An attractive resort known as a favourite of the rich and famous, Elounda is perfect for all with a bright and busy harbour, the main square filled with restaurants and a central, child-friendly beach. Although now a popular tourist resort, the town has managed to maintain a lot of its old-world charm, with quaint whitewashed buildings, colourful fishing boats in the harbour and weekly markets selling pottery, jewellery and fresh local produce.
Elounda is the best place to catch a boat to Spinalonga Island, originally a Venetian stronghold that was a leper colony until the 1950s. Elounda is connected to the Spinalonga Peninsula by a thin causeway, from which you can see the remains of the ancient city of Olous almost completely submerged beneath the waves. Explore the ruins of Malia’s Minoan Palace, or for a less serious day out head to the Acqua Plus waterpark.
Elounda’s central beach is a family favourite, featuring shallow shores, lifeguards and many cafes and shops close by. A range of watersports are available here including jet skiing, sea kayaking and windsurfing. The surrounding coves are ideal for snorkelling, and Elounda has a dive centre for certified scuba divers. From the resort, it’s also possible to go on organised boat trips or hire a small boat to explore the area by yourself.
Elounda is one of Crete’s best resorts for sampling local cuisine, with many restaurants and tavernas serving up authentic dishes and fresh seafood. Many of the most pleasant places to eat are around the edge of the main square next to the harbour, and you can also find plenty of bars for after-dinner drinks. The evenings are quiet here, so for more lively bars and clubs you’re best off in nearby Agios Nikolaos.