LEROS - THE ISLAND OF GODDESS ARTEMIS
Leros, the island of Artemis as it is called at the southeastern tip of the Aegean, is one of the few Greek islands that seems almost untouched by mass tourism. It manages to be an ideal destination while maintaining the unique beauties, the dense vegetation of pines, eucalyptus, acorns and olives. With special architecture, rich history, and beautiful seas, it is offered for a quiet vacation and is an ideal destination for lovers of history and architecture. It is the island of the Goddess Artemis, of the ancient historian Ferekidis and of the Philosopher Dimodikos. Below the Castle of Panagia, is the picturesque capital of Leros, Agia Marina, a settlement built amphitheatrically with a unique sea view. The castle was built during the Byzantine years on the ruins of an ancient fortress of Leros, in which is the monastery of Panagia Kyra with the famous icon of Panagia, which legends call miraculous. One can also visit the Ecclesiastical Museum.
Platanos is the oldest district and the old capital of the island, in which many traditional houses and mansions are preserved and in its center is Roussou Square. Lakki is the largest port on Leros and the largest natural port in the Mediterranean that looks like a large lake, which is why the Italians named it Porto Lago. Visitors can admire buildings with impressive facades, white walls, curves and built-in windows, a mixture of art deco and Bauhaus called in architecture rationalism, internationalism or rationalism. Panteli is a traditional fishing village with a beautiful beach and is the most picturesque destination with an island character, traditional houses, boats and taverns that compose an idyllic landscape overlooking the sea. The windmills that are built on the hill, are accessible from the road that leads to the castle of the island and have a unique view.
Lepida Castle or Paleokastro, which dominates the top of the hill above Xirokampos, is the oldest surviving castle on the island. The walls on its northeastern side, according to archaeologists, are Cyclops, inside of which is the church of Panagia and in its courtyard there is a mosaic of exceptional art. Partheni is a small fishing village at the northern end of Leros between a valley and the sea where it is said that the sanctuary of the Virgin Artemis was built and from there it took its current name. In the wider area is the church of Agios Georgios built with ancient materials and to the north is the church of Agia Kiura with beautiful paintings. Krithoni is a seaside green settlement with beautiful houses and many small churches between Agia Marina and Alinda that stretches from the sea to high on the hill. Alinda is the settlement that gathers most of the tourist traffic in the center of the bay of Agia Marina and is the most developed tourist area of the island.
The island consists mainly of small coves but also of long narrow beaches at about 78 km of coastline. The beaches are suitable for water sports such as skiing, windsurfing, diving and even jet skiing. Alinda is the most touristy organized long narrow beach with possibilities for water sports. The second most popular organized beach is in Panteli with two edges, one with fine pebbles and the other with sand,ideal for families. The beach of Vromolithos is located next to the bay of Pantelio with which it joins with a path and has a sandy beach, pebbles and tamarisk trees for shading. Gournas beach near Alinda is one of the best sandy beaches of Leros ideal for parents with children as the waters are shallow. Xirokampos is a large beach with sand and tamarisk trees for shading, not so organized, but has a diving training school and free diving. The Dyo Lisgaria after Panagies, and after a spring is a small beach with eucalyptus trees. Blefoutis is a large beach with sandy beach, fine gravel and tamarisk trees for shading. Kryfos is a pristine sandy beach near the area of Dyo Liskaria which breaks through a cave from the bottom of which fresh water gushes. Access to this beach is by sea only.
The food in Leros is based on locally produced products and traditional recipes. Fish and seafood are a basic eating habit as it is abundant. The most famous seafood options are the "owls" (red mullet with rosemary and raisins), kakavia, smoked octopus and urchin salad. A typical traditional product is the salted Kolios which is one of the best ouzo appetizers. Top local specialties for meat eaters are the goat lemon and cabbage stuffing. Popular traditional products of the island are also Mitzithra (fresh or dried) covered with the famous cheeses, a mixture of musto, oil and thyme that gives it a wonderful taste. Among the sweets of Leros, the "pougia" with bitter almond stand out, the soropiasta "sfiggoi" and the patsavouropita, with crust leaves and yogurt. You should also try the island's famous macaroons, puddings or homemade pastries such as nerazzi, quince and eggplant.