Driving east, along the north coast and enjoying a lovely view of the dark blue waters of the Cretan sea, we reach the city of Heraklion. Our first stop is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world- the famous Minoan palace of Knossos. This is where European civilization began, an era ruled by powerful King Minos, a place full of myths and legends, (think Theseus, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth). The layout of the palace was so complicated, the courtiers needed a plan to move through it. Flourishing between 3,000BC and 1400BC, it strangely disappeared, only to be discovered again by the English archeologist Sir Arthur Evans at the turn of the century. Now partly reconstructed, blood red columns and gigantic double-headed axes are a vivid reminder of this forgotten and disappeared race.
The next highlight of this trip is the little island of Spinalonga. Our boat departs from the picturesque fishing village of Elounda. A short cruise through azure blue waters to this now deserted island. It's a place not to be missed by historians and the curious alike. A guided tour will fascinate you with Spinalonga's long and intriguing history, firstly a stronghold of the Venetians, then inhabited by the Turks, and, as mentioned, finally Europe's last leper colony, up to 1957. A chance for you to see the small houses, in which the lepers once lived their isolated lives, in perfect condition.
Its ancient name was Caledon, but after the occupation by the Venetians called in Latin "spina lunga", meaning "long thorn". From this description and with paraphrase the island got its current name.
After 1957 for several decades remained unused and after the interest of numerous tourists began systematic restoration and repair of old buildings, fortifications of the Venetian walls, the old houses, the roads etc.
Thousands of tourists visit every year this beautiful isle with boats which start every hour from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka which is located just opposite the mainland and is approximately 800 meters.
After this short cruise in Spinalonga we go back to Elounda, where you have free time for a walk, coffee, lunch or swimming.
Experience this fun-filled boat trip to an island that is truly one of a kind.