For centuries the island of Spinalonga has been known for its Venetian fortress, and more recently it was the setting for the 2005 novel 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop.

The now-abandoned island is the perfect place to lose yourself for half a day. You’ll discover how the island was once part of the mainland, and was created by the Venetians to protect the Gulf of Mirabella. You’ll also see where salt was harvested by the Venetians, but the main attraction and dominating landmark is the fort.

The Venetian fortress was built in 1579, and over the years it’s been used as a Turkish bastion and leper colony. Built to watch over the neighboring mainland port of Elounda, the massive fort is surrounded by a circular walk passing ruined churches, homes, fortified structures and turreted walls.

Along the shore there are sheltered pebbled beaches for paddling, but that’s about it when it comes to facilities. There’s a small snack bar but no accommodation, so the island is a destination for day trips only.

Practical Info

The little island of Spinalonga lies 80km (50 miles) east of Heraklion in the Gulf of Mirabella. The island’s southern tip is connected to the mainland by a causeway near the town of Elounda, but you need to take a quick ferry ride from Plaka or Elounda if you want to be dropped off at the fort.

Tours & Tickets

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Off Road Buggy Adventure in Crete

Come explore the Cretan mountains on a 7 hour buggy safari. Anyone holding a driver’s license can drive on this inclusive day for couples and families. This ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $154.09

Full Day Tour to Spinalonga Island with BBQ Lunch

4 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

Take a boat ride to the island of Spinalonga. This former leper colony includes preserved houses and churches, and a strong Venetian influence in the form of ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.59

Santorini Island Day Trip

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 8 Reviews

Get to know Santorini on a full-day independent trip from Crete, and see as much of the island as you wish! Either soak up the sun with a book on the beach, or ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $178.52

Spinalonga Island Day Trip

Originally, Spinalonga was not an island – it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation the island was carved out of the coast for defense ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $59.35

Spinalonga and Cretan Culture Tour with Boat Trip

Visit Spinalonga island in combination with a taste of Cretan culture. Minibus tour and boat trip, small-group, with a personal touch.

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $85.61

Chrissi Island Day Trip

Chrissi, an island 7km long with a maximum width of 2 km, is located 8 nautical miles south of the most southern town in Europe, Ierapetra. From the moment ...  Read more

Location: Heraklion, Greece
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $62.78

Private Tour to Spinalonga Island

The small, picturesque island of Spinalonga has been occupied by Arabs and Italians, Turks and Cretans. And now you can occupy it for a few hours on this ...  Read more

Location: Crete, Greece
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $592.63

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