Leros, one of the Dodecanese islands, lies between Kalymnos ( a tiny island famous for its spongers ) and Patmos (the island of the Apocalypse) in the South Eastern part of the Aegean.
The sea trip takes from 8 to 12 hours depending on the boat and the stops it makes but it is so pleasant at this time of the year to sit on the deck and just relax that nobody really minds.
Not one of the most popular destinations for a long time Leros has kept its character and special characteristics much better than most islands.
Under Italian occupation up to 1947 it boasts a good road network (compared to the Cyclades mind you not to modern cities) and a coastline unspoiled by the modern monstrous hotel complexes. After the end of World War II and the civil war the Greek governments seem to have decided that the Dodecanese Islands did not deserve much attention. Thinly populated and far from Athens they were left largely to their own devices with some exceptions: Ikaria received the political exiles and Leros the mentally ill: both sectors of the population being stigmatized as shameful and “dangerous” for the rest of society.
The infamous Leros psychiatric clinic has provided jobs and income while at the same time has discouraged tourism. What seemed like a handicap actually helped the island of Leros to have a more balanced development. Unlike other islanders the Lerii as they are called continued to cultivate their lands, keep their animals and go fishing instead of going for the easy money of the tourist trade. During the tourist industry curb Leros did not suffer as much as other islands. Some of the unique local products are “ladotyri”, a special cheese which matures in oil, excellent honey and salted mackerel
The natural port of Lakki, one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean, is shadowed by an impressive castle which houses a Madonna church as well. Nearby you can visit the war museum, an interesting stop for anyone interested in modern history.

In the north of the island, in Partheni, one can visit a church that has been re-painted by the political exiles of the Junta period. The camp is mentioned in one of Theodorakis songs.

The deep religious feeling of the locals is expressed in the vast number of small chapels in the most unlikely places. We visited a tiny church dedicated to the Crab Madonna (Kavourina in Greek) which is a Madonna icon that was found by a giant crab and brought to land in its claws!!
Friendly and relaxed, warm but not servile, genuinely hospitable and devoted to their island the Lerii are one of the big incentives for visiting Leros.