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. 

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

4. 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.

Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

5. Day Tour: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, & Kolokitha

You will 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.

Rethymno: Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island Day Trip

6. Rethymno: Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island Day Trip

Discover the charming coastal town of Agios Nikolaos on this day trip from Rethymno. Step back in time as you view the archeological site of Olous from a boat. Go for a dip in Kolokythas bay and take a stroll on the uninhabited island of Spinaloga. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation, then sit back and relax aboard a comfortable and air-conditioned bus. Stop for a coffee break on the way to Agios Nikolaos.  Spend some free time discovering the beauty of Agios Nikolaos where you can see the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, visit the marina, admire neoclassical buildings, and walk along the pedestrian roads. Have some time to purchase lunch at a local establishment before boarding the boat to Spinaloga. View the partially submerged archeological site of Olous from the ship. Soak up some sun on board or go for a dip in the crystal waters of Kolokythas bay. Reach the island of Spinaloga where you will have a 1.5-hour visit to the leper colony and the surrounding pebble beaches and shallow waters. Return to Agios Nikolaos where your bus will be waiting to take you back to your accommodation.

Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

7. 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 : Day Trip Spinalonga , Agios Nikolaos,Elounda & Plaka

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

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.

From Heraklion: Elounda and Spinalonga Full-Day Tour

9. From Heraklion: Elounda and Spinalonga Full-Day Tour

Journey back in time and explore the ancient civilizations of Crete on a private full-day tour to Spinalonga. Drive along the north coast of the island and get an amazing view of the Selinari gorge on the way to the small fishing village of Elounda, known for its gorgeous beach. Board a boat to the small island of Spinalonga, and learn the local history dating back to Ancient Greece. Take a guided tour of the island to explore how it served as a natural defense for the ancient city of Olous and was later used by the Saracens as a hide-out for their pirates. Discover the remains of the Venetian fortifications and learn more about the period of Ottoman rule. Proceed to the sandy Bay of Kolokitha where the boat will be anchored. Enjoy some free time to swim in the crystal clear waters and feast from a BBQ lunch. Return to Elounda to take the bus to the pretty town of Agios Nikolaos, where you can browse the shops and visit the bottomless lake.

Spinalonga and Milatos Cave: Safari Excursion & Speedboat

10. Spinalonga and Milatos Cave: Safari Excursion & Speedboat

This adventure is a perfect blend of a safari and boat ride to the main area of the region. Venture through the breathtaking mountains and valleys, passing through the small villages, and explore smaller islands off the coast. Visit the local olive oil factory and learn how traditional olive oil is made on a free guided tour. On the way back, take in picturesque views of the Gulf of Mirabello and the historical island of Spinalonga. Once arriving at the village of Plaka, board a speedboat for the short ride to Spinalonga, which once served as a leper colony. Take a short tour of the island before heading back to Crete.

Other Sightseeing Options in Spinalonga

Want to discover all there is to do in Spinalonga? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Spinalonga

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,285 reviews

We (family of 5 aged 10-36) thoroughly enjoyed our day trip. Our guides/drivers/sailors were lovely, instructions were all clear about where to meet etc. The coach was nice. The towns we visited were delightful and we had lunch during the trip by the lake. Spinalonga was an amazingly beautiful island and we all enjoyed the boat trip. I even got the opportunity to jump off the boat for a swim on the return trip, which was great. All round fantastic experience and lots of stunning photo opportunities along the way. We even got dropped back directly by our hotel by our lively lady driver on return as we were the last passengers. Wonderful group of people and would highly recommend to anyone wanting an enjoyable sightseeing experience.

This is a must do thing in the Crete. George and Yasin are amazing. They made us feel safe and comfortable. We are complete beginners but we had adventure of our life. Best experience with the best instructors. Highly recommend it. Try it you wont be disappointed. Worth every penny!!!

Helene, Marek and Giannis drive men the best! Recomend english and polish guide - extra travel !!! I recommend, tour guides Helen and Marek, bus driver Giannis everything at its best! We are satisfied with the successful trip

I just give 5 stars because I cannot give more. Everything was amazing. Manuela, one of the guide, was fantastic. She was always clear and helpful.

Brilliant day visiting a couple of great places, would recommend