Discover the Hidden Gem of Platanos on Leros Island, Greece

A Comprehensive Travel Guide
Platanos on Leros Island in Greece, travel and home min

Platanos is one of the oldest and most traditional villages on Leros Island, with a history that dates back to the 17th century. It was originally founded by a group of farmers and shepherds who were looking for a safe place to settle and protect themselves from pirate raids.

Platanos is located in the central part of Leros Island, surrounded by beautiful hills and valleys. It’s a charming village with narrow streets and traditional houses, many of which are made of stone and have wooden balconies overflowing with flowers.

To get to Platanos, you can take a flight to Athens International Airport and then take a domestic flight or a ferry to Leros Island. The distance from Athens to Leros Island is about 200 km (124 miles). From Leros Island, you can take a taxi or rent a car to Platanos. There are also local buses that run regularly from the main port of Leros to Platanos.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but it is always good to have some cash on hand.

The best time to visit Platanos is from June to September when the weather is warm and sunny. The peak tourist season is in July and August, so it is best to book accommodation and activities in advance if you are visiting during this time.

Reviews and Testimonies

Platanos has been described as a hidden gem by many travelers, with its traditional architecture, stunning scenery, and friendly locals. Visitors have praised the island's natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere, as well as the delicious food and wine. Many have recommended exploring the nearby villages and beaches, as well as taking part in the local festivals.

Must See & Do in Platanos

With all the logistics behind us, let me tell you about what you can expect to see and do in Platanos.

  • Churches: Platanos is also home to several churches and monasteries, including the Church of Panagia Krifti, which is located on a hilltop overlooking the village. The church is famous for its beautiful frescoes and stunning views over the surrounding hills and valleys. Also, Agia Marina Church is a beautiful 17th-century church located in the center of Platanos.
  • The weekly farmers’ market: Here, you’ll find fresh produce, handmade goods, and traditional Greek products. It’s the perfect place to stock up on supplies for a picnic or to pick up a few souvenirs to take home.
  • Beaches of Platanos: Some of the best beaches in the area include Alinda Beach, Gourna Beach, and Agia Marina Beach. All of these beaches offer crystal-clear waters and soft sands, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. And then there is Agia Kioura Beach, a secluded beach with crystal-clear waters and breathtaking scenery.

Alinda, and Xirokambos Beach

Alinda Beach Leros Island
Alinda Beach

What to explore first, in Patanos…

I suggest you spend day one at one of the highlights of Platanos which is its main square, surrounded by traditional cafés and tavernas where you can relax and enjoy a coffee or a meal while soaking up the local atmosphere. Or for those brave at heart, order a glass of ouzo to enjoy while watching the world go by. You’ll also find a variety of shops selling handmade souvenirs, local crafts, and traditional Greek products.

Then, from the main square, take a few minutes to walk uphill to the windmills that are on a hill just above Platanos square.

  • As you walk up to the windmills, you’ll pass through the charming narrow streets of Platanos village, which is known for its traditional architecture and local shops. You’ll also be able to enjoy beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding islands. 

Castle of Leros

Further uphill lies the Castle of Leros, a Byzantine fortress that dates back to the 11th century.

  • The walk from the windmills to the Castle of Leros is not very long, but it can be a bit steep in some parts. However, the walk is relatively easy and shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, depending on your pace. No rush, you’re on holiday. Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding islands, making the walk a pleasant experience. The reward at the end is worth it. The castle is a fascinating place to explore, with stunning 360-degree views over the island and the sea. You’ll also find a museum inside the castle that showcases the history and culture of Leros.
  • On top of Apitiki Hill at the Castle of Leros is the place to be to watch the sun disappearing into the sea and the sky changing to mindblowing hues of orange, red, and purple. And that’s why I left the 11-th century castle for last. It’s an unforgettable sight.
Windmills castle Platanos capital of Leros Island Greece min
Platanos in a day - the main square, windmills and Castle of Leros.
Platanos ferry, Leros Island, Greece
Platanos ally on Leros Island, Greece

Adventure Activities in Platanos

If you’re looking for adventure, Platanos and the surrounding area have plenty of exciting activities to offer.

Hiking and Trekking

Hiking is a popular activity in Platanos and the surrounding area, with plenty of scenic routes to explore.

Starting from Platanos, the hike to the Castle of Leros is a beautiful and rewarding experience. The route starts in the center of Platanos, where you can find the main square and the bus stop.

The trail begins by following the road that leads to the Castle. The first part of the route is uphill and can be challenging, but the views are worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll see olive groves, local houses, and gardens filled with flowers.

After about 45 minutes of hiking, you’ll reach the entrance of the Castle of Leros, where you can buy a ticket to enter. The Castle of Leros is an impressive medieval fortress that dates back to the 11th century. The castle offers stunning views of the island and the Aegean Sea.

After visiting the castle, the hike continues downhill toward Agia Marina Church, a beautiful historic church located in Platanos. The church is a great spot for a break and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

From Agia Marina Church, the trail continues downhill through the streets of Platanos, passing by traditional Greek houses and local shops. The hike finishes back at the main square in Platanos.

Overall, this hike is approximately 5.5 km and takes about 2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and how long you spend at each stop. The route is well-marked, and there are plenty of opportunities to take in the beautiful scenery and explore the local history and culture along the way. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the stunning views!

Starting from the coastal village of Alinda, this route takes you up to the summit of Mount Clidi, the highest point on Leros Island. The hike is quite challenging, but the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding islands.

Starting from the village of Gurna, this route takes you downhill to the picturesque Pandeli Beach. Along the way, you’ll pass through olive groves and see stunning views of the sea and the coastline. Once you reach Pandeli Beach, you can relax and enjoy the crystal-clear waters and the local seafood at one of the beachfront tavernas.

Starting from the village of Lakki, this route takes you to Diapori Beach, one of the most secluded and pristine beaches on Leros Island. Along the way, you’ll pass through a beautiful pine forest and see stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Once you reach Diapori Beach, you can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Starting from the picturesque village of Panteli, this route takes you to Kastro Beach, a small and secluded beach with crystal-clear waters. Along the way, you’ll pass through narrow streets and see traditional Greek houses and local shops. Once you reach Kastro Beach, you can enjoy a swim and relax in the peaceful surroundings.

The trail starts at the main square in Platanos and heads towards the east, following a well-marked path that climbs gently through the countryside. Along the way, you’ll pass through olive groves, vineyards, and fields of wildflowers, with stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

As you approach Sfinar, the trail becomes steeper and more challenging, but the scenery becomes even more breathtaking. You’ll pass by old stone walls, terraced gardens, and ancient ruins, before arriving at the small village of Sfinar.

Sfinar is a quiet and picturesque village that offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding islands. It’s a great place to rest and recharge before making your way back to Platanos.

The return trip follows the same trail, but with different views and perspectives, making it a great way to experience the beauty of Leros Island from different angles.

It’s important to wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks, especially during the hot summer months. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast and avoid hiking during rainy or stormy conditions.

Overall, the hiking route between Platanos and Sfinar is a must-see experience for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts visiting Leros Island.

Travel Tip(s)

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Adventure activities in Platanos

With its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life, Leros Island is a paradise for scuba diving enthusiasts. There are several scuba diving centers in Platanos and nearby towns like Lakki and Alinda that offer courses and guided dives for all levels of experience. You can explore underwater caves, shipwrecks, and a variety of fish and marine life.

Kayaking is a great way to explore the beautiful coastline and secluded beaches of Leros Island. You can rent a kayak in Platanos or join a guided tour that takes you to some of the most picturesque spots around the island.

The rugged cliffs and rocky terrain around Platanos provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing. There are several established routes with varying levels of difficulty, and local guides can provide equipment and assistance for climbers of all levels.

With its strong winds and clear waters, Leros Island is a popular destination for windsurfers. The bay of Alinda is particularly popular for windsurfing, with several rental shops and schools offering equipment and lessons.

Cycling is a great way to explore the island’s stunning scenery and charming villages. There are several rental shops in Platanos and nearby towns that offer bikes for rent, and local guides can provide guided tours for all levels of fitness.

For a more relaxing adventure, you can take a sailing trip around the island and the surrounding islands. There are several local operators that offer day trips and longer excursions on traditional wooden boats or modern sailboats.

Travel Tip(s)

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just looking for a fun and active way to explore the island, Platanos, and the surrounding area have plenty of adventure activities to offer. Be sure to book in advance, as some activities may require reservations or have limited availability.

Also, grab the free 3-day itinerary I’ve done to help you make the most of your time in Platanos.

Shopping and Nightlife in Platanos

Platanos offers a few shops selling traditional items such as pottery, jewelry, and honey. For more shopping options, visit the nearby villages of Alinda and Agia Marina. The nightlife in Platanos is relatively low-key, but there are some bars and taverns where you can enjoy a drink or a meal with a view.

Platanos street cafe, Leros Island, Greece

Local cuisine

The local cuisine in Platanos is delicious and offers a taste of traditional Greek flavors. Some of the must-try dishes include fresh seafood, moussaka, dolmades, and Greek salad. For a refreshing drink, try the local wine or ouzo.

Travel Tip(s)

• Visit Platanos in the summer months to enjoy the warm weather and the festivals.
• I can’t emphasize it enough: Bring comfortable shoes for hiking and exploring the island.
• Buy some local honey, which is made from the island’s wildflowers.
• Rent a scooter or a car to explore the island at your own pace.

Where to Stay in Platanos: Accommodation for Every Budget

Platanos has a range of accommodation options that cater to different budgets.

  • For those looking for luxury, I recommend the Panteli Beach Hotel, which has beautiful views of the sea and the island.
  • And then, for those on a budget, the Hotel Marilen and Alinda Hotel are great options.
  • Finally, for those who prefer a more traditional experience, the Archontiko Angelou offers charming rooms in a traditional house.

Plan your trip to Platanos

With its stunning scenery, traditional architecture, and delicious cuisine, Platanos on Leros Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or a cultural adventure, Platanos has something to offer everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and experience the beauty of this charming Greek island.

Traditional village of Platanos and view of Panteli castle on Leros Island in Greece, travel and home min
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