The north of Leros is dotted with small fishing communities, beehives and rugged terrain. Just west of the airport, the Temple of Artemis (dedicated to the island’s ancient patroness) dates from the 4th century BC, but has yet to be excavated.
East of here, Blefoutis Beach is a narrow stretch of sand and pebble on a pretty enclosed bay.
Between 1912 and 1948, when the west-coast port of Lakki was a significant Italian naval base, the town was transformed beyond recognition by the construction of grandiose administrative and military buildings. The prevalent architectural style, now classified as streamline moderne, started out resembling art deco and ended up distinctly more fascist. Lakki these days is ghostly quiet. Larger ferries and some catamarans dock at its jetty, a long walk from the centre of town, but there’s no reason to linger.
The village of Pandeli, arrayed around a crescent bay 800m south of Platanos, is as peaceful as it is pretty. Overlooked by a clutch of hilltop windmills, its white houses tumble down the valley towards the sand-and-shingle beach and bobbing fishing boats in the harbour. There are some great tavernas by the water, too.
Accessible only by walking or driving over the headland immediately south of Pandeli – there’s no coastal footpath – Vromolithos consists of a long, narrow beach caressed by waters of a perfect shade of Aegean blue, scattered with turquoise. Forget the ugly village, this is all about the water.
At the southern end of Leros, Xirokambos Bay holds a pebble-and-sand beach with some good spots for snorkelling. As well as a few village houses, it’s home to a good beach taverna and is served by small excursion boats from Kalymnos. Up the hill, 1km inland towards Lakki, a signposted path climbs to the ruined Paleokastro fortress, which offers tremendous views.