How can I get to Leros?
If you are outside Greece, there are several ways to get to the island of Leros - for example, flying via Athens or flying directly to the islands of Kos, Rhodes or Samos.
Option 1 - fly to Athens and then fly to Leros
From Athens, there is one flight every day to Leros in the Winter, operated by Olympic/Aegean. In the Summer, there are two direct flights per day.
Note: it is also possible to fly to Athens and then get a ferry from Piraeus (takes about 9 and a half hours to Leros and costs €39).
Option 2 - fly to Kos or Rhodes and then take a ferry or catamaran to Leros
From April to October, there are charter flights to Rhodes and Kos from many European airports. Bookings outside the peak season or at the last minute can mean real bargains.
The catamaran is generally quicker than the ferry A one-way ticket from Kos costs €21.50 and the journey takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes whereas a ticket from Rhodes costs €40.50 and the journey takes around 4 hours and 20 minutes.
Dodekanisos Seaways operate the two catamarans, Dodekanisos Express and Dodekanisos Pride, that connect Leros to Kos, Rhodes, Patmos, Lipsi, Kalymnos, Symi and Agathonissi.
The catamaran may arrive/depart from the port of Lakki or Agia Marina - and sometimes this can be changed at the last minute because of the weather conditions.
The company was set up by brothers Yorgos and Yannis Spanos,
born in Temenia on Leros. There is a history of the
company, and a fascinating biography of the chairman, Yorgos Spanos, in their Dodekanisos magazine which you can read online. (Choose issue 1.)
Their aim is to provide a metro-style service that is reliable
and punctual for the smaller islands of the Dodecanese. The company
employs local people from the Dodecanese so if you use the catamaran,
you are supporting the local economy.
A ferry is the cheapest way to reach Leros from Kos or Rhodes. A one-way ticket from Kos costs €12 and the journey takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. A ticket from Rhodes costs €28 and the journey takes around 5 hours and 15 minutes.
Ferries to Leros are operated by Blue Star (the boat may be the Blue Star I or Blue Star II) and usually call into the port of Lakki.
You can check timetables and book online at www.ferries.gr (click on the blue writing near the top of the page, then select the right hand side option - 'ferries between the islands and mainland'). Do not click on the link on the front page to Blue Star as the information here can be completely wrong. Greek Travel Pages (www.gtp.gr) gives details of the actual routes. To book, you then have to click through to www.Danae.gr (I haven't tried this.)
Of course, you can also buy tickets for the catamaran and ferry at agents on Rhodes, Kos or Leros. See the links page for details.
Option 3 - fly to Samos and then take a hydrofoil (flying dolphin) to Leros
Another alternative, if you want to combine your trip with a stay on the island of Samos, is to get the hydrofoil - also known as a 'flying dolphin'.
There used to be two routes operated by two different companies but these seem now to have been streamlined into one operation. This is run by Aegean Dolphins and departs from the port of Pythagorio on Samos, then calls at Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, and Kos.
On certain days, there is an additional stop between Samos and Patmos - at Agathonissi. It then turns round and repeats the journey in reverse, ending up back at Samos. See the current timetables for Aegean Flying Dolphins here.
Note: all details correct, to the best of my knowledge, at July 2012, but prices and timetables are subject to change