Spinalonga Σπιναλόγκα is a little island of the north-east coast of Crete in Greece. It has come to international fame due to its colourful history.
The island sits off the northern tip of Kolokitha peninsula, which forms the safe harbour of Elounda, in the wide Mirabello Bay, protected from the north by Cape Agios Ioannis.
Since ancient times this bay was the home of peoples, long ago there sat the town of Olous, which is now submerged under water.
The physical beauty around Elounda Crete, the bay and the island are the reason that many fall in love there. "This sea", says Anestis Makridakis, "glows like a sapphire under the azure light of the sky, rose-hued in summer afternoons, silvered on moonlit nights. It is a sea whose light infuses you gently but swiftly, having the power to touch you emotionally. To float in this sea, or to observe it from further away is like dreaming with open eyes".
The island was fought over by succeeding powers in the Mediterranean and played an important strategic role in history. Its location at the entrance to a secure harbour made it ideal for a defensive fortress. When the sea lords of Venice claimed Crete as theirs they built a fort here. It remains in ruins today.
The island was the home of a leper colony from 1903 to 1957.
Today Spinalonga, Italian for 'long spine', is popular with visitors for Crete tours to enjoy its unusual history and its aqua marine bays.
The novel 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop has been made into a television mini drama my Mega TV, Directed by Thodoris Papadoylakis and filmed on location in Crete. The production is now available on DVD only in Greece.
We have suggested both luxurious and budget-priced accommodation nearby...
The island, Plaka and Elounda have been the subject of many books, histories and fiction stories, such as Spinalónga – The Isle of the Damned by Victor Zorbas, Spinalónga by Beryl Darby and The Island by Victoria Hislop. See our suggestions below...