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Facts & Tips about Spinalonga Island in Crete

Spinalonga island (official name is Kalydon) is located in Lassithi, opposite Plaka village, in the Gulf of Elounda (north-eastern Crete)

The place is naturally beautiful, with amazing views to the gulf and with its sublime beauty of ruins, it leaves a bittersweet taste as you visit.

(View of Spinalonga Fortress as you approach the island)

HISTORY

The island was fortified from its earliest years in order to protect the entrance of the port.

As per the Venetian cartographer Vincenzo coroneli, Spinalonga used to be linked with the adjacent peninsula. However in 1526, the Venetians cut down a portion of this peninsula creating the island.

The island served as a leper colony from the 18th century until 1957 when the last leper left.

(Walking through Spinalonga small roads)

HOW & WHEN TO VISIT SPINALONGA 

Boats sail from the pretty port of Plaka, from Elounda or from Agios Nikolaos.

Spinalonga is the second more popular monument after Knossos.

It can be visited from April 1st until October 31st and it is daily open from 09:00 – 19:00

In the winter it is closed, but it can be opened on request for groups.

The tickets cost 8 € per adults

As per the ministry of Culture, free admission days are:

  • 18th of April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18th of May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September (European Heritage Days)
  • 28th of October

(Views from the top of Spinalonga)

USEFUL INFO & TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT

  • In order to fully go round, it can take up to 2hours or so.
  • From Elounda it takes 20 minutes on the boat, from Plaka it takes just a few minutes to arrive to the island.
  • Make sure to take proper, comfortable, training shoes with you as the ground can be slippery at times.
  • The views from the top of the fort are breathtaking, make sure to take plenty of photos.
  • It can be windy sometimes, so be watch your hats.
  • It is recommended to wear hats, sunglasses and have a good sunscreen on too!
  • Also, bring some water with you as the water on the island can be a bit more expensive.
  • If you visit during the high season months (Mid June to Mid September) it is best if you go in the morning time, as it can be rather crowded after 12:00.

(Spinalonga as seen from Plaka)

“Spinalonga. She played with the word rolling it around her tongue like an olive stone. The island lay directly ahead and as the boat approached the great Venetian fortification which fronted the sea […]. This, she speculated, might be a place where history was still warm, not stone cold, where the inhabitants were really not mythical”……. as Victoria Hislop wrote in her best-selling book “The Island”.

More information by VisitGreece & The Ministry of Culture

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Images: Credits to their owners retrieved from TripAdvisor

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