Elounda, Crete - A resort for luxury tourism
Elounda, Crete is a world renowned tourism resort located north of Agios Nikolaos, having an indented coastline, shaded beaches, crystal clear seas, and a tranquil and heavenly environment. It is some 10 km from Agios Nikolaos, and the cutting along the side of the road gives you the opportunity to admire the spectacular view of the Mirabello Gulf and Korfos.
The village is built on the southern coast of the Gulf of Elounda, 1 km east of the ancient settlement of Olounda, from which it has taken its name. This used to be the favored place of legendary figures from Minoan Crete and of historical figures of our times.
The four villages of Elounda are spread out along the lower slopes of the approach to the Massif. Pano and Kato Elounda, Mavrikiano and the new settlement of Skisma, the port of Elounda, bask in the glorious sea as it opens up before them offering its beauty and charm.
This peaceful sea was used as a stop-over and refueling point during the period between both world wars by the UK's Imperial Hydroplane Service.
The divine creator, in joyous and happy time of inspiration and joviality, did not skimp here with the colors, the lines or the boldness of combinations, giving a magical impression to the landscape.
The road to Elounda from Agios Nikolaos follows the shore, climbing to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top is incomparable. On a clear day the visitor can see all of the Mirabello bay, and all the way to the eastern tip of Crete.
The village is touristically developed with many shops, restaurants on the shore, bars and several luxury hotels famous for their comforts and the variety of amenities offered. The lagoon of Elounda is shaped between the coast and a small peninsula of 7-8 km length that serves as a breakwater.
Today the peninsula is separated from the mainland by a channel dug by the French at the end of the 19th century. A narrow bridge joins the peninsula with the mainland.
In the area there used to be the ancient city of "Olous". Some ruins of the city are preserved in the edge of the peninsula but the rest of the city lies below sea level, with ruins of buildings visible in the sea bed. Nearby are the salt-mines where tons of salt are produced. In the summer boats leave the harbor every hour, transporting visitors to the small islet of Spinalonga.
In Elounda today there are 2.200 inhabitants in six settlements, the majority of whom live in Skisma, and are involved in the tourism business. An event which played an important role in the promotion of Elounda was the filming there of the Disney film "The Fringes of the Moon", in 1964. It is from this time that tourism commenced, but at a gentle pace.
The major push in the development of the tourism industry began in 1969 with the construction of the first of many luxury hotels. Nowadays, these hotel resorts annually accommodate prominent representatives of the world’s social, economic and political life.
There is a Cretan Dance and Musical Instrument School, and Eloundans successfully organize a Traditional Fish Festival that takes place in Pano Elounda, and since 1998, a concert in Spinalonga where popular Greek artists perform.
How to get there:
There are regular public buses from and to Agios Nikolaos.