General Information on Elounda
Elounda is a small fishing town on the northern coast of Crete. It belongs to the municipality of Agios Nikolaos in the prefecture of Lasithi. It is a famous tourist attraction, heavily visited by VIPs for its seaside luxury resorts. Ex-prime minister Andreas Papandreou used to spend his summers in Elounda; today, it is frequently visited by the royal family of Saudi Arabia. It has a total population of 2,185 people, based on the 2001 census.
History of Elounda
The earliest recorded settlement at Elounda was the ancient Greek city of Olous, whose people were in intermittent conflict with the citizens of Dorian Lato, until a peace treaty was eventually agreed upon. Elounda was later occupied by the Venetians. The place has changed considerably during the years; the major part of the ancient city of Olous was claimed by the sea in the end of the Ancient period and can still be partly seen when diving in the bay of Elounda. During the early 1900s, Elounda was a stop-off point for lepers who were being transported to the colony of Spinalonga.
Towns & Villages in Elounda
Elounda: Elounda is formed of seven districts and an uninhabited island. The district of Schisma is densely populated and is considered the "downtown". The other districts are Agia Paraskevi, Epano Elounda, Kato Elounda, Epano Pines, Kato Pines, Mavrikiano and Kalydon. Kalydon actually consists of Spinalonga island, Spinalonga peninsula and Kolokythas island. Take the road from Elounda towards Agios Nikolaos; as it reaches the top of the small mountain, make sure to check the view: on a clear day, you may see the whole of Mirabello Bay, all the way to the eastern tip of Crete. Elounda was used for the filming of the BBC television series "Who pays the ferryman?" in the late 1970s; it is the setting for the novel "Out of the Blue" by Belinda Jones, and finally, it is featured in the novel "The Island" by Victoria Hislop.
Plaka: Plaka is a small fishing village. overlooking the island of Spinalonga and is merely 5 km away from Elounda on the road leading away from Agios Nikolaos.
Beaches in Elounda
Elounda is perfect for people seeking peace and relaxation, without feeling isolated. There are many beaches scattered in the surrounding area.
Top Things to Do in Elounda
Spinalonga Island Spinalonga Island is the setting for the bestseller "The Island" by Victoria Hislop. Spinalonga Island is easily accessed by boat from Elounda and the small village of Plaka. Spinalonga is an island fortress on the southwestern entrance in the Gulf of Elounda. After 1904, Spinalonga was used as a gathering point and refuge for Cretans suffering from leprosy. For half a century, this barren rocky island had been home to life’s outcasts, who lived in extreme pain. This place was both the end of their life and the paradise of their dreams. As science progressed and a cure for leprosy was discovered, the lepers were cured and the hospital shut down in 1957. Spinalonga is a recognized archaeological site, and constitutes an identified historical grouping, one of the few examples of Venetian fortifications and fortress-building in Eastern Mediterranean.
How to Reach Elounda
Bus services in Elounda are run by the KTEL bus company, with scheduled services running to Plaka (Lasithi) and Agios Nikolaos throughout the day. The route Agios Nikolaos - Elounda is magnificent, offering a great view towards the Mirabello Bay and takes less than half an hour. From Heraklion, you can reach Elounda in over an hour, while from Rethymno, it takes about 2.5 hours. Finally, the route Chania - Elounda takes approximately 3.5 hours.
Weather in Elounda
Humidity in the area is high due to its proximity to the sea. Winters are fairly mild and snow is rare in low lying areas. The Cretan summer is characterised by average temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, and highs up to 43-44 degrees.
Map of Elounda