The road to Elounda from Agios Nikolaos follows the shore, climbing to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top is incomparable. On a clear day the visitor can see all of Mirabello bay, and all the way to the eastern tip of Crete.
Elounda is a beautiful Cretan village with more than 1.500 inhabitants, located in north-eastern Crete in the Lasithi prefecture only 8 klm from Agios Nikolaos and 56 from the city of Heraklion. Recently, with the several excellent hotels, famous for their comforts and the variety of amenities offered, the excellent taverns on the shore, the bars and shops, it has grown into an important tourist centre.
Elounda owes its name to the ancient Greek Olous, which used to be an important ancient city. Some ruins of the city are preserved in the edge of the peninsula but the rest of the city is below sea level with ruins of buildings visible in the sea bed. In summer, scuba diving expeditions through the town are available. Near by are the salt-mines where tonns of salt are produced
Opposite Elounda you will find the majestic island of Spinaloga, a Venetian fortress that was never conquered. For half a century after the Turkish conquest of Crete, Spinaloga remained in the hands of the Venetians and was a refuge for many Christians who fled there to escape from the Turks. In 1715 the islet was handed over to the Turks with the conclusion of a treaty. From 1912 to 1958 the islet served as a sanatorium for the lepers of Crete. Sad tales are told of lepers who would try to escape from the "Isle of Tears", using barrels or wooden bed frames for boats. . In the summer boats leave the harbour every hour, transporting visitors to the small islet of Spinaloga.
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