If you thought you were spoiled for choice when it came to the Greek islands, you’d be correct. But when it comes to choosing an area of Crete to stay in during your holiday, you’ll be dizzy with having to make a decision. So, we’ve made it easier for you. While everywhere on the island is engulfed in pure perfection, Elounda Bay is one of the most popular areas and for good reason. With a later history as part of the Venetian era, the entire village is a display of how history has evolved throughout the years. Elounda is laidback and utterly charming, having retained its traditional down-to-earth feel despite being surrounded by some of Crete’s most luxurious hotels, with gorgeous nature reserves, incredible beaches and fascinating cultural sites. The beautiful seaside town revolves around a colourful harbour with its adjacent main square and is where you’ll find authentic Greek tavernas and friendly waterfront pubs and bars. Add to the mix a lively atmosphere, friendly locals, gorgeous views wherever you look – sounds like paradise, right? We couldn’t agree more…
Two holidays in one
Being the largest and most populous island in Greece and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, it goes without saying that Crete is a country unto itself. Its incredible size has a big personality to match, which is embraced in every village and region of the island no matter where you visit. The best thing? It’s so diverse that visiting different areas will make you feel as if you’ve gotten on a plane and flown to somewhere else entirely. As the Island Specialists, we’d be remiss if we didn’t put together a stellar twin centre itinerary on Crete to showcase two of the most beautiful regions that will make your holiday memorable in every way possible. Embark on a 10-night adventure in Elounda and Chania, spending five nights in each and with all your transportation, flights and accommodation included, it doesn’t get any better than this. Beginning in Elounda, you’ll spend five nights spent in pure paradise, indulging in authentic cuisine at the seafront tavernas, embarking on boat trips from the picturesque harbour and much more. A three-hour transfer takes you to Chania, where your trip continues for a further five nights. Here you’re invited to relax, unwind and watch the world go by. Culture, beaches and a gorgeous Venetian harbourside are your holiday pastimes, so addicting that you’ll be shedding a tear when it comes to departing the island.
Sleep in style
In recent years, Crete has boomed with an increasing number of luxurious hotels all over the island – but nowhere does it quite like Elounda. The famous Domes of Elounda is a popular choice for families seeking a little decadence, an elegant five-star retreat amidst ten acres of glorious vegetation, rugged mountains and laid out in a secluded bay of fine white sands and clear blue waters. Or, if you’re on the hunt for an adults-only paradise, you can’t go wrong with Elounda Blu by Domes Resorts. Views across the Mirabello Gulf and the UNESCO-protected Spinalonga islet will have you in awe, while the spa, the beach and the shimmering swimming pools invite you to relax and unwind from check-in to check-out. Oh, and the hotel also has a Cool Living concept of which you can enjoy multiple perks including exclusive access to Greco Levante, Elounda Blu’s private rooftop pool deck. One of the most recent additions to Elounda’s luxury hotel scene is Cayo Exclusive Resort and Spa. Alluring interiors, state-of-the-art facilities, sensational accommodation… it’s almost too good to be true. Take an in-depth look at Cayo Exclusive Resort and judge its sheer brilliance for yourself.
Spinalonga Island is Crete’s most visited sight and if your hotel room has a panoramic view of this incredible landmark, it’ll be one of the highlights of your holiday to Crete. The island is just a 30-minute journey by boat from Elounda Harbour or seven minutes from Plaka, with more than 1,000 visitors a day during the summer months sailing in to see the remains of imposing Venetian fortifications. The fortress of Spinalonga was originally built in 1579 to guard the entrance of Elounda Harbour and the effectiveness of its double walls, huge towers and 35 cannons ensured that the Venetians were able to defy attacks by the Ottoman Empire for more than 40 years. Another poignant turn in history for the island was in 1903, when it was chosen to house patients suffering from leprosy before the colony closed in 1957 as medical treatment became more effective. Today, Victoria Hislop’s award-winning novel The Island has inspired many a visit to Spinalonga to embrace both its history and its stunning beauty, where guests can walk about the full coast of the island and swim in the clear blue waters of Mirabello Bay.
Blue Flag bliss
What’s a holiday in Greece without a lazy beach day or three? Elounda knows no bounds when it comes to calm cerulean waters and soft golden sands, and its main Blue Flag beach is no exception. Located right at the centre of the town, just a short walk from the main square, is where you’ll find clean, shallow waters and a sandy shore lined with hundreds of comfortable sun loungers and shady umbrellas. Children will be in their element with their designated play area, and parents will be at ease with lifeguards on patrol. Feeling peckish? There are several beach bars and restaurants taking their pride of place on the promenade, perfect for refreshments and tasty meals with views of the sparkling waters. Driros Beach also boasts Blue Flag status but is significantly quieter, roughly 15-minutes’ walk south along the coastal path, the perfect option for a laidback beach day.
A well-rounded holiday in more ways than one, Elounda Bay is celebrated by locals and visitors alike as one of the best places to experience Crete to the fullest. Ticking all the boxes for a heavenly holiday no matter if you’ve come for a luxurious retreat, a fascinating culture fix or to spend hours topping up your tan, Olympic Holidays promises an amazing Grecian getaway that you’ll remember for years to come.