One-Day Trip To Spinalonga Island, The Island Of The Living Dead!
The famous Spinalonga Island of Elounda, is located opposite of Lasithi. Its special history and reputation have made it one of the most popular attractions of Crete. A visit to Plaka village in Agios Nikolaos and the island of Spinalonga is a day trip worth doing during your holiday in Crete.
Take the boat from Plaka to Spinalonga
The beautiful square of Plaka, Lasithi
The traditional houses in Plaka
The settlement of Plaka belongs to Vrouchas village of Agios Nikolaos, located 16 km. north of Lasithi. This place was almost unknown the previous years. The successful best seller novel by Victoria Hislop “The Island”, as well as the homonymous TV series that was filmed there, revealed the beauty Plaka! A picturesque neighborhood with amazing restaurants, very friendly people and a sense from bygone decades diffusing into the atmosphere.
On your trip there you will see many locals and foreign strolling and eating fresh fish. The entire Plaka is the old buildings in the promenade over the sea and the central street which bear witness to the past of the region. From the beautiful port of Plaka, you can take one of the small boats transporting visitors to Spinalonga Island every 30 minutes during the summer months.
Spinalonga Island, the Island of the living dead!
Spinalonga Island is a small arid and barren rocky island of 85 acres at the natural harbor of Elounda, Lasithi Crete. Due to its strategic position was fortified and acquired different roles and uses over the centuries. Even the reference to the name of the island was taboo for many years as it was identified with the pain and suffering of Lepers living there, isolated from the local community. In spite of the adversities, these people were able to develop a society with its own rules and values.
The Leper’s hospital in Spinalonga
The iron gate of the island
When you reach Spinalonga Island, you enter the castle from the entrance with an iron “waterfall” and you need about 1 hour to make the tour of the island on foot. You can wander the cobbled streets searching for the remains of the marvelous civilization that the inhabitants had developed through nothing. The ruins of the castle, the wall, the Ottoman market, the houses, the hospital and the school are indicative of how people lived at that time.
The supernatural inner strength of those people who despite their illness and social marginalization, continued to work, to be educated and to live with dignity until 1957. Years of abandonment and devastation followed when the last patient left, as the locals tried to erase from their memory everything that happened there.
In 1970 the island was declared as a protected archaeological site. The excavations started, the buildings were demolished and the maintenance works on the walls begun. Today, Spinalonga is the third most visited archaeological site in the country after Acropolis and Knossos, with thousands of visitors from around the world to pay tribute to the greatness of the human soul.
Enjoy a delicious Cretan meal in Plaka, after your trip to Spinalonga Island!
If you are a fan of seafood you can visit the taverns “Palirroia” , “Captain Nicholas” or “Spinalonga“. Fresh fish and shellfish are waiting for an unprecedented culinary journey! If you’re looking for something different, you can visit “Charoupia” to taste amazing Smyrna fagot, or the “tavern of Mrs. Mary”, the oldest in Plaka, for rabbit stew. Delicious meat dishes, you can find in “Ladolemono“. If you simply want to relax, there is no more appropriate choice than the traditional cafe “Pefko” where you can drink ouzo, raki and tsipouro accompanied with delicious fresh octopus.
Go for a swim in Kolokytha beach of Elounda
From Spinalonga you can take the boat that goes to the port of Elounda. The trip includes a tour of the peninsula “Kolokytha” (Pumpkin). The beautiful “Kolkytha” beach with its turquoise water and white sand composes a heaven and exotic scenery. On the beach there are trees to relax under the shade. You will agree that “Kolokytha” beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete! At the end, you will realize that this trip is one of the things you should definitely do on your Crete holidays!
Spinalonga island is considered as the Highlight of Lasithi, but it is not the only one. Find a nice holiday Cretan villa in Lasithi and make small daily excursions to the cosmopolitan Elounda and Agios Nikolaos, the picturesque Sitia and Ierapetra, or the peaceful Istro and Makry Gialos.
Lovers of history and ancient civilizations will definitely find their paradise in Crete! Apart …
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