Elounda Crete: A Complete Guide For Travellers

Elounda Crete: A Complete Guide For Travellers


Hidden away on the japanese coast of Crete, Elounda is a fairly fishing village which is the proper vacation spot for a calming seaside getaway.

You’ll love Elounda when you’re in search of a standard Greek resort which isn’t too crowded or commercialized. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply there’s nothing to do right here. In the event you’re planning on travelling to Greece, then contemplate including this hidden gem to your itinerary.

Spend your days enjoyable on the seashore or bathing in crystal clear water. Discover fairly streets and admire the gorgeous surroundings. The coastal paths are excellent for strolling, and you may discover the encircling space and get to know this a part of Crete a bit higher. 

We liked the genuine Greek really feel of Elounda, the friendliness of the locals we met, and the commonly relaxed environment of the village. Furthermore, the view throughout the bay is spectacular. I might have spent my complete week simply gazing out to sea — this is among the most enjoyable locations to go to in Greece. 

On this journey information to Elounda Crete, I’ll checklist the most effective issues to do, the place to eat, the place to remain, the most effective seashores, and tips on how to get round. 

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Issues To Do In Elounda Crete

We stayed in Elounda for 7 nights and though it’s a low-key place, we discovered loads of issues to do. We wish to get out and about exploring however when you like to spend so much of time on the seashore then you would keep longer.

Elounda is the proper base for leisurely walks, and regardless of the place you’re within the village, you’re just about assured a beautiful view of the bay. In the event you love the water, you’ll be delighted with the crystal clear sea right here on the Jap Cretan coast.

Listed here are among the finest issues to do in Elounda, Crete:

Discover the Harbour

Most likely the very first thing you’ll wish to do while you arrive in Elounda is to take a stroll across the central city. Right here, you’ll discover the picturesque harbour with every little thing from conventional fishing boats to rowing boats.

Stroll alongside the harbour to the east and also you’ll cross a few of Elounda’s widespread tavernas earlier than you come to the primary seashore. In the event you stroll south alongside the harbour entrance, you’ll be rewarded with among the city’s extra unique eating places overlooking the bay. 

Stroll to The Sunken Metropolis of Olous

Proceed additional south of the resort and also you’ll come to the Sunken Metropolis of Olous. Olous was an historic Greek metropolis from the Minoan age. Don’t anticipate to see apparent ruins under the ocean, though when you look rigorously you can also make out among the historic partitions.

Some stories recommend that Olous was sunk attributable to volcanic exercise however others say it’s extra probably that it simply sunk slowly over a few years. For vacationers at the moment, it makes for an fascinating place to go to for a delicate coastal stroll outdoors the primary resort. In the event you’re eager on discovering the ruins under the water, take your snorkel gear.

Take a Boat Journey to Spinalonga

One of many highlights of our journey to Crete was a go to to Spinalonga. The island is a former leper colony. Victims from Crete (and typically mainland Greece) had been forcibly relocated to the island in an try and cease the unfold of the illness.

Though fairly notorious domestically, Spinalonga was made well-known by the publication of Victoria Hislop’s novel, The Island. The guide tells the story of the Fielding household which is caught up within the drama of leprosy and Spinalonga island. It’s truly a terrific learn so when you’re in search of some vacation studying throughout your keep in Crete, I extremely advocate it.

The leper colony on Spinalonga was closed in 1957, some years after a remedy was discovered for the horrible illness. 

How To Get To Spinalonga Island

For a very long time, Greek officers most popular to overlook about Spinalonga, however that every one modified when vacationers, impressed by Hislop’s novel, began asking to go to.

Now you can go to Spinalonga for your self by taking a ship throughout from the primary island. Boats go away repeatedly from Elounda harbour and take roughly 30 minutes to achieve the boat dock at Spinalonga.

It prices 10 Euros per particular person or 5 Euros for youngsters. It’s a pleasing journey and also you’ll get to see extra of the coast as you cruise throughout.

For a shorter crossing to the island, head to the close by village of Plaka. There’s loads of free parking in Plaka close to to the boat docks which makes it a straightforward choice in case you have a automotive.

Boats depart at common intervals from two boat docks so when you’ve simply missed the primary one then stroll a bit additional alongside the harbour and take a look at the opposite one. It’s a brief 10-minute crossing from Plaka and prices eight Euros per particular person. Boats from each places begin from round 10 am and run at common intervals all day till round 4 – 4:40 pm.

spinalonga island crete

Exploring Spinalonga Island

As soon as on the island of Spinalonga, you could purchase an entrance ticket on the small kiosk for eight Euros. Stroll by means of the archway and also you’ll emerge right into a world of slim lanes and colored homes. Inside a few of them, you’ll discover shows with info on their former inhabitants. It’s each fascinating and reasonably unhappy, particularly when you’ve learn Hislop’s guide.

Most of the buildings have already been restored however extra work is at present underway. As you allow the primary settlement you stroll across the base of the hill and when you lookup you’ll see that there are ruins stretching proper as much as the highest.

Though most guests appear to stay to the primary pathway on the backside, the higher ranges are accessible when you don’t thoughts scrambling up a couple of slopes and rocky steps. I’d advocate making the journey up for some fabulous views again throughout the bay to Plaka and Elounda. You additionally get a birds-eye view of the settlement of Spinalonga.

In the event you’re staying in Agios Nikolaos or wish to mix your journey to Spinalonga with swimming and lunch, then there’s a half-day tour obtainable domestically. Anticipate to pay round 25-30 Euros for a half-day cruise with stops for swimming and snorkelling, together with lunch.

Go to the Windmills

In the event you like strolling, then head south from Elounda harbour and also you’ll come to the saltpans in your proper. Look rigorously into the water and also you’ll see stone squares. Typically folks confuse these with the sunken ruins of Oleus however they’re truly salt pans.

The saltwater collects within the squares and when the water evaporates, salt is left within the backside. Employees stability on the low stone partitions to scrape the salt from the underside of the squares. An ingenious system.

elounda windmill on crete

Hold strolling and cross the small stone bridge and also you’ll come to the Kolokytha Peninsula. As you cross the bridge, you’ll see the primary windmill.

Because of the form of the panorama, the peninsula types a breakwater which makes Elounda Bay so tranquil. There are three stone windmills right here, constructed to make the most of the wind on this a part of the peninsula. This can be a pretty space for strolling. In the event you’d wish to go additional there are a variety of trails which head up and over the hill to some uncrowded seashores.

Greatest Day Journeys from Elounda Village

Go to Close by Plaka

Plaka is a picturesque small village about 5km north of Elounda and it’s effectively value making the journey to take a look round. In the event you’ve acquired a automotive then it’s a straightforward drive alongside the coastal highway and there’s loads of parking obtainable in Plaka simply off the primary highway.

For these with out transport, there’s a small vacationer prepare which makes the journey a number of instances a day and there’s a public bus though it solely runs a couple of instances a day.

You’ll discover loads of eating places to select from alongside the harbour and Plaka’s fish eating places are significantly widespread. Plaka can also be a great start line for a go to to Spinalonga Island because the boat journey is just 10 minutes from right here. Make a day of it and take a look at the gorgeous seashores round Plaka and browse the memento outlets across the harbour.

Regardless of its rising recognition, Plaka nonetheless feels historically Greek. Plaka is a vacationer vacation spot but it surely’s a lot smaller and quieter than Elounda. Though it’s busier in July once they maintain a music pageant in honour of an area musician, Mikalis Papadakis. 

day trip to plaka from elounda

Trip the Little Blue Practice

In addition to offering a enjoyable transport choice between Elounda and Plaka, the little blue prepare additionally gives sightseeing excursions. You may take a four-hour journey from Elounda into the Cretan countryside. You’ll get to see some conventional villages and there are a lot of alternatives to get some fabulous pictures from excessive within the hills.

The prepare makes quite a lot of stops the place you possibly can wander by means of the picturesque villages, pattern among the native delicacies, store for souvenirs and discover fascinating church buildings. In the event you don’t have a automotive then it’s a superb approach to get out and about and see extra of the gorgeous Cretan panorama.

The tour prices 18 Euros per particular person. The prepare departs from Elounda at 12 pm and returns at 6 pm. Lunch isn’t included however the prepare does make a cease at an area taverna the place you should buy food and drinks.

Discover Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is roughly 10km south of Elounda and is an efficient alternative when you’re in search of someplace a bit extra energetic for a time out. Right here, you’ll discover a bustling coastal city with loads of outlets, eating places and bars. The harbour space is especially good for strolling and when you observe it round, you’ll come to the marina.

Agios Nikolaus crete greece

You may attain Agios Nikolaos in just some minutes by automotive and we had no downside discovering on-street parking. There’s additionally a parking lot close to the primary harbour space. In the event you don’t wish to drive then the little blue prepare additionally goes this manner, or it’s a brief hop by taxi. We did see fairly a couple of folks strolling as effectively!

Go to Knossos Palace

No go to to Crete can be full with out a go to to the well-known Minoan ruins of Knossos. Famend as the situation of the legendary labyrinth, Knossos Palace is simply south of Heraklion.

Right here you’ll discover in depth archaeological excavations of the palace which date again to round 2AD. Nonetheless, settlements have existed on this web site because the Neolithic interval, round 7000-9000 BC, so it’s an exceptionally fascinating place.

You’ll actually need a automotive to get right here from Elounda and I counsel that you just arrive early as (free) parking is restricted and it will get very busy. Tickets to the archaeological web site value 15 Euros, and you should buy them on the entrance. Don’t fear if there’s a line because it strikes shortly.

The positioning opens at eight am and in summer time is open as late as eight pm. You’ll take pleasure in it extra when you go to early or late because the ruins will not be lined and are thus absolutely uncovered to the solar. Put on smart sneakers for strolling and climbing up and down uneven steps and take water with you. Anticipate to spend not less than 2 hours exploring, extra when you’re significantly fascinated by historical past.

knossos on crete island greece

The place To Keep in Elounda Crete

If you wish to be inside strolling distance of gorgeous seashores, fabulous tavernas, eating places and bars then select to remain in an Elounda lodge inside the primary village space. Elounda itself isn’t very large and you may simply stroll in all places when you base your self close to the primary seashore or harbour.

For wonderful views throughout the bay, I’d advocate staying on the hill overlooking the city. In the event you’re in search of someplace a bit particular, another choice for many who wish to get away from all of it is to remain at one of many luxurious Elounda motels on the highway to Plaka.

Adrakos Flats

We stayed right here for 7 nights and it’s a fantastic family-run residence advanced. Nice for {couples} because it’s an adults-only facility. Every room has a small kitchen space however the true enchantment is the balcony or terrace going through throughout the bay. The views are completely spectacular.

You’ll want a automotive when you’re going to remain right here because it’s simply outdoors the primary resort space of Elounda however there’s free parking obtainable. Adrakos has a well-liked restaurant and bar on web site and so they even have a big pool, so that you don’t must drive every single day when you don’t wish to. A studio residence prices from round $90 an evening. Click on right here to study extra.

adrakos apartmenst elounda crete

Sentido Elounda Blu

A part of the Sentido Lodges group, Sentido Elounda Blu is the selection for you when you need pure luxurious and rest. It’s situated on the highway between Elounda and Plaka overlooking the magnificent bay and Spinalonga Island.

Indulge your self by reserving a junior suite which has its personal personal pool. At Elounda Blu, you possibly can take pleasure in a non-public seashore with watersports obtainable or make the most of among the many actions provided on the lodge, as an example, wine tasting, cooking lessons and aerobics. 

A backyard view room begins from round $155 an evening in September for half board, or guide all-inclusive from $215 an evening. My sister stayed right here for 10 nights and completely raves about it. On the subject of Elounda motels, it is a nice choice. 

Elounda Krini Resort

In the event you’re in search of a lodge inside a couple of hundred metres of Elounda seashore and which will get persistently nice evaluations then contemplate the Elounda Krini Resort. All of the rooms have balconies and you may select whether or not yours faces the mountains or the landscaped pool space. Rooms are recent and clear with tiled flooring and whitewashed partitions. Anticipate to pay from round $80 an evening. Click on right here to study extra.

elounda krini hotel

Emilia Flats

A terrific price range choice which remains to be near every little thing is the Emilia Flats. Positioned proper within the coronary heart of Elounda, the residences are simply 300m from Elounda Seaside. Rooms are fashionable with recent, gentle decor. Every room has a kitchenette with a eating space and a patio or balcony. Rooms begin from round $45 an evening. Click on right here to study extra.

To look extra Elounda motels and residences on Reserving.com, click on right here. 

The place To Eat in Elounda Crete

Though Elounda is a small city, you’ll nonetheless discover loads of selections on the subject of eating out. Whether or not you’re in search of conventional Greek meze, fabulous seafood or only a good steak, you’ll discover a restaurant or cafe in Elounda which might fulfill your starvation.

Most eating places have menu boards outdoors the restaurant, so take a wander alongside the streets close to the harbour and centre of city and see what appeals most. Don’t overlook to stroll alongside the harbour entrance in direction of the windmills as there are some superb fish eating places overlooking the bay.

Listed here are a couple of of my favourites.

Elli’s Place

You’ll discover Elli’s Place on the primary seashore highway in Elounda. It’s an off-the-cuff cafe-style restaurant which serves primarily breakfast and lunch. It’s well-known for its hen gyros and may be very widespread with beachgoers because it’s a brief hop from the primary seashore space. In addition to conventional Greek dishes corresponding to gyros and moussaka, Elli’s additionally serves every little thing from sandwiches and ice-cream to full English breakfasts. Discover Elli’s Place on google maps

Chicken Gyros at Elli's Place
Hen Gyros at Elli’s Place

Kanali

Kanali restaurant has a novel setting simply throughout the peninsula close to the sunken metropolis of Olous and the windmills. In the event you’re in search of someplace particular with a tranquil environment and nice meals then that is the place for you. Kanali specialises in seafood and the lobster pasta will get rave evaluations. Nonetheless, in addition they have a number of vegetarian selections and a collection of gluten-free choices as effectively.

Kanali is open for lunch and dinner. You may name them on +30 2841 042075 to examine particular hours and make reservations.

Discover Kanali Restaurant on Google Maps right here.

Okeanis

Okeanis is situated simply previous Elounda Seaside. In the event you ask locals the place to eat in Elounda that is the place they’ll ship you. It’s informal eating at its finest and also you’ll take pleasure in high class service in addition to scrumptious meals. Okeanis specialises in native Greek and Mediterranean dishes and so they have fairly an in depth menu. Don’t miss their conventional Greek salad. It’s superb.

You may contact Okeanis on +30 2841 044404. It’s open for lunch from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm and for dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm.

Discover Okeanis on Google Maps right here.

Cypriana Taverna

This was one in every of our favourites whereas we had been in Elounda village. Located proper within the centre of Elounda, overlooking the beachfront, Cypriana provides a large menu together with breakfast, omelettes, pasta, pizza and sandwiches.

Nonetheless, you actually ought to attempt a few of their Greek Cypriot dishes — hen gyros, moussaka or souvlaki. It’s good worth, informal eating at its finest, and so they’re justifiably well-known for his or her pleasant service. Everytime you’re hungry, they appear to be open – from 9 am to midnight. You may contact them on +30 2841 041752 however simply flip up, no must guide.

Discover Cypriana on Google Maps right here.

Greatest Seashores in Elounda 

In the event you’re a seashore lover you then’ve come to the fitting place. The Jap Coast of Crete boasts miles of very good sand and pebble seashores, a lot of them Blue Flag rated.

Whereas among the bigger seashores are widespread it’s additionally attainable to seek out small stretches of virtually uninhabited shoreline. Wherever you select, you possibly can bathe in heat, crystal clear water as you gaze on some completely spectacular surroundings. 

Elounda Seaside

Proper within the centre of the resort is the Blue Flag rated Elounda Seaside. Right here you possibly can spend the day enjoyable below a straw umbrella or floating within the blue water.

In the event you’re feeling a bit extra energetic, join among the watersport actions. For the children, there’s a playground and organised actions can be found in the summertime. Though lots of the smaller seashores on this space are pebbly, Elounda Seaside is gorgeous and sandy so a superb alternative when you’re staying close by.

Discover Elounda Seaside on Google Maps right here.

swimming at elounda beach crete island

Seashores On The Street To Plaka

Drive or stroll from Elounda in direction of Plaka and also you’ll cross a number of small, pebbly seashores. These quiet coves supply a superb various to the extra crowded central seashores. You’ll typically have the cove to your self.

The water is simply as clear and heat and the views throughout to Spinalonga are superb. In the event you’re driving, there are small parking areas at intervals alongside the seashore highway. Take your water sneakers although, there’s no sand right here and the pebbles are small and uncomfortable underfoot. It’s value it although for the posh of sunbathing and swimming in your individual stretch of the bay.

Kolokitha Seaside

We discovered this superb little seashore whereas strolling on the Elounda peninsula. After viewing the windmills, we stored on strolling. Stroll up the small highway/observe to start out with. Someplace close to the church, this observe ends however you possibly can see the opposite shoreline from right here so preserve strolling alongside the paths in direction of it.

In addition to Kolokitha seashore there’s quite a lot of smaller inlets close by as effectively. Though the locals know the place to seek out it, you gained’t discover many vacationers over this manner. It’s a straightforward stroll, uphill in elements however not strenuous when you’re fairly match.

Having the ability to stretch out on the sand and bathe within the crystal clear water on the finish of the stroll is reward sufficient although. It’s a mixture of pebbles and sand right here however sufficient sand to make it comfy underfoot. 

Discover Kolokitha Seaside on Google Maps right here.

kolokitha beach crete greece

How To Get To Elounda

By Air

You could have a number of choices for attending to Elounda. If you wish to fly into Crete then essentially the most handy airport is Heraklion which is situated on the north coast of the island. There’s one other airport on the island, close to Chania within the west however Heraklion is Crete’s predominant airport and positively the simplest to get to Elounda from.

You’ll discover a vast alternative of airways flying into Heraklion airport. British Airways and Easyjet have day by day continuous scheduled flights from the UK and TUI supply constitution flights. As well as, a number of airways together with, Lufthansa, Air France and Swiss Airways present scheduled flights from mainland Europe.

By Boat

In fact, Crete is an island and you would select to reach by boat as a substitute. Ferries depart day by day from Piraeus port close to Athens. In summer time there could also be as much as Four journeys per day. Select to journey through the day or in a single day from Piraeus to Heraklion Port.

The journey takes between 5 and eight hours and nothing fairly beats waking up within the morning as you sail into a brand new port. In the event you’re travelling in a single day you’ll most likely desire a cabin to loosen up in, however reclining seats are additionally obtainable. In the course of the day you possibly can take pleasure in some recent sea air on the deck or loosen up in one of many bars or lounges.

elounda greece boats in the harbour

Getting To Elounda From The Airport / Port 

When you arrive in Heraklion you’ll must make your means east to Elounda. The best means is to rent a automotive and drive your self. An excellent tip is to pre-arrange automotive rent with one of many native corporations in Elounda.

They’ll organize to satisfy you on the airport along with your rent automotive. Typically, on-line evaluations are a lot better for these firms. In the event you want, the standard European automotive rent firms are additionally situated at Heraklion airport.

It’s about an hour’s drive to Elounda so when you want to not drive your self you possibly can take a taxi. You may take a fixed-price airport taxi for 75 Euros from the stand outdoors arrivals.

One other various is the shuttle bus. You may guide this through the Easyjet web site even when you’re not flying with them. At 25 Euros per particular person, it’s a less expensive various if there are only one or 2 of you in your group.

It is usually attainable to achieve Elounda by public bus but it surely’s not simple. Sadly, there is no such thing as a direct bus so you should first take the bus to Agios Nikolaus. This takes round 75 minutes.

From Agios Nikolaus, it’s an additional 30-minute bus experience to Elounda. You want to remember that the bus service from Agios Nikolaus isn’t that common so examine the timetable earlier than you set off. You’ll be travelling for over three hours so it’s not an choice I’d advocate. Nonetheless, if the price range is tight it’s a very low cost various at 9 Euros. 

How To Get Round Elounda

I’d advocate hiring a automotive when you’re staying in Elounda. It makes it a lot simpler to get round. Nonetheless, when you’re simply planning per week of rest within the resort and on the seashore you then’ll have the ability to stroll in all places. You actually don’t want to depart Elounda village, however it could be a disgrace to not get out and about and see a bit extra of Jap Crete.

In fact, there’s all the time the choice to rent a automotive for the day. You’ll discover not less than a few automotive rent companies within the centre of Elounda who may help you out.

Chill out and Get pleasure from Elounda

Elounda village is the proper place to get away from the crowds and luxuriate in a calming vacation. Nonetheless, when you’re in search of one thing extra lively, you’ll discover loads of alternatives as effectively.

Spend time exploring this conventional Greek village, pattern the native meals and chill with a beer or a glass of the native Raki. You’ll rediscover a slower tempo of life right here and also you’re positive to be sorry when it comes time to depart.

For extra on travelling Crete, see our full journey information to Crete, and the highest issues to do in Crete that you just gained’t wish to miss!

Pictures on this put up are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

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