Spinalonga

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Spinalonga: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Agios Nikolaos: Guided Boat Cruise to Spinalonga

1. From Agios Nikolaos: Guided Boat Cruise to Spinalonga

Spinalonga is a magnificent island with fortresses dating from the Venetian period. It is an island of legends, a triumph to survival in the early 20th century from the scourge of leprosy, now a place of great archaeological and historical significance. On Spinalonga island, enjoy the opportunity to visit the Interpretive Centre there and discover the settlements of the victims and survivors of this former illness. Explore the Venetian fortifications and learn all about the long and fascinating history of the island. Take time to walk around the island and see the views of the bay and the fortifications. Later the cruise continues, passing along other points of interest in the Bay of Mirabello such as the cave of the legendary Pirate Barbarosa, the sunken ancient city of Olous, and the island where the endemic and hardy Cretan Kri Kri goats live. Have time to relax and swim in the exquisite turquoise waters of Kolokitha Bay. The 40 m boat features two bars, a lounge, and a restaurant serving Greek and international cuisine at reasonable prices with high-quality service from the crew.

Spinalonga Boat Trip from Elounda Port

2. Spinalonga Boat Trip from Elounda Port

Board one of the traditional wooden boats from Elounda port and let the experienced local crew take you to Spinalonga island. The boat trip begins at approximately 9:30 AM every day from the main port of Elounda village. Stay on the island for an hour and 10 to 20 minutes. In case you stay longer due to the covid situation you might not get on the next one because the capacity of the boats has been reduced and have to wait an extra hour. The last boat trip from Spinalonga usually departs at 6:30 PM. If you want to learn more about the island, you can find local licensed guides on the pier who will bring the island's history to life. Originally, Spinalonga was not an island – it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation, the island was carved out of the coast for defensive purposes and a fort was built there. During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony. Spinalonga has appeared in novels, television series, and a short film.

Cruise to Spinalonga & BBQ at Kolokytha From Agios Nikolaos

3. Cruise to Spinalonga & BBQ at Kolokytha From Agios Nikolaos

Enjoy a fun cruise in the Greek sun with a barbecue by the sea. Explore  Kolokytha Bay and the historical island of Spinalonga. Start your day boarding the boat at the pretty harbour of Agios Nikolaos. Cruise across the beautiful Bay of Mirabello before arriving at the legendary island of Spinalonga.  On Spinalonga island you will have an hour and a half to tour around and explore the Venetian fortifications and old homes of the victims of leprosy. Learn about the history and people who lived on the island during the first half of the 20th century from the printed guide that will be given to you free of charge. Later the boat takes you on the other side of the Kolokytha island and moors at the beach of the same name. Kolokytha is a beautiful bay with crystal-clear turquoise waters. Relax, swim and sunbathe while the boat crew prepares a hearty barbecue for you. Enjoy grilled pork chops, Greek salad, feta cheese, bread, wine and seasonal fruits. 

Heraklion: Spinalonga Island Cruise and Agios Nikolaos Tour

4. Heraklion: Spinalonga Island Cruise and Agios Nikolaos Tour

Explore Crete on a day tour by boat and bus. Discover the town of Agios Nikolaos, cruise through Mirabello Bay, stop for a swim in Kolokytha Bay, and admire the sights of Spinalonga Island, with lunch included. Start with pickup in the morning. First, explore the cosmopolitan town of Agios Nikolaos, the place where the boat sails from, towards the island of Spinalonga. Enjoy a morning walk and have a coffee around its beautiful port and the lake of the town. On Wednesdays, visitors can also enjoy the traditional bazaar as an additional attraction of this town. At midday, set sail on the boat for the cruise portion of the tour. Lunch will be served on the boat. Enjoy the views while crossing the unique Mirabello Bay, the Agios Nikolaos coast, and Elounda. Then the boat will stop at the beautiful bay of Kolokytha where you can swim and dive from the cruise boat into the crystal clear waters. Next, stop on Spinalonga Island, known as "the island of tears." Take a guided tour with professional guides for about 30 minutes and enjoy some free time to admire the views and take photos. Finally, sail back to Agios Nikolaos, where the bus will drop you back at your accommodation. Basic Meal: Grilled chicken Mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber Feta cheese Slice of bread Vegetarian option: Tortilla with vegetables Mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber Feta cheese Slice of bread Vegans may receive the same meal as vegetarians, without the option of feta cheese.

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

5. Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

Travel to northeastern Crete, visit Agios Nikolaos and see its beautiful scenery, and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island on this exciting day tour of some of Crete's most interesting sites. Begin the day with the visit to Agios Nikolaos, and see the shore of Mirabello Bay. Explore the town, famous for the lake at its center and its shopping and cafes. Take your time for a walk to enjoy the views, enjoy some shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the lake. Explore an open-air market on Wednesdays. Move on to see Elounda village, a former fishing village on the northern coast of the island. Depart from Elounda for the cruise to Spinalonga Island. Learn about the island's vibrant history, from a home for the Venetians and Turks to a place of isolation for those suffering from leprosy. Experience the island, more popular after the 2005 historical novel “The Island” about how lepers lived in Spinalonga. Join the hundreds of people who come to the island every day to visit and learn its history.

From Heraklion: Spinalonga Island Guided Cruise Trip & BBQ

6. From Heraklion: Spinalonga Island Guided Cruise Trip & BBQ

Morning Pick up: We will start collecting participants from pick-up points in the morning. Depending on the place of your hotel/apartment the bus drive will differ. Bus Drive: 1 hour 1st stop: Agios Nikolaos Explore the cosmopolitan town of Agios Nikolaos. That’s where the boat sails from, towardsthe island of Spinalonga. Boat Trip: 1 hour 2nd stop: Spinalonga – 1 hour 20 minutes After the cruise through Mirabello bay, our groups will arrive at Spinalonga, the island of tears. There will be a guided tour by professional guides for about 45 minutes and some free time to admire the views and take photos! Boat Trip: 15 minutes 3rd stop: Kolokytha Bay – 1 hour 30 minutes On a quick cruise trip the group will arrive at the beautiful bay of Kolokytha. Enjoy your time by the beach, for swimming, sunbathing and have a BBQ lunch prepared on the spot. Boat Trip: 40 minutes 4th stop: Agios Nikolaos – 1 hour 30 minutes Enjoy somefree time, to explore on your own pace, sit at a cafewith views of the beautiful lake or the port, and wander around this small Cretan town. End of the tour Return to resorts: Embarkation in the buses and drive back to the hotels where we gathered participants in the morning. Depending on traffic and on the pick-up places of each one, the time of journey back to the hotel will differ. Bus Drive: 1 – 1.5 hours BASIC MEAL: Grilled pork steak Mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber Feta cheese Slice of bread ALTERNATIVE FOR PEOPLE NOT EATING PORK (PLEASE MENTION THAT, WHEN MAKING THE BOOKING IN ORDER TO PRE-ORDER THE CHICKEN PORTION): Grilled chicken Mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber Feta cheese Slice of bread VEGETARIAN OPTION: Tortilla with vegetables Mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber Feta cheese Slice of bread Vegans may receive the same meal as vegetarians, without the option of feta cheese. For all participants we offer: Dessert: 1 fresh fruit Drink: a glass of wine or juice

Crete: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos & Kolokitha Tour

7. Crete: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos & Kolokitha Tour

Embark on a full-day trip to the island of Spinalonga from Crete and enjoy a walking tour of the island. Visit the towns of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda and take a swim in the crystal water. Be picked up from the Heraklion area and taken along the picturesque northeast coast through the gorge of St George, reaching the small fishing village of Elounda. Today Elounda is a popular holiday resort, often visited by celebrities for the luxurious white beaches. From there, take the boat to the small island of Spinalonga. The history and the culture of Spinalonga are laced with different diverse strands of history. In Ancient Greek times it served as a natural guard for the city of Olous; later it was used as a hide-out for Saracen pirates, turned into a fortress by the Venetians, and later settled by the Turks.  After your visit to the island of Spinalonga (1.5 hours), the boat will head for one of the bays in the area. Swim in the crystal clear waters, and then savor a delicious barbecue served on board. Later, return to Elounda, where you take the bus to go to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos. Enjoy shopping, exploring and marveling at the bottomless lake there. At the tour's end, the bus will take you back to Heraklion area.

Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

8. Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

Reach the cosmopolitan city of Agios Nikolaos on the Gulf of Mirabello, passing the north-east coast and St. George’s Gorge. Agios Nikolaos is famous for its picturesque bottomless lake, explored by the ocean researcher Jaques Cousteau and the subject of numerous legends. Discover the pretty city on your own, stroll through the shops, or relax in one of the cafes and watch the world go by. Continue to Elounda, enjoying some of the most beautiful views of Crete. Look across the Elounda Lagoon at the enchanting islands of Spinalonga and Kolokitha. Spinalonga has been an important place throughout history. Have some time to explore the island on your own. After a short drive you will reach Plaka, a small fishing village directly opposite Spinalonga. From there a 10-minute boat ride takes you to the island. Plaka was the ferry port of the leper colony, whose history was documented in a book and a Greek television series. Visit the filming sites, enjoy lunch or have a refreshing swim. The last stop of the day is Elounda, a former fishing village but today a famous holiday resort with the most 5-star hotels in Greece. Take plenty of time to stroll through the picturesque harbor and have a cup of coffee before heading back to your accommodation.

Crete: Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda, & Plaka Day Trip

9. Crete: Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda, & Plaka Day Trip

Meet your local guide and enjoy comfortable transportation. Make your first stop at Agios Nikolaos, on the Gulf of Mirabello. The place is famous for its picturesque lake, explored by the ocean researcher Jaques Cousteau. Walk along the city on your own, stroll through the shops or relax. After that,we drive to the beautiful harbor of Elounda where we will get on board to visit the island of Spinalonga.At Spinalonga Island you can choose to join an English guided tour or explore the island by yourself. If you do not wish to visit the archaeological site at all, you can join a one-hour boat trip to a secret location and dive into the crystal clear water. The history and the culture of the island of Spinalonga became one with human tragedy in the course of time. This small isle carries within the history of Ancient Greece, as it served as a natural guard for the ancient city of Olous; the history of Saracens as a hide-out for their pirates; the history of Venetians as their fortress; the history of Turks as their settlement (english-speaking guided tour on the island). After our visit to the island of Spinalonga (stay 1 ½ hours), we depart for one of the bays around. Here you have plenty of time for swimming at the crystal clear waters, tasting the BBQ served on board. The menu includes pork* chop BBQ, greek salad, feta cheese, bread, wine or Fanta and seasonal fruit.(EVERY SUNDAY the dinner is in a tavern we DONT have BBQ on board) After a short drive, reach Plaka a small fishing village. Plaka was the ferry port of the leper colony, whose history was documented in a book and a Greek television series. Last stop the capital town of Lasithi, Agios Nikolaos. Relax in a café next to the bottomless Lake of Voulismeni and enjoy your walk to the local shops.Visit the filming sites or have a refreshing swim before heading back to your accommodation.

Agios Nikolaos: Private Motorboat or RIB Boat Rental

10. Agios Nikolaos: Private Motorboat or RIB Boat Rental

Rent your own motorboat or RIB boat and discover the picturesque islands and scenic views around Crete. Create your own itinerary and explore islands such as Agioi Pantes or Spinalonga, or the beaches of Agriomantra and Kolokytha. After check-in, set off from the port of Agios Nikolaos on your adventure. Choose a route that interests you and explore lesser-known areas off the coast of Crete. You can sail to the uninhabited island of Agioi Pantes. Spot the former church which is located at the top of the island. You may also see the endangered species of Cretan mountain goats, called “Kri-Kri”. Sail to the beautiful island of Spinalonga located 800 meters off the coast. Admire the views of the 16th-century Venetian fortress, which also served as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. Make a stop for swimming at Kolokytha, one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. Hike along the pathway that takes you from the beach to the church of Agios Loukas and the Byzantine chapel of Agios Fokas. You may also choose to sail towards Agriomantra, a beach that is found at the end of Agriomantra’s gorge and is of outstanding natural beauty. Relax beneath the Tamarisk trees which offer natural shade, while there are barbecues and benches to have a picnic on the beach.

Other Sightseeing Options in Spinalonga

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What people are saying about Spinalonga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,285 reviews

Guide was excellent and I liked hearing the info given in English French and German - somehow made for better comprehension. People in the group were considerate of each other. The boat trip to Spinalonga and time spent there was the main event and Spinalonga is amazing for its history and architecture; and taking a stroll there felt like being on a nature preserve surrounded by sea. There was free time to do this as well as to relax or shop in Elounda and Agios Nikolaos and I really appreciated the loose structure. It was a long day and by the end I was pretty exhausted. The final stop was at an olive oil plant. Wish I had been prepared with a gift list because there were choice products there besides the oil including products made with olive wood.

Spinalonga is a fascinating place to visit. As regards the Boat trip from Elounda, our voucher was timed for 1100 but we were able to get on an earlier one with no problem. The captain advised on arrival at Spinalonga that the boat would be returning to Elounda in 1 hour and twenty minutes, however if we wished to stay longer then the boats were every 40 minutes (end of May) and you may not get on the one you want and have to wait longer. There are lots of boats operating from various places so it could be confusing which one to get (no signage) on the return however, they announced the boat as for Elounda when it arrived so no problem :)

Excursion very good, Serge is nice and explains things very well in French, very pretty landscape and a little time to swim. Thanks to the company it was great. We can eat inside but be careful they don't take the credit card, to do again!

A great day out on the water took us to ‘plague island’. The knowledgeable and passionate guide brought the buildings to life and we had enough time to explore the island and take a break afterwards.

Fabulous day out, beautiful part of the island and a well organised trip. Coach was clean and air conditioned, rep was helpful.