If you’re looking for a touch of paradise, with glamour and five-star service, this microcosm of luxury in Crete will provide everything to make you feel special. One of the most beautiful areas in Crete has hotels and resorts to match, along with the charm of the area’s main town, Agios Nikolaos, and its mythical lake. And in the distance lies tiny Spinalonga, a fortress island rich with history.
What to do in Elounda
The town of Agios Nikolaos
The beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos embraces a picturesque lake and is lined with neoclassical homes, restaurants, bars and shops. The setting is reminiscent of a typical Greek island and it’s worth just wandering around, stopping to enjoy a drink near the marina.
As for the lake, you’ll understand immediately why this is where the goddesses Athena and Artemis bathed. It has a movie-making appeal. Locals still recall how the Germans sunk their weapons here during their retreat from Crete in the Second World War. Another local legend claims that the lake is bottomless. Whatever you believe, you’ll lose yourself in its mystical beauty.
Spinalonga: Inspiration for a bestseller
Entering the Gulf of Elounda, you’ll see a fortress that for centuries many tried to conquer. 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 a popular Greek television drama. Today, you can take a boat or swim across and you’ll still feel the mystical energy and weighty history of the island.
"Look, beautiful!" the Venetians exclaimed when they first encountered Mirabello – and the name stuck. You’ll say the same thing when you witness the sandy coves and clear water, north and northwest of Agios Nikolaos.
The ultimate in luxury
Elounda has the highest concentration of five-star resorts in Greece. Private villas, bungalows, luxury suites… whatever you fancy, you’ll find it here.
Hidden gems of Elounda
Cretan villages: beauty in simplicity
Across from Spinalonga, you’ll find the picturesque fishing village of Plaka, where you can wander through cobblestone streets and dine in waterfront fish tavernas. 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 well-tended garden – it’s 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, whose population numbered more than 30,000. Here they worshipped Zeus Tallaeus, the goddess Artemis Britomartys and Apollo.
Experience the best of Elounda - Αgios Nikolaos
You’ll be hooked by Spinalonga’s storied past
- The lake of Agios Nikolaos
- Cretan villages