Spinalonga: an island full of history!

If you know Spinalonga, you may have read the best-selling book of Victoria Hislop “The Island” or watched the TV series adaptation of the same title. It’s because of this TV series that I decided to visit the place where most of the scenes take place. Spinalonga is a small island that belongs to the Lasithi prefecture of Crete, located opposite the village Plaka, close to Elounda.

How to get to Spinalonga and how much it will cost

Once you arrive on the island of Crete, getting to Spinalonga is very easy! You can go by boat from Ayios Nikolaos (25€), from Plaka (8€) or Elounda (adults: 10€/ minors: 5€). The journey lasts around 20 minutes.

The entrance fee to the archaeological site is 8€.

Things to do in Spinalonga

You can wander around the island either on your own or with the help of a tour guide. Before leaving, don’t miss the chance to dive into the waters of Spinalonga.

My recommendation for you is to choose a windless day to visit the island.

Useful information about Spinalonga

Υou may wonder how Spinalonga took its name.

Creta was under Venetian rule for many centuries. In the 13th century, the Venetians -not knowing the Greek language- translated the word Olounta as Spinalonte which later became Spinalonga. Spinalonga was named after a famous islet in Venice, now called Giudecca.

Spinalonga is mainly known as “the leper island”.

Until 1957, people infected with lepra had to move there to live the rest of their lives. They continued their lives without giving up –they worked and went to school. A small boat that transmitted everything they needed to meet their daily needs used to arrive on Spinalonga once a week. There were also some doctors on the island.

Since the cure for lepra has been found, Spinalonga stands deserted. However, in 1970 it was declared as an archaeological site.

Spinalonga is a beautiful and historical island. If you happen to be on Creta, don’t hesitate to visit it. I highly recommend it!

By Evelina Braimi

Translated by Maria Mourava

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