Boats depart from the port of Elounda.
Since 1970 our experienced captains have transferred you safely and offer you unique moments of relaxation and enjoyment. The Elounda Boat Co-operation consists of 18 boats of various sizes, traditional or modern, with a total capacity of 800 passenger seats. We offer an unforgettable transfer to the historical island of Spinalonga with the Venetian Castle. At Spinalonga, an extra amount of 8€ has to be paid as an administrative fee for every passenger visiting the island.
Elounda is a small fishing village located in the Cretan prefecture of Lassithi, on the coast near the town of Agios Nikolaos. Elounda has many hotels which are popular with European tourists. The village is also home to many bars and restaurants serving European, Greek and Cretan cuisine. It lies across the bay from Isla Spinalonga (en. Long Thorn Island) and the historic Venetian Fortress of Kalydonia (commonly known also as “Spinalonga”). The settlement of Elounda dates back to ancient times. Roman city of Olous are situated only meters from the current site of the village. The archaeological site of Olous is submerged near Elounda’s salt flats and can still be seen today. In the early 20th century, the Cretan authorities transformed Spinalonga into a leper colony, lepers from the Cretan mainland were shipped to the island and lived in the ancient Venetian fortress. Infrastructure on the island such as the hospital and shops can still be seen today. In 1952, the island was renamed Kalydonia by the Hellenic Government, but the name Spinalonga is still widely used among local residents of Elounda. Elounda became a tourist hotspot in the latter half of the 20th century, following Greece’s emergence as a tourist destination following the fall of the junta in 1974. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the town saw a massive boost in tourism which resulted in the village and its population growing substantially. More recently, large hotel resorts catering for the luxury end of the tourist market have appeared around Elounda.
Prince George succeeded in getting the Cretan Republic to proclaim a resolution. It was decided to make Spinalonga into a LEPER COLONY. The Turks were told that on Spinalonga all the lepers of Crete (and soon all Greece) were to be concentrated, and there they would spend the rest of their lives. That was the end of the Turkish “occupation” of Spinalonga. In the same year 1903 the last Turks abandoned the Castle. The disease LEPROSY was one of the most feared diseases of ancients times. It was believed that leprosy was the sign of impurity, and people kept a distance from anyone who had the disease. Up to 1903 lepers were living in caves in Heraklion. As you probably know the disease causes open wounds on the body, especially on hands and legs. Often it causes the entire loss of fingers and toes. In those days’ leprosy often gave large frightening wounds in the face resulting sometimes the loss of nose and ears. The tales of the human martyrdom of this disease must be endless. Sometimes it hit a child, sometimes a young boy or girl. When they caught the infection it could last two to thirty years before the wounds were openly seen, and up to recent times the disease is fought with difficulty & treatment is not commenced in the early stages.
A Norwegian physician by the name of ARMAUER HANSEN was studying leprosy for many years, and marked his name in science when in 1873 he found the leper bacterium or bacillus. Through the work of Armauer Hansen the world got to know that leprosy is contagious through direct contact between a sick person and a healthy one. That is the open wound of a leper patient must be in intimate contact with a fresh wound, scar or scratch of another person to cause infection. During the fifty-four years of the colony, roughly four hundred people lived there, some of them ever born on Spinalonga – many, many died there. I have documents from this period in my office, with names and personal data written down: There is mentioned Maria Vlakou from the Peloponese, thirty-two years old, died 1938. There is Angela Anngirou from Thessalonica, died 1942 forty years old. Yannis Sarin from Edesa died 1928 eighteen-year-old and so on… How could they live in this colony, how miserable were their deaths. You may ask what kind of life they had. Well when you visit this island you will see where we disembark at the big stone entrance to the Street of Pain. You will be walking along the lines of shops and small houses which were situated at the bottom of the hills, along the coastline and near the main gate. At certain times during the day there must have been an atmosphere of busy life – even there, with people coming and going, chatting and may be laughing, not all, of course, being near to death. Some of the lepers were married to each other, and lived together in small apartments, having a garden outside to tend. Perhaps they had some hens, a dog or cats. People of this district usually called Spinalonga “The Quiet Island” thinking both of the peacefulness during the war when Spinalonga was like another world, and of the quiet endurance of personal pain. The priests did however, sometimes perform happier services than burials. It happened that lepers, like other people, fell in love with each other and got married. During the years of the Leper colony twenty babies were born on Spinalonga.
|Departure every 30 minutes
|Monday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Tuesday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Wednesday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Thursday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Friday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Saturday||09.30 - 16.30|
|Sunday||09.30 - 16.30|