As the island of LÉROS is indented with deep, sheltered bays, lined with little settlements, it doesn’t have an obvious “capital”. Ferries arrive at both Lakkí on the west coast and Ayía Marína on the east, but neither is recommended as a place to stay. Instead visitors congregate in the resorts of Pandélli and Álinda, and in more refined Plátanos up on the hillside. While Léros can be very attractive, however, it doesn’t hold spectacular beaches, so tourism remains relatively low-key.

The island still bears traces of the Battle of Léros of November 1943, when German paratroops displaced a Commonwealth division that had occupied Léros following the Italian capitulation. Bomb nose-cones and shell casings turn up as gaily painted garden ornaments, or do duty as gateposts. After the war, the local economy relied on prisons and sanatoria in former Italian military buildings. During the civil war and the later junta, leftists were confined to a notorious detention centre at Parthéni, while hospitals warehoused intractable psychiatric cases and mentally handicapped children. In 1989, a major scandal exposed conditions in the asylums; most wards were eventually closed.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook