If you’re looking for a private paradise, with glamour and five-star service, this microcosm of luxury in Crete
will provide everything you need to make you feel like a VIP. It’s the destination of choice for presidents, sheiks, royalty and celebrities. One of the most beautiful areas in Crete is home to a series of luxury resorts, with private beaches, marinas and high standards of service. The surroundings are just as impressive. In the nearby town of Agios Nikolaos, the setting is mythical: a lake that legend says is bottomless. And in the distance sits Spinalonga, a rock-island myth, a fortress rich with history.
What to do in Elounda
The ultimate in luxury
Elounda is home to some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world. Private villas, bungalows and opulent suites of all kinds. Modern design paired with classical glamour. Infinity pools, spas, golf courses, private beaches and marinas, VIP service, gourmet gastronomy, beach bars, pool bars, scuba diving schools and courts for all kinds of sports. In a place with the highest concentration of Greece’s five-star resorts, Elounda is the epitome of a luxurious holiday.
Spinalonga: Inspiration for a bestseller
A fortress, a disease, an island: Spinalonga. Entering the gulf of Elounda you’ll see a fortress that for centuries many tried to conquer: Venetians, Ottomans, refugees, revolutionaries. Years later, it was conquered by a disease: From 1905 to 1957, it was Greece’s designated leper colony. It was this story that inspired the award-winning novel by Victoria Hislop, The Island, which in turn was developed into Greece’s highest-rated television drama. Today, you can take a boat or swim across and you’ll still feel the mystical energy and weighty history that envelops the rock island.
The lake of Agios Nikolaos: A divine sight
This is where the goddesses Athena and Artemis bathed. And you’ll understand why: Lake Voulismeni at Agios Nikolaos looks like a still out of a movie. This is where – the locals will still tell you – the Germans sunk their weapons during their retreat from Crete in the Second World War. Another local legend claims that the lake is bottomless. Whatever you believe, you will lose yourself in the lake’s mystical beauty.
Look, beautiful Mirabello
"Look, beautiful!" the Venetians exclaimed ecstatically when they first encountered its beauty… hence the name, Mirabello (‘look-beautiful’ in Italian). You’ll say the same thing, taking in its lace-like beaches with their crystal-clear water, north and northwest of Agios Nikolaos. A rare beauty, that will reveal all of its secrets to you, especially if you visit by boat. Crete is ready to offer you one of the most exciting experiences of your life.
Images of Elounda
Hidden gems of Elounda
Crete’s villages: beauty in simplicity
Following the route from Elounda towards the west, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the tranquil beauty of the gulf of Elounda that looks almost like a lagoon. Its calm waters and fishing boats will charm you first, and then you’ll see the beautiful island of Spinalonga that sits at the edge of the gulf. Across from Spinalonga you’ll find the picturesque fishing village of Plaka.
Wander around its cobblestone streets and enjoy some of the best fish in the area at the tavernas along the water. Then travel past the abandoned village of Havgas, with a panoramic view of the gulf, and on to the untouched villages of Kastelli and Fourni. Don’t miss the restored Aretiou Monastery with its manicured garden – it is one of the most significant attractions in the area.
The Splendour of Ancient Minoan Olous
Just 10km from Agios Nikolaos you can visit the site of one of the 100 most important cities of ancient Crete, with a population of more than 30,000 inhabitants. Here they worshipped Zeus Tallaeus, the goddess Artemis Britomartys and Apollo.
The town of Agios Nikoloas
The beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos embraces the picturesque lake, and is lined with neoclassical homes, restaurants, bars and shops. The setting is reminiscent of a typical Greek island: it is worth wandering around the town, stopping to enjoy a drink near the marina. In the heart of the town you’ll encounter an exceptional port that has been annually awarded a Blue Flag for its clean waters.