Travel Around Greece

Travel to ... Spinalonga (Kalidon)

Submitted by mariam on Mon, 09/08/2008 - 05:44.
Spinalonga Spinalonga Island Spinalonga Island Spinalonga guarding the entrance of Elounda gulf

In the gulf of Mirabello on the north-eastern coast of Crete, lies an inlet, Korfos gulf. In the entrance of this inlet, which forms a natural harbor, and just opposite the village of Elounda, a little island called Spinalonga is located. This small island, despite its size, has played a big role in the local, cretan even greek history.

The name Spinalonga derives from the greek phrase "stin Elounda" which means "to Elounda". The Venetians, who occupied the island of Spinalonga and whole Crete for centuries, were not familiar with this phrase, so by the sound of it, they turned it into something they could understand: Spina (thorn) Longa (long). The name Spinalonga is still used today by the locals and the island is internationally known by it.

Spinalonga was connected to the peninsula of Elounda, called Kolokytha. During the venetian occupation a part of this peninsula was cut down and the island of Spinalonga was created. The Venetians isolated this part of land and in 1579 a fortress was built on it to protect the entrance of Elounda's natural port. Spinalonga's fortress was so strong, that although the venetian occupation for the island of Crete lasted until 1669 (followed by the occupation of the Ottoman Empire), Spinalonga surrendered to the Turks in 1714.

From 1903 until 1957, Spinalonga functioned as a leper colony because of its isolation. It was a well organized community. The habitants-patients of Spinalonga, developed agriculture, commerce, there was a barbershop, a coffee shop (kafeneio), and of course a hospital and a church. Spinalonga had a generator and thus electricity, even before Elounda.

Today Spinalonga is one of the main attractions of Elounda and the wider area of Agios Nikolaos. The well preserved venetian fortress , the remains of the last leper colony in europe and the small pebble beaches of the island attract thousands of visitors every year. Lately the houses of the patiens that used to live in Spinalonga have been renovated and the old church of Agios Pandeleimon started functioning again. The history of the leper colony on Spinalonga, inspired the British author Victoria Hislop to write her best seller novel "The Island".

You will not find accomodation or restaurants or sea sports facilities on Spinalonga. The whole island is a monument. It is easily accessible however by the boats departing very frequently from the ports of Elounda, Plaka and Aghios Nikolaos. You simply get on a boat, go to Spinalonga and when you get hungry get on another boat and leave. If you are lucky you might have a chance to watch a live concert under the fortress of spinalonga (there are a few lives every year in the island). In 27th of july there is a celebration of Agios Panteleimon (saint pantelaemon) on Spinalonga. On that particular day, the trip to Spinalonga is free and you will have a chance to watch the Mass in the small church in the center of the island.

Travel Information: 

You can travel to Spinalonga by boat from Elounda and Agios Nikolaos.
Day trips are scheduled from Malia, Hersonissos and other cities of Crete.

Accomodation Information: 

There are no accommodation facilities in the island Spinalonga. Visitors can find many hotels, apartments and studios in the nearby cities of Elounda and Agios Nikolaos.

Region: Crete

Place: Agios Nikolaos, eastern crete, Elounda, greek islands, Lassithi

You will find here: Beach, Medieval monuments

See also

  • Travel to ... Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos (Aghios Nikolaos), a town on the north-eastern coast of Crete island, is one of the three largest cities of the province of Lasithi along with Ierapetra and Sitia. It is the capital of this province of Crete and has 19.000 inhabitants. Agios Nikolaos is well known for its tourism.

    Related places: Agios Nikolaos,eastern crete,Elounda,greek islands,Lassithi

  • Beaches in Elounda

    The beaches of Elounda are numerous and for all kinds of taste. There is the main sandy beach in the center of the town. Those who prefer pebbles can visit the beach of Plaka, a village next to Elounda about 4km away. One of the main attractions or Elounda is the beach of Kolokytha, located on the Elounda peninsula, with its white sand and crystal water. You can get there either by car - in this case you will have to leave the car at a point and walk about 10 minutes - or by one of the boats you can find in the port of Elounda.

    Related places: Agios Nikolaos,antiskari,East Crete,Elounda,Elounta,greek islands,kolokitha,Lasithi,olous,plaka,skistra

  • History of Elounda

    Ancient Elounda (Olous) was a minoan city. It was partly destroyed hit by a tidal wave caused by the explosion of the Santorini volcano, estimated to have occurred in the mid second millennium BC. Ruins of the ancient city of Olous can bee seen under the sea in elounda peninsula. Minoan and Roman graves as well as temples dedicated to the ancient greek gods can also be found around elounda. Monuments of the byzantine period have also been found in elounda such as the byzantine mosaic on the elounda peninsula.

    Related places: Agios Nikolaos,East Crete,Elounda,Elounta,greek islands,Kato Elounda,Lasithi,Mavrikiano,olous,Pano Elounda,plaka,Skisma

  • Elounda

    Elounda is a town placed on the north-eastern coast of Crete, in the picturesque gulf of Mirabello, about 70 km from the Heraklion airport and 10 km from the town of Aghios Nikolaos. Elounda is a quite small town with almost 2.000 residents. In reality it is a union of 4 small villages : Pano Elounda, Kato Elounda, Mavrikiano and Skisma which is the center of elounda. In the summer it is full of visitors and tourists. Because of its good climate and great beauty, many foreigners (mostly europeans) have chosen elounda as their permanent residence.

    Related places: Agios Nikolaos,East Crete,Elounda,Elounta,greek islands,Kato Elounda,Lasithi,Mavrikiano,olous,Pano Elounda,plaka,Skisma

  • Accomodation in Elounda

    Elounda provides all kinds of accommodation for the visitor. It is famous for its' luxurious hotels (Elounda bay, Elounda Peninsula, Elounda Beach and others). However, affordable high quality studios and apartments are also available, as well as less expensive hotels. Despite its reputation for its luxurious and very expensive hotels, Elounda is actually an affordable destination, with cheap accommodation of excellent quality. You can find a 2-person apartment for as low as 30 euros per day, and the cost of food is not high either.

    Related places: Agios Nikolaos,East Crete,Elounda,greek islands,Kato Elounda,Lasithi,Mavrikiano,olous,Pano Elounda,plaka,Skisma

Other similar places in Greece

  • Restaurants in Athens

    In Athens, guests can choose to eat in a different way for every single day of their stay since numerous gourmet spots will satisfy their appetite. One can indulge in the traditional Greek cuisine of taverns and Mediterranean style restaurants. Moreover, those who prefer international or exotic gastronomy can choose from a wide variety of international cuisine restaurants. The price ranges vary, however, quality and hospitality remain above average. Finally, another significant factor adding to the appeal of a Greek restaurant would be the area of its location.

    Related places: athens,center of athens,city of athens,peireaus,plaka,psirri,thiseon

  • Patras

    Patra is the largest city of west greece with a population of 300.000 people. Patra is a port city located in the north-west of the Peloponnese peninsula. Patra's port is a nodal point for trade and communication with Italy and the rest of Europe. Located 218 km west of Athens, Patras is regularly connected to athens and Eleytherios Venizelos Airport by train and buses. It is also connected by sea to the Ionian Islands and Italy ( Ancona, Venice, Bari, Brindisi ..). The Rio-Antirio bridge that connects peloponnese with the mainland greece is located just 5 km from patras, in Rio.

    Related places: achaia,aigion,antirio,patrae,patras,rio,west greece

  • Heraklion

    Heraklion is the capital of the island of crete, located at the north of the island. Heraklion is the largest city of crete and one the largest in greece. With a population of around 150.000 people and more than 200.000 in the metropolitan area, it is the administrative and economic center of crete.

    Related places: candia,central crete,crete,greek islands,heraclion,heraklion,hersonissos,knossos,malia

  • Travel to Cyclades, travel to Syros

    The island of Syros is located in the middle of the cycladic islands. Proud of its long history, Syros used to be the cultural and trade centre of the Aegean in the 19th century. Its capital, Hermoupolis or Ermoupolis, named after the Greek God Hermes, was Greeceā€™s principal port and is today the largest town of the Cyclades, the capital of the archipelago and its cultural, administrative and economic centre. If you choose to visit Syros, you will not have to miss on quality concerts, theatre performances as well as art exhibitions.

    Related places: Cyclades,Cycladic Islands,Syros

  • Travel to ... Corfu

    The island of Corfu (kerkyra) is located just off the West coast of Greece and is one of the ionian islands. Corfu enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate along with excellent beaches making it a popular destination for holiday makers. The island of corfu is very green compared to other Greek islands: hot and dry summers along with winter rain creates lush vegetation dominated by over 2 million olive trees. These olive trees on Corfu are the main cultivation, although Corfu's tourism now provides the most income.

    Related places: anemomylos,corfu,garitsa,gouvia,greek islands,kanoni,pontikonisi

Travel to Greece facts

- 15 International Airports
- 51 marinas
- 227 inhabited islands ( out of 6000 greek islands)
- 430 beaches awarded with the blue flag.
- 9,111 hotels with 693,252 rooms:

  • 176 5-star hotels
  • 994 4-star hotels
  • 1804 3-star hotels
  • 4460 2-star hotels
  • 1677 1-star hotels

- 752 spas.
- 17 Monuments of Cultural Heritage according to the UNESCO catalogue.
- 124 Museums

Plan a trip now

Elounda, Crete

- : Autumn is the ideal season to visit Elounda. Elounda hotels and apartments are open untill mid-october and the whole experience is so much better after the summer...
- : Airplane to Heraklion Airport and bus to Aghios Nikolaos.
- : The airplane tickets cost depends on your departure site, the cost from Athens airport ranges from 60 to 140 Euros. The cost of the bus to Aghios Nikolaos is less than 10 euros and the bus from Aghios nikolaos to Elounda is less than 5 euros.
- : Choose a cosy little apartment over a large hotel.
- : ranging from 40 to 100 euros for two people per night.

Travel around Greece

Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. With more than 6,000 islands and the heritage of ancient Greece, the Roman and the Byzantine Empires it is a major tourist destination, with more than 15 million visitors every year. A travel to greece is more than purchasing a ticket and a hotel room though. Get on board with and lets explore greece together.