Spinalonga Island | Elounda, Crete, Greece

The Mysterious Island of Elounda

the Mysterious island of Spinalonga

The island of Spinalonga, which is located in the Gulf of Elounda in eastern Crete, is the second most visited archaeological site in Crete.The Venetians fortified the island during the 15th century and as a result, Spinalonga is now considered to be a real architectural treasure. It is, also, known as the Leper island, due to the forced isolation of lepers in it from Crete and the rest of Greece until 1957. The central position of the islet of Spinalonga has led the place to having a turbulent history replete with tough battles and plenty of human suffering.

Opening hours:
From April 1st until October 31th: 08:00-18:00

Admission fees: Full: €8, Reduced: €4

Spinalonga Island | Elounda, Crete, Greece

Visit the town of Elounda

Elounda is a small town in the northwest side of Mirabello Bay and only a 10km drive from Agios Nikolaos. It is characterized by the extensive history that it holds from Ancient Greeks and the Venetians to the contemporary era. It has been featured in films and novels, the most recent one being “The Island” by Victoria Hislop. Nowadays, it is a luxury destination where celebrities and important politics from all over the world spend their holidays every year.
You shall have a stroll in the village of Shisma, the centre of Elounda, visit the local shops and the port and enjoy a delicious meal on the fishing taverns at the seaside. There are, also, sandy beaches with sunbeds and umbrellas.

After visiting Elounda, you are highly recomdended on taking a 4.5km drive to the village of Plaka. This fishing village is more authentic and even though there are still luxurious hotels, it has kept its uniqueness. Apart from discovering the village, sunbathing on its beaches and eating on the fishing taverns, you will be able to have a clear view of the island of Spinalonga, which is located right across Plaka. There are daily boats from Plaka to Spinalonga, in order to visit the mysterious island.

Visit the town of Agios Nikolaos

The town of Agios Nikolaos is located around 25 km from Malia. This medium-sized town is nothing like the other towns of Crete. Its romantic atmosphere is combined with a cosmopolitan side and provides tourists with a unique experience. Agios Nikolaos sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara. You will be astonished by its natural beauty as all elements contribute to a feast for the eyes. The picturesque neoclassical buildings, the local shops and the gourmet restaurants are just a hint of what you will see. The lake Voulismeni which lies in the heart of Agios Nikolaos connects to the harbor of the town. According to the myth the goddesses Athena and Artemis bathed in its waters. Don’t forget to visit its wonderful sandy beaches such as Ammoudi and Kitroplatia.

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Malia Crete Greece

Explore Best Places Around Malia

Visit Sissi

Sissi is a fishing village located only 6 km from Malia. Although, it receives thousands of tourists every year, it has managed to remain intact from human intervention and holidaymakers and kept its quaintness through the years. The first thing you will see, when you arrive to Sissi, is the port in which you will probably feel the need to stop by and enjoy the view. People say it looks like a swimming pool or the continuation of a river because of its conformation and no one can deny its natural beauty. You can, also, visit its wonderful beaches such as Boufos or Avlaki and eat on the local fish-taverns that won’t leave you disappointed.
Sissi Crete

Krassi Village

If you want to experience the traditional Cretan way of life, then don’t miss the chance to visit Krasi. It is a small village with an altitude of about 600 meters, only 6 km south of Malia. At the highest point of the village there are drinking fountains that were made during the 19th century by locals. However, Krasi is well-known for the plane tree on the main square of the village which, as locals estimate, is more than 2.000 years old and its height almost reaches 15 meters. While keeping cool from the shade of the plane tree, you can enjoy a delicious meal cooked in traditional wood stoves.

Krassi village, Crete

Mochos Traditional Village

Mochos is a village on the mountains of Crete, only 12 km from Malia, which will provide you with an authentic experience of the Cretan lifestyle. You will not have to deal with masses of tourists or wait in long lines, rather you will be greeted by the locals and feel the Cretan hospitality. You can take a walk on the alleys of Mochos and see houses built since the 16th century, have a look at the churches which are decorated with Old Byzantine icons and also visit the Monastery of Panagia Theogennitoros. You may find it difficult to choose where to enjoy your lunch as there are many little tavernas in the main square, but truth is you will be more than satisfied with the local delicacies and the roasted meat.
Mochos Traditional Village, Crete

Hersonissos

Hersonissos, which is only 12.5 km from Malia, is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Crete as it comprises everything from diving centers and golfing to full-on nightclubs. However, there are many hidden treasures that can be found in Hersonnissos. Starting from Koutouloufari, a small village with only 600 inhabitants, you can take a stroll and see the quaint houses built of stones with arches while taking your morning coffee. You can also visit the Lycnostatis Open Air Museum in which you can explore the Cretan Folk Tradition and Ethnology, Cretan Nature and Environment and the Cretan Folk Culture.

Lasithi Plateau

The Lasithi Plateau (about 25 km from Malia), with an altitude of 800 meters, is not your regular summer destination as there are no beaches to go but it has many archaeological sites and an amazing view of nature. The well-known windmills that lie on the plateau will give you a glimpse of how Lasithi used to be before electric power was installed in the area. Nowadays, there are not as many as they used to be but they are still impressive. Don’t skip over to pay a visit to Dikteon Andron. According to Cretan mythology, it is where Rhea gave birth to Zeus and Amalthea nurtured him with her goat’s milk. In the cave you will see a wide variety of flaura and fauna and if you are lucky you may see some bats.
Lasithi Plateau, Crete
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Best things to do in Rethymno Crete

Best Things to Do in Rethymnon Crete

The Old Town Of Rethymnon And The Venetian Harbour

The old town of Rethymnon is one of the best-preserved towns in Crete. The old Venetian buildings co-exist with the orthodox churches and the Turkish architectural elements, all revealing the history of the town. Take a stroll on the quaint alleys where you can find local shops, coffeehouses and restaurants.

The Old Town is in the heart of the city center and as the city’s layout is directly linked to the sea, you can easily access the Venetian Harbour of Rethymnon. The picturesque Egyptian lighthouse of the harbor will take you back in time. There you can find many restaurants right next to the sea and enjoy a meal while listening to Cretan music.

Rethymno old town, harbor, Crete

Arkadi Monastery

The monastery was built as early as the 16th century and combines both Baroque and Roman architectural elements. It is considered to be a symbol of independence and a center of resistance for Cretans against the Turks. Nowadays, it is one of the most important historic monuments in Crete.

The Arkadi Monastery is just 22 km away from the town of Rethymnon. You will have to reach the National Road, take the exit of Tsesme-Platania and drive through the old National Road. You will pass by the villages of Tsesmes, Adele, Pigi, Loutra, Kirianna, and Amnatos before you reach the Arkadi Monastery.

Visiting Hours (from Monday to Sunday): April – May : 09:00 to 19:00 June – August: 09:00 to 20:00 September – October : 09:00 to 19:00 November : 09:00 to 17:00 December – March : 09:00 to 16:00

Preveli Beach

There is no question why Preveli Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Crete. Both the locals and the tourists get the feeling that they are in an exotic destination. The palm forest along the Grand River ends up to a sandy beach, where the river merges into the Libyan Sea. You will have to pass through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge in order to reach the beach and you can, also, visit the Monastery of Preveli(Piso Moni) which has a hostel, a library, and a museum.

Preveli Beach is located about 40km from the town of Rethymnon. You have to reach the road to Plakias and shortly after the village Lefkogia you will see a signboard which will drive you to Preveli Beach.

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