Start from the town of Agios Nikolaos, where you will get the chance to walk at the center of the picturesque town. After a short walking tour, relax and drink a coffee. The next stop is the small village of Elounda, where you will have time for swimming or walk around. From the port of Elounda, the boat begins the cruise to Spinalonga. Then arrive on the island of Spinalonga (also known as the island of tears) and learn about its different roles in history.

Agios Nikolaos lake
Stroll around the legendary lake and explore the iconic town center.

Elounda village
Wander in the small fishing village or enjoy swimming in crystal waters.

Boat trip to Spinalonga
Relax on the boat trip to Spinalonga in the transparent waters of Mirabello bay while learning about the island’s rich history.

Fortress exploration
Follow the path around the island and see the stone buildings of the former leper colony.

Deep-sea swimming
The boat will anchor so you can dive in the refreshing waters

The visit to Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicolas) is an ideal way to start your day before the visit to Spinalonga. The town is the capital of the region of Lassithi and it is located on the northeast part of Crete. It is a rather small town, consisted of ca 12,000 citizens. There are beautiful ports and plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and souvenir shops. You can stroll around and enjoy the views, go shopping or have a drink by the sea in one of the many coffee shops. Every Wednesday there is the open-air market, worth a visit. The main attraction point of the town, however, is the lake of Voulismeni, which used to be a sweetwater lake, but nowadays it is connected to the sea with a channel. According to the urban legend, the lake is bottomless. This legend and many others make the visit to the lake even more fascinating.

Having seen one of the most beautiful towns of east Crete, turn to the west and cross the road to the village of Elounda. As you pass through the road, admire the fantastic views of Mirabello Bay and realize why it was called like that ( Mira Bello = beautiful view) You can even see the island of Spinalonga, which is located close to Elounda. The village used to be a small fishing village, but nowadays its economy is based on the big number of luxurious 5 and 6-star hotels around it. You will see many of them before arriving at Elounda.

From Elounda port, you will take the boat to Spinalonga island. On the island, you are going to have free time to stroll around. The island is really small, covering an area of 0.085 km2, so it is relatively easy to explore.

The ancient name of Spinalonga was Kalydon. There were fortifications from the Roman period, but most of them are destroyed. The island, located on a strategic position, served as a fortress to protect the Mirabello bay during the Venetian period. After the Venetians, the Turks came to live on the island and built houses. The Venetian fortresses and neighborhoods are co-existing on the island. The Turks abandoned the island at the beginning of the 20th century when Crete became for a short time an independent state. Then the island enters its period as a leper colony, until 1957. It was decided that the lepers would be sent here, as the disease was thought to be contagious. The people living on the island have formed their own community and have fought their own way of survival. The life of the people is presented accurately and compassionately in the novel “The Island” of the British writer Victoria Hislop, which has become a best-seller. Since then the popularity of the island has exploded, with hundreds of visitors every day.

The visit to Spinalonga is more than simply visiting an archeological site or any other museum. The island has become a symbol of hope since it gave exactly that to hundreds of people who lived there. In the beginning, the people sent on the island were hopeless, separated by their own families, and forced to start over. In the end, however, the island has offered them a new home and a chance to stand up against their destiny. Who could imagine that this small island hides such a long history and such a strong message of hope? That’s why it is such a special destination.

Bring with you
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Hat
  • Sun protection lotion
  • Camera
Food and drink availability
  • In Agios Nikolaos
  • In Spinalonga island
WC facilities
  • Not on board of the bus
  • In Agios Nikolaos
  • On board of the boat
  • On the island of Spinalonga