinary masterpieces for ridiculously low prices. Perfect for a family lunch or a casual outing with friends, this restaurant has a wide range of mouthwatering dishes with a creative presentation. Located in the Marina, Skipper’s has gained a cult status in Leros and is famous for the best cocktails you’ll fin on the island.
Dimitris o Karaflas
A seaside taverna with the best views of the electric-blue bay, Dimitris O Karaflas is where you go to experience the best of traditional Greek cuisine. The terrace offers some of the best sunset vistas over Panteli, and the menu has all the authentic dishes you can wish for. From the delicious pork shank to marvelous seafood, each meal is cooked to perfection and paired with aromatic local wines or raki.
A sublime beach taverna in Panteli, Zorbas is a great option for a romantic dinner or a family lunch where you’ll get to indulge in freshly caught fish and seafood, prepared in a traditional way, but with an innovative twist that will convince you to rebook a table for tomorrow.
Fishtavern Restaurant Gourna
A hidden jewel on Gourna Beach, this tavern resembles a hip Caribbean eatery in the 70s and offers a spectacular atmosphere where you can easily spend the entire day. With mouthwatering seafood dishes and a wide offer of both local and foreign wines, you’ll probably remember your lunch long after the vacation is over.
Sweet & Salty Leros
If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure not to miss this fantastic spot in the capital of the island. The family-owned restaurant and deli offer the best homemade desserts that anyone with a sweet tooth will enjoy. Make sure to try the loukoumades, honey and cinnamon doughnut rolls, or the bergamot almond balls. Established in 1897, this dessert shop is almost like a museum and has a chic traditional ambiance with a blue-white palette ideal for a break after a long stroll through Panteli. If you’re trying to avoid candy, you might enjoy the cheese and spinach pie or one of the liqueurs prepared after a recipe that’s been kept in the family for generations.