Hiking in Leros

Walking paths and hiking in Leros

After your swimm in the wonderful beaches of Leros, start a tour of the monuments, museums and castles of Leros. The Archaeological Museum of the island, the Bellenis Tower in Alinda, which houses the Folklore and History Museum, but also the impressive War Museum, are the first sights you should visit.

It is worth noting that the War Museum in the Tunnel of Merikia, is unique in its kind, as it is housed in a restored former military tunnel, where in its surroundings are exhibited military cars, planes, weapons and other objects of the time.

1. Lakki – Xirokampos

After we have passed the school, we get to Temenia. The industrial zone was once here and today the DEH (electric power plant, formerly SIER) is still located here to our left. Next to the electricity power station is where there was once the factory which made the fizzy drinks called Dogliani. Right next to that was the workshop of the Italian carpenter Pengo, who once had the unique electric machine for cutting and polishing/processing wood.

Near here there was also the catholic cemetery. The cemetery is still used and there are still some Italian graves there.

Continuing we see the mental hospital on our right which was once the Italian air and naval base G. Rosseti. You can distinguish its old building and one of the two cranes which once lifted the hydroplanes. The three big aircraft hangars do not exist anymore, one is located in Tatoi (Athens) today and is now an air – force museum.

It is from this point that the asphalted road to mount Tsingouna starts, to your left, where the buildings of the army camp of 113th battery.

Returning to the main road we reach Xirokampos, and from here the road to Skoumparda starts, to the 262nd battery and the battery of Agios Georgios The road is asphalted only at the start of the route. At the top of the mountain there is a wonderful view of the Aegean with many remnants of the fortifications. From Xirokampos the road continues towards Diapori and the photoelectric plant FT3. You can make out the observation post. The route is mainly on unasphalted road. From Diapori up until the 281st and 388th battery, we must go on foot, because there is no road. It is worth the effort, however, because you can even make out the sketches that were made on the buildings of the army camps during the period of occupation.

The best recommended route to Kokkina Homata.

2. Lakki – Patella

On the route to Patella, we first pass the monument to Vassilissa Olga on our left. On our right we see the massive building which was once the marine administration building, with its big store room next to it. Virtually straight away, again on our right, is the building of INTEL and right after the quarters of the commander of the base. It was here that the last admiral Mascerpa lived. The buildings at Gonia were the first to be built, before the town of Lakki was built, but they continued to be built later too. On our left you can see the dock where torpedo boats moored. Above the peak of the hill is the base of the anti aircraft battery.

Once we have passed Gonia we arrive at Merikia. Here there are the abandoned underground store rooms for ammunition and the workshops. This is also where the asphalted road ends. Continuing leftwards we come across Katsouni where there are army buildings and the place where the machine which pulled the anti submarine nets was. There is also the pole which wound the wire with the various obstructions which closed off the entrance to the Lakki bay.

The bases of the batteries of the 250th and 227th batteries and the half demolished observation post can be seen.

Returning towards the main road and continuing our route we reach the battery Ducci, where there are some buildings, one of them with armoured doors and windows. Here the results of the explosions are clear for all to see. Continuing along a very bad road, we reach the peak of Patellas. This is where the administration for Fam di Cat was once, in other words the administration and coordination of the whole anti aircraft system. This system used aerophones (giant cones with the ability to turn for 3600 ) for spotting planes through sound. There are also observation posts which were administered by the commander V. Spigai. Today the roof of the observation post has fallen in. There are the remnants of where the large aerophone was once and the round base for the smaller one. You can make out the position of the anti aircraft gun 37/54, one of the most modern anti aircraft guns of its time. The buildings where the quarters and the administration were, are also distinguishable.

3. Lakki – Krommidi

From Lakki the road which starts from the P. Roussou square, passes the church Agios Ioannis Theologos, reaches Plakes and to the left leads to Krommidi. There is the 248th battery and nearby is the 508th.

4. Lakki – Partheni

On the road towards Platanos, if we turn right where the anchor monument is, we come to Bigla where the 306th battery is. It is one of the most impressive fortified positions on the island. There are the entrance tunnels to the firing positions and the camp’s quarters.

If we turn left at the height of the anchor monument we reach Agios Nikolaos o mikros. This is where the Italian radio once was, with its three very tall antenna. Today the building is without a ceiling and deserted.

From the anchor monument, if we take the higher road, we reach Rahi, where the positions of 211th battery are still visible.

From Rahi we can go to Gourna or Alinta and the tower of Mpellenis which houses the noteworthy museum Manolis Isihos, which is the only museum of modern history in the Dodecanese.

The museum has a wonderful folklore collection and remains of our glorious ship Vasilissa Olga. In addition it has a collection of weapons and objects from the battle of Leros and a doctor’s surgery from the interwar period. Following the road towards Partheni, Kamara and Smalou we come across some of the Italian store rooms which are still used today. Immediately after them, there is an unasphalted road which leads to the 906th battery of Mouplogourna, with evident signs of the explosions, as well as large quarters with drawings and inscriptions on its walls.

At Markello, you can find the Farinata battery along with a well preserved look out post and the administrative building. At Partheni there are many buildings which are still in action today, but which are prohibited. At the landing stage you can still distinguish the iron railings for the wagons that transported the mines and the torpedoes. Right next to this is the small harbour of Rina and it was here that the Ivorea had sought refuge when the Germans found and sunk her. One small part was saved from its destruction and is located close to the coast, half sunk.

Furthermore there are the mooring posts, where they tied the ships and the remains of the antisubmarine net. Continuing towards Mplefouti, on the hill, are all that remains of the 888th battery. At 889th battery, at Asfouggaro, there is the camp’s building, on the facade of which is written the inscription -Siamo orgogliosi di occupare un posto di combattimento, di sacrifici e di dovere-, in other words -We are proud to be in a battle position, a position of sacrifice and duty-. It seems that it was written for the soldiers to believe rather than because they actually felt it. Close by is the bay of Bagia, where the Germans disembarked.

Opposite at the island of Stroggili is the German landing craft, sunk to a depth of six metres. Ending our tour of the fortified positions on Leros, it is impossible for the visitor not to be impressed as well as for him not to consider the absurdity of war..