(Distance from Piraeus: 171 n. miles - Area: 53 km2 - Population: 8.136)
A generally mountainous island with deep bays often full of greenery, picturesque valleys and dented coasts and pretty beaches.
Lero's topography has given rise to many villages. Agia Marina, capital of the island, is united with Platanos and Pandeli, on the back side of the hill - a collection of little white houses, neoclassical buildings and narrow alleyways. It starts at the seaside and gradually climbs up the sides of the hill, whose summit is dominated by the sombre remains of the Franco - Byzantine Castle. Of special significance during Byzantine times, its shape is that given by the Knights of St John, who arrived in Leros in the 14th century. Still standing today are the circuit wall and the church of Our Lady.
Lakki, 3 kms south of Agia Marina is the island's port. Built at the back of a deep, practically enclosed bay, whose mouth is only 500 meters wide, is one of the largest and best natural ports in the Mediterranean, including a yacht refueling station.
Get round the island by hiring a taxi or a small caique. Places to visit include Xirokampos, Koulouki, Krithoni, Panagies, Blefouti, Gourna, Lepida, Temenia. The ruins of a Byzantine castle remain on mount Kasteli.
Every year, on the last Sunday in Lent, there is a Carnival in Leros - complete with chariot parade, fancy ball and wine festival. Other memorable events on the island include Alinia, a cultural, sports and arts event taking place on the beach of the same name in the first half of August; also the Agia Kioura feast taking place in Partheni on the 19th of October, and the feast of Madonna of the Castle on the 14th of August.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is boat service linking Leros to Piraeus and the rest of the Dodecanese.
Also by air from Athens, Rhodos and Kos
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS Area code 0247 Airport 22 777 Harbour Master 23 256 Police 22 222 Municipality 22 255 Taxi 23 070 First Aid 23 251
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