When our guests exit the lobby of Creta Maris Beach Resort, they enter a unique world of incredible diversity. Within a few minutes outside our doors, there are countless attractions to experience from ancient archaeological wonders to adrenaline pumping sports activities. One of these is the Mirabello Gulf town of Agios Nikolaos and the magnificent island of Spinalonga just offshore.
Only forty minutes away by car, Agios Nikolaos is one of Crete’s most photographed coastal destinations. Situated to the east of Creta Maris Beach Resort in the Lassithi Prefecture, the cosmopolitan town is famous for Voulismeni Lake – believed to be bottomless and a source of many captivating legends. Agios Nikolaos boasts a chic shopping zone, several traditional tavernas, stylish bars, and countless quaint shops set in an idyllic harbor town. Take half the day to stroll the narrow alleyways of Agios Nikolaos and experience the fascinating mix of Venetian and Ottoman architecture along the way. When your legs tire, you can sit at one of the cafes near the port and gaze out into the gulf and toward the Elounda Lagoon. You can choose to explore the town with a tour guide or on your own – you’ll find every Agios Nikolaos citizen quite willing to give you insiders’ tips anyway.
After a few hours exploring Agios Nikolaos’ welcoming nooks, you may want to venture up to Plaka where boats depart every half hour for Spinalonga Island. While there are boats from Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, those who take the land route up to Plaka get a more complete experience.
For those who are not familiar with Spinalonga and the Kolokytha Peninsula, these bodies of land were a natural barrier that protected the ancient Minoan city of Olous, which sank many centuries ago. This area is a snorkeling paradise, but if you visit on a calm and clear day, you can still see the ruins of the city just beneath the surface of the sea.
The route to Plaka will be a mesmerizing visual experience along the winding elevated road that runs through world-famous Elounda. Once you reach tiny Plaka, you’ll take one of the boats to the island. Past aside, today Spinalonga is one of Greece’s most beguiling islands. The 10-minute boat ride to Spinalonga, where the Venetians built an ominous coastal fortress, affords visitors an incomparable visual panorama too.
Once you land, you’ll want to follow the tours to learn about the leper colony the island is best known for. Spinalonga is not so large, so exploring the fortifications and beholding the fabulous views of the landscape rolling onto the sea doesn’t take long.
We recommend you take along your swimsuits to spend a few moments sunbathing on the pebbled beach back at Plaka or at Driros Beach before heading back to Creta Maris Beach Resort. If you are caught still out and about at dinner time, Elounda is famous for its seafood tavernas by the bay.