This post was last updated on October 28th, 2015
One of our goals while island-hopping in Greece was to head to some of the more off-the-beaten track islands that don’t see as many tourists. And we certainly weren’t disappointed by the Dodecanese Islands. One of our first stops: the island of Leros.
Historically, Leros was an island reserved for exiles, which is perhaps why it continues to remain relatively quiet. That and the fact that the island still has no airport, making arrival and departure somewhat more difficult. But rather than exiles, visitors can now expect a glimpse of authentic Greek culture combined with countless opportunities for delicious seaside dining, sun bathing on lovely beaches, taking on epic scuba diving or learning about Leros’s interesting WWII history.
Where To Stay In Leros, Greece
We cozied into The Archontiko Angelou Hotel during our stay in Leros. This enchanting bed and breakfast had us dazzled from the moment we saw their GORGEOUS garden and terrace, perfect for an evening of drinks and good conversation with friends, or a quiet morning reserved to finally dive into the books we had been carrying around.
Our stay was really made special with all of the little touches from the staff to make us feel at home. For example, with littleOur stay was really made special with all of the little touches from the staff to make us feel at home. For example, with little notice, Marianna (the fabulous owner) will happily pack you a picnic lunch for an outing, or prepare a special meal or breakfast in bed. Not to mention there was refreshing homemade lemonade upon our welcome and extensive information provided about what to do with our limited time on the island.
But by far our favorite thing about Archontiko Angelou Hotel was the rich history of this long-time family-run hotel. In 1895, Aikaterini Cambouropoulos built the-would-be-hotel for his daughter, Marika. Marika went on to marry Stavros Angelou and they had six children together. The Angelou family lived in Egypt and used the home for their summer vacations in Leros. Throughout time, they slowly added rooms and changed the appearance of the home to match the trends of the decades—always with a conscious effort to preserve the original layout and construction material. In the mid-1970’s, their youngest child, Lolos, decided to convert the summer home into a hotel. And the rest is history! Presently Lolos’ lovely daughter Marianna owns the hotel. This long family history echoes throughout the beautifully decorated rooms, and Marianna is always more than happy to sit down over a freshly squeezed lemonade to talk about the history of the hotel and the island of Leros.
What To Do In Leros, Greece
The Archontiko Angelou is just a short walk from the beautiful beaches of Alinda Bay, as well as many charming cafes and tavernas. But Leros is a small island, meaning it’s relatively easy to visit a number of beaches and coves, as well as several of the surrounding Greek islands. The eastern side of the island is the most developed, with cafes along the beaches, as well as the ancient Castle of Leros. The south is your chance to experience the raw beauty of the less-developed side of the island. The west is known for the most beautiful sunsets as well as its famous lighthouse. Finally, don’t miss the unique St. Isidoros Church, built on a reef in the sea. We recommend renting a scooter to explore in-depth at leisure.
There are two diving centers in Leros, offering the opportunity to explore WWII ship and plane wrecks. If you’re really entered in WWII history, then don’t miss the small but extensive Leros War Museum.
And of course, no visit to Leros is complete with dining at Psaropoula. One of the oldest restaurants in Leros, you’ll also have one of the loveliest views. We opted to enjoy the view and a few drinks on the terrace. If you prefer a waterfront table and dinner, be sure to make a reservation in advance.
We were only on the island of Leros for two nights, which was certainly not enough time to discover all the island had to offer. But though a brief stay, we had a wonderful time exploring and experiencing authentic Greek life. If you’re keen on adventure and culture on a Greek island that isn’t overflowing with tourists, then you can’t go wrong with Leros. We’ll certainly be returning to the island as well as the Archontiko Angelou, this time just for a bit longer.
Have you been to Leros, Greece before? Have you stayed at a historic family-run bed and breakfast?
A huge thank you to Archontiko Angelou for the generous invitation to stay at the hotel. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.