Elounda

And Spinalonga, Setting for The Island

Like Malia, Elounda is a mix of the ancient and the modern. It has a long and rich history, but today it is mainly known as a popular beach resort if not quite as loud and abrasive as Malia. There are several large luxury hotels as you approach the town, including some of the best resorts on Crete, and an attractive harbour with some good restaurants.

Elounda harbour on Crete, from https://www.greece-travel-secrets.com/Elounda.html

The Harbour at Elounda

Olous

Elounda is on the site of what was a city-state known as Olous, and the remains of this site are visible just beneath the surface of the waters between Elounda and the Spinalonga peninsula, joined by a causeway from where the remains can be seen.

Olous had one of the most important harbours in eastern Crete, and it is known that there are at least two temples beneath the waters. It is thought that the city was destroyed in about the 2nd century BC, when immense land movements caused several areas of eastern Crete to sink below the waves, while the opposite happened in parts of western Crete.

The Venetians

On either side of the causeway are also the remnants of Venetian salt pans, as it was the Venetians who developed Elounda as a port in 1579. Its advantages were – and still are – that the harbour is well sheltered by the protective peninsula. On the peninsula itself, which is a good place to escape most of the crowds, there is a church which was once part of Ancient Olous, which still has some of its original frescoes and from where, if the light is right, you can make out parts of the old harbour beneath the waves.

Spinalonga

Offshore from Elounda is Spinalonga Island, which also helps protect the bay and is where the Venetians built their protective fortress. It was such a stronghold that this was the last place on Crete to surrender to the Turks, in 1714, some forty years later than most of the rest of Crete. From 1903 to 1957 the island was renowned throughout Greece as a leper colony, and a thriving town built up, the ruins of which can still be seen. It is a haunting spot, filed with the ghosts of the people who lived out there lives here, in enforced isolation.

The Island

Spinalonga became better-known in recent years as the setting for Victoria Hislop's best-selling novel, The Island. You can take day trips to explore the island from the harbour at Elounda. You can find out what people think of the trips here at TripAdvisor.

Boat Trip to Spinalonga

Check Room Rates in Elounda




Some other Crete pages

  • Crete

    Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • Touring the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

  • The Icon Painter

    Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

  • The Herb Man of Kouses

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

  • The Cretan Diet

    Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

  • Stilianou Winery near Knossos

    The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

  • The Snails House on Crete

    The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

  • Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist at Knossos on Crete

    Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

  • Samaria Gorge

    The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

  • Rethymnon in Western Crete

    Rethymnon is the third-largest city in Crete and has a Venetian fortress, Archaeological Museum, Old Town area and Venetian harbour,

  • Phaistos Minoan Palace on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

  • Paleohora and the South-West Coast

    The area east from Paleohora along the south-west coast of Crete includes resorts like Agia Galini, gorges like the Imbros Gorge and quieter towns like Sfakia.

  • Our Hire Car in Crete

    The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.

  • Matala Beach

    Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

  • Margarites

    Margarites is known on Crete for its pottery, with ceramics shops and workshops lining the streets of this charming small town not far from Rethymnon.

  • Manousakis Wine Tasting

    We visit and tour the Manousakis Winery on Crete with a wine-tasting and a chance to buy their tsikoudia, sea salt, olive oil and other goodies.

  • Malia and its Minoan Palace on Crete

    Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

  • Maleme and the German War Cemetery on Crete

    Maleme near Chania is where the people who died during the battle of Crete are buried, in the German War Cemetery with the Commonwealth War Cemetery nearby.

  • Making Rakomelo on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets visits Crete and learns about making rakomelo from Jorgos Kourmoulis in Agouseliana.

  • Lonely Planet Crete

    Lonely Planet Crete is an excellent and thorough guide of almost 300 pages to the largest of the Greek islands.

  • Knossos

    Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

  • Irakleio

    Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

  • How to Make Petimezi

    How to make Petimezi, the sweet Cretan syrup made from wine must, is explained to Greece Travel Secrets.

  • Hiking the Samaria Gorge

    Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Crete, one of the best things to do on Crete, by Greece Travel Secrets.

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