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Spinalonga is a small Island next to the Town of Elounda, at the northern Entrance of the gulf of Elounda. The maximum length in north- south direction is about 440m, 250m width in the southern part of the island. The highest elevation reached about 50m.
The venetians built a fortress on Spinalonga in the 15th century, respectively a hugh fort. In 1715 the turks conquered the fortification. About 600 christian inhabitans were deported by the turks and muslims began to settle.
Spinalonga was used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. With the foundation of the leper colony, the muslim inhabitans had to leave the island.
Leprosy was in that time a dangerous and incurable disease, also highly contagious. At peak times there were more than 1000 lepers on the island. 8 years after the first effective leper drugs were found, in 1953, the leper colony was unnecessary and dissolved.
Today Spinalonga can be visited by tourists on a day trip. The Island can be reached by boat from Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, also from the small village of Plaka.
Is a quiet place, centrally located on the south coast of Crete, away from mass tourism, near Matala and Agia Galini. Kalamaki is located on a beautiful long sandy beach, at the store once annually the turtles Kareta Kareta lay their eggs. Kalamaki has many family run pensions apartements and hotels, all offering a friendly and hospitable service. Ideal for family holidays or to relax.
Romantic cafes and taverns are all inviting. These are situated alonge the beach side. Here it is idyllic to experience the sunset, setting over the Lybian sea, together with a greek frappe coffee or Mythos beer in frosted glasses, depending on one’s taste. And of course not forgetting the cretan cuisine, cooked in the very best olive oil. Something for every one – from traditional fish taverns to fresh stone baked Pizza !
The taverns and cafes offer free beach beds and umbrellas for sunbathing. And for the children there are trampolines, swings and slides at the wonderful sandy beach.
For families who prefer to go self catering there are enough facilities , supermarkets, bakery, convenience stores.
All offering everything for daily needs, also daily fresh bread and cretan specialties such as thyme honey, olive oil and cheese from goat’s milk.
Almost every day you can watch fishermen offer fresh fish from the surrounding villages.
Sivas is also a pristine village. Especially worth visiting with a few various ouzeries all offering tasty food, from time to time with greek and cretan live music. At the village square you can find a pottery / ceramic shop selling creativ dishes, bowls, etc. in different shapes and colors. Sivas also has beautiful little overgrown alleys, through which you can wander.
Sivas has also a bicycle rental shop where you can rent a quality mountain bike to explore the area by yourself or enjoy organised guided tour.
Tripiti is located about 70km south of Heraklion and is still regarded as an insider tip. There are 2 access roads down to Tripiti.
The first access road leads over Kroto, which is the last village before Lentas. This road is quite rough, but passable over wild cretan mounains.
The second route takes you through the villages of Agios Deka, Vagionia and Vasiliki. This road is more respectable.
A special attraction is the passing through of the canyon near the beach, where you can cross at the narrowest point just with a car. The beach is still very primitive, some tamarisk on the beach provide shade in the midday sun. Tripiti is also a great place for camping. There is also a small taverna for Cretan dishes and refreshing drinks.
Lentas / Lendas is a wonderful coastal location at the foot of the Messara plain.
Lentas and the neighboring Dytikos are separated by a headland, which is in the shape of a lion, there you can find and pebble beaches, popular for campers and nudists.
You can enjoy magnificent sunsets and moonlight night here. For those who like holiday far away from mass tourism and sitting around a campfire on the beach, Lentas is the perfect place to relax.
Farango gorge, also known as gorge of the Saints, is located south of the monastery Odigitrias towards Kali Limenes.
At the bottom of the gorge, you can find the church of Agios Antonius, this is built into an alcove.
From here you can reach the Libyan sea in a beautiful bay with a pebbly beach. Through the summer there are excursion trips from Agia Galini drive to the beautiful bay of Agio Farago.
Not only hikers love the gorge, one frequently sees climbers, who climb the rocks and caves of the canyon.
Matala, a former fishing village, now is a popular and attractive resort on the south coast of Crete, especially for young people. Matala became world famous in the ’60s by the hippies who lived in the Stone Age caves. Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell are no strangers here.
For those of you that enjoy a little bit of history, do you know: Zeus will be gone here in form of a bull with princess Europe of Phoenicia on land.
Menelaus suffered a shipwreck of Matala on the way back from Troy.
The bay of Matala served as a port of Phaistos / Gortis.
In the 9th Century, the fleet of the Saracens Arab Prince and Abu Hafs Omar conquered Crete.
The red beach of Matala is famous for it’s fine grained reddish sand. This beach is only accessible by foot or boat. If you decide to go by foot it will take you about 30 minutes.
Here in Matala you can find numerous taverns and bars. Some offering live music and others play music well into the early hours of the following morning.
Agia Galini is a small fishing village with narrow streets and many tavernas. You cannot fail to find accomodation here in Agia Galini because there are many Hotels and Pensions, offering rooms.
The former fishing village on the Libyan Sea has become a popular holiday resort.
Agia Galini is an ideal starting point for day trips to Preveli, Plakias and Spili.
Agia Galini is a little hilly, so there are quite a few steps to climb which is easy, you have not any problems! Also you can spend time sunbathing on the beach or relaxing in one of the beach tavernas.
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