SPINALONGA

So close, and yet so distant.
So light in color, so dark in stories.
A rocky, unoccupied islet right at the mouth of Elounda’s natural port -originally part of Crete, which was carved out during Venetian occupation for defensive purposes.
The Venetians were the ones who named the island as well, since spina longa means long thorn in Italian. From fortress to leper colony -from 1903 to 1957- Spinalonga has been a symbol, a strategic point, an inspiration. Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel The Island takes place here, and since its publication -which spawned a Greek television series called To Nissi (The Island)- Spinanolga has become the second most popular destination in Crete.
A shroud of mystery covers its empty, narrow streets and the ruins of Venetian and Turkish homes, even in broad daylight. In addition, the lack of accommodation and the visiting restrictions -all tours last only a few hours- create
a unique and fascinating atmosphere for its visitors.
Spinalonga is easily accessible by boat from both Elounda (15′) and Aghios Nikolaos (60′) as tourist boats depart from both towns on a daily basis.

PLACES TO VISIT

Whether you are a cultural aficionado, a nature lover or an urban explorer, there’s much to see and even more to do. Crete’s past and present intertwined in magical landscapes, unique monuments and exciting venues!
Just 5km south of Heraklion lays Knossos. A Minoan city that flourished during the Bronze Age more than 4 millennia ago and remained a significant trade and cultural centre for almost 1,500 years. Its main site is the Minoan Palace on the Kephala hill, a once 20,000 sq.m. multi-storey building which was the seat of legendary king Minos. It includes a vast number of living areas and workshops, and it’s connected to various Greek myths -such as the trip of Theseus, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, and of course the life of the famous craftsman Daedalus and his son Icarus.
The Palace’s extensive reconstruction was carried out by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Today, its unique architectural, structural and artistic features have made Knossos a top tourist destination in Greece, second only to Athens’ Parthenon.

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