Elounda
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Elounda Culture & History

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

1. 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.

Agios Nikolaos:Have Fun Cruising Agios Nikolaos -Elounda Bay

2. Agios Nikolaos:Have Fun Cruising Agios Nikolaos -Elounda Bay

Experience a boat trip on the bright blue waters of Mirabello Bay with this unforgettable cruise from Agios Nikolaos. Sip on local drinks while tasting fresh fruits. Swim thorugh azure waters at two swim stops and admire views of the former leper colony at Spinalonga island. Cruise starts from Agios Nikolaos harbor at 11:00 AM. It takes about an hour of a slow cruise along Mirabello gulf to arrive at Kolokytha beach. The boat will anchor there and you will able to enjoy the turquoise, crystal clear waters for about one hour and a half. Relax on the boat, explore this isolated beaches, and have fun while making new friends from all over the world. Then head to Spinalonga, the famous lepers’ island. Cruise around the Island and then before heading to a second hidden paradise for snorkeling and relax Have the chance to stop for approximately one hour and a half. Enjoy a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling .The romantic atmosphere of the island along with the extraordinary landscapes makes the cruise ideal for unforgettable memories surrounded by your family and closest friends. Get access on the boat to two bars, a lounge, and a restaurant serving Greek and international cuisine with high-quality service from the experienced crew. Return to your meeting point at the end of the cruise.

Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

3. Zeus Cave and Lassithi Plateau Day Tour

Start your tour with pick up in an air-conditioned Land Rover from your accommodations at 10 AM and head into the Dikti Mountain Range. You'll pass through several traditional and very picturesque mountain villages. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos or to have a coffee at a real taverna. At the Lassithi Plateau, you might see eagles and vultures, as both nest around this area. Next, you’ll reach the base of Mount Spathi. The Psychro Cave, the birth place of the Greek god Zeus, is located on the north face of Spathi. You’ll walk 15 minutes up the steep hill to the entrance of the cave and from there follow the path down into the spectacular cave.   Next, enjoy a traditional Cretan meze lunch with local wine. After lunch, you'll continue around the plateau and then descend taking in views of the north coast and the impressive Aposelemis Dam. You will then visit a 2400-year-old plane tree, the oldest on the island, as well as the Selinari Monastery.

Crete: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Kolokitha, & BBQ

4. Crete: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Kolokitha, & BBQ

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.

Crete: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Guided Tour

5. Crete: Knossos Palace & Heraklion Guided Tour

Start your day with pickup from selected regions in Crete and first head to Heraklion for a guided tour of Knossos Palace. Walk through this Minoan palace with your guide and find out how people lived here 4,000 years ago. The Throne Room, the frescoes, and the Minoan columns will allow you to imagine how the Minoans once lived. Continue towards the city center of Heraklion where you can visit the Archaeological Museum and the town itself. The Archaeological Museum brings together findings from all over Crete, covering over 5,500 years of the island's history.   Head to the Heraklion town center and walk through Daidalou Street to Lion Square and the famous Morosini Fountain of the Venetian era. Explore the permanent outdoor market of the town and the Valide Mosque, a remnant of Turkish influences. Explore the Venetian Loggia and head to the sea and the Koules Fortress before being dropped back off at your hotel.  

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

6. 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.

Crete: Monastery, Lasithi Plateau & Dictaean Cave Day Trip

7. Crete: Monastery, Lasithi Plateau & Dictaean Cave Day Trip

Visit an Orthodox nunnery, the village of Psychrom the Dictaean Cave, and see a local potter at work in his workshop. Explore the Lasithi Plateau, and make a stop for lunch while learning about the Plateau's history. Visit a small traditional village on the slope of Selena Mountain, and enjoy beautiful views of Crete on this interesting and unique day tour. Visit the Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa, an Orthodox nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, situated near the village of Kera at an altitude of 650m. See the nunnery, famous for the icon of Mary believed to be miraculous, the nunnery's fortified walls, and its 14th and 15th-century murals. Stop next at the village of Psychro, and walk to reach the Dictaean Cave, just above the village of Psychro. See the cave, considered a sacred place of cult worship, and according to Greek mythology, it is believed to be the place where Zeus, the father of Greek gods, was kept and fed from Amalthia. See the most impressive sight is the lake at the lowest point, surrounded by massive stalactites and stalagmites, before moving on to the village of Psychro, where a local potter displays the steps of ceramic art at his ceramic workshop, where anyone interested may give pottery a try. Reach the northern entrance of the Lasithi Plateau, and stop at Seli Ambelou for a lunch break. Take in a panoramic view of the plateau, where in the 1950s and 1960s, was one of Europe's first wind farms. Stop in Krasi, a small traditional village set on the slope of Selena Mountain, and see its huge ancient plane tree, where the leaves and the branches of the tree provide shade all over the square in a unique and unspoiled environment. Finish the tour at Krasi, and return to your hotel.

Knossos Palace and Village Pottery Tour

8. Knossos Palace and Village Pottery Tour

Explore the Palace of Knossos and learn the traditional craft of pottery on this tour of Cretan culture and heritage. After pickup at your hotel, start your day at the Palace of Knossos, one of the birthplaces of the modern world. Visit the palaces, the villas and other excavated buildings. Continue to a traditional pottery village in the mountains, driving on pretty roads lined with olive trees. See how Cretans have produced their wonderful pottery for thousands of years. Enjoy the fantastic opportunity to try your hand at this ancient craft, with the guidance of a master potter.  During the tour, enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant with wine or water included. At the end of a wonderful day, start the drive back to your hotel, where you’ll be dropped off.

Spinalonga Island Guided Day Trip with Tavern Lunch & Wine

9. Spinalonga Island Guided Day Trip with Tavern Lunch & Wine

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel by spacious bus through small towns to the picturesque fishing village of Elounda. Then, board a privately booked traditional wooden fishing boat which will take you on a short cruise to the island of Spinalonga. Hear as your professional guide will share insights and stories of a former leper colony and the history of Spinalonga Island. After a guided walking tour on the island, board the boat and sail to the beautiful village of Plaka. Upon arrival, enjoy a lunch of local specialties in a traditional Greek tavern with a cozy atmosphere. Choose between fresh fish or chicken, enjoy some local wine, and enjoy the views of the coastline. Next, visit a local herb plantation where a variety of natural plant products are cultivated. Learn about the various essential oils produced at the site and then enjoy a leisurely stroll through the large gardens. Finally, visit the town of Agios Nikolaos for some time for further exploring and shopping. At the end of the tour, the bus will take you back to your pickup point near your hotel.

Crete: Lasithi Plateau and Knossos Palace Day Tour

10. Crete: Lasithi Plateau and Knossos Palace Day Tour

Visit the monastery of Kera Kardiotissa and the Dictaean Cave then meet a potter at work on this exciting day trip. You’ll see panoramic views of the Lasithi Plateau and discover the epic Minoan Palace of Knossos. Your first stop is the Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa, an Orthodox nunnery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, situated near the village of Kera. Famous for the icon of Mary, believed to be miraculous, it’s surrounded by fortified walls and the church features murals dating back to the 14th century. The next stop is the village of Psychro, where you’ll take a walk to reach the Dictaean Cave, found above the village of Psychro at 1025 meters altitude. According to Greek mythology, it’s believed to be the place where Zeus, the father of Greek gods, was kept and fed from Amalthia, a goat, in secret to be protected from his father.  A most impressive sight is the lake at the lowest point, surrounded by massive stalactites and stalagmites. In the village of Psychro, a local potter will show the process of making his art at his ceramic workshop, following centuries-old traditions. A great opportunity to try it for yourself!  The next stop is Seli Ambelou for lunch with a panoramic view of the Lassithi Plateau.  It’s then time for the final destination, a visit to Knossos Palace, the capital of Minoan civilization. You’ll walk through the ancient site and learn how the citizens, believed to be the first Europeans in an organized community, lived 4,000 years ago. You’ll explore the palace and learn about the throne room, the frescoes, and the Minoan columns. 

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What people are saying about Elounda

This was a absolutely great day trip! Our guide Minas was the best, we really enjoyed the day with him. We were picked up in a nice Range Rover, first stop was Olive Oil plant, we leaned a lot and got to taste samples. Minas knew so much about the island, wild herbs as we stopped along the way, visited local villages, saw a gorge, stopped and met a local woman, tasted wild herbs, it was so much more then we expected!! The hike up to Zeus Cave was a bit longer and harder then expected, we were slower then the rest of our group, so we did feel a little rushed only having an hour total. ( Took us 30 min. up) But we all met up a restaurant nearby and had a wonderful authentic greek meal. Overall it was a fabulous day, with lots of stopes, and a great local guide, Minas made it even better!

Très belle excursion. J’ai trouvé ce que je recherchais au sein de celle-ci, c’est-à-dire pouvoir me déplacer sans me préoccuper de quoi que ce soit, découvrir différents endroits qui méritent d’être vu, tout en ayant du temps libre pour soi. Le guide est présent au sein de la journée sans être trop présent à mon goût. Je recommande!

The whole day was lovely, The guides Michael and Eleanor were helpful and informative, with just the right amount of information. Everything went to plan, time to have coffee and shop in Agios Nikolaus and Elounda and walk around Spinalonga island. Thank you to all involved on the coach and boats.

Nice experience to get out of the city and see some lovely towns

Brilliant day visiting a couple of great places, would recommend