AGIOS NIKOLAOS - ELOUNDA - SPINALONGA
The town of Agios Nikolaos, with over forty years of experience in tourism, attracts thousands of guests every year.
The lake is the most beautiful feature of the town. According to mythology, the goddesses Athena and Artemis bathed there. The lake is connected to the sea by a small channel and attracts guests with its red rocks and trees around it. On the small theatre stage, residents of the lake and guests of the town can enjoy interesting cultural events. Walking around the streets of Agios Nikolaos is an enjoyable experience.
A selection of traditional Cretan artwork, copies of items displayed in archaeological museums, jewelry, and embroidery, among other things, can be found in many shops in the town. There are workshops for weaving and traditional Byzantine icons, jewelers, book shops, cafeterias, coffee shops and picturesque raki-bars - popular places with the locals.
There are numerous entertainment possibilities, with many bars and discos, the open-air cinema "Christina" surrounded by honeysuckle plants, plus lots of tavernas with local Cretan music, local wine and strong raki.
There are many sports facilities including football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, beach volleyball, mini-golf courses and swimming pools.
Elounda is a world famous tourist resort north of Agios Nikolaos with calm sandy beaches, crystal clear water and a fantastic environment. It is located 10 km from Agios Nikolaos. You can enjoy the wonderful views of the Mirabello Bay and Elounda from the road as you approach it. The village is located on the southern coast of Elounda Bay 1km west of the old Olounda City, which owes its name to the present village.
At the foot of the mountains lie the four villages of Elounda : Pano and Kato Elounda, Mavrikiano and the new settlement, the so-called "Shisma Elounda". The four villages enjoy the enviable position of being close to the sea. A sea that, according to A.Makridakis, is like a sapphire under the blue light of the sky, pink on summer evenings and silver on moonlit nights. A sea in which you can bathe in its smooth and sweet light, and in which one finds peace. It is like dreaming with open eyes when you swim in this sea, or look at it from afar.
In the twenties and thirties, this sea was used as a landing and supply port for seaplanes of the British airline "Imperial". In Elounda, the creator had sufficient inspiration to enrich the city with colour, shape and boldness to give it a glamorous touch. Film-makers, painters, musicians and poets will find special inspiration here.
ELOUNDA ... a place name that can be spoken easily, but not easily described. A place you must experience, if you want to feel it and dream of it.
Spinalonga is an arid and barren rocky islet with an area of 8.5 hectares lying at the mouth of the natural port of Elounda in the Lasithi prefecture of Crete. Due to its strategic location, it was fortified and served a variety of roles and purposes over the centuries.
“Spinalonga. She played with the word rolling it around her tongue like an olive stone. The island lay directly ahead and as the boat approached the great Venetian fortification which fronted the sea […]. This, she speculated, might be a place where history was still warm, not stone cold, where the inhabitants were really not mythical”... as Victoria Hislop wrote in her best-selling book “The Island”.
Here, on an island where lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece had been kept in isolation until 1957, a story about love and pain, separation and fear was born. Although it is small and known as the island of the outcasts, Spinalonga has a rather interesting story to tell. The island forms a natural defence “mechanism” for Elounda harbour, and in 1579 the Venetians built a mighty fortress here on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. The Venetians kept control of the island even after the rest of Crete fell to the Ottomans in 1669 and it remained under their control for almost another half a century until its capitulation in 1715. Today thousands of tourists visit Spinalonga by boat from Ayios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka each summer as it is the most popular archaeological site in Crete after Knossos.
A walk around Spinalonga –with some of the finest views of the clear blue waters that surround the island– will guide you through the pages of the novel. Strolling around the island takes about an hour, but the serenity of the place and the remnants of its recent history will certainly tempt you into spending much longer. A left turn by the old town hall takes you down to the beautiful seafront; take advantage of the opportunity to take some time for a swim here.