Spinalonga: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Agios Nikolaos: Guided Boat Cruise to Spinalonga

1. From Agios Nikolaos: Guided Boat Cruise to Spinalonga

Spinalonga is a magnificent island with fortresses dating from the Venetian period. It is an island of legends, a triumph to survival in the early 20th century from the scourge of leprosy, now a place of great archaeological and historical significance. On Spinalonga island, enjoy the opportunity to visit the Interpretive Centre there and discover the settlements of the victims and survivors of this former illness. Explore the Venetian fortifications and learn all about the long and fascinating history of the island. Take time to walk around the island and see the views of the bay and the fortifications. Later the cruise continues, passing along other points of interest in the Bay of Mirabello such as the cave of the legendary Pirate Barbarosa, the sunken ancient city of Olous, and the island where the endemic and hardy Cretan Kri Kri goats live. Have time to relax and swim in the exquisite turquoise waters of Kolokitha Bay. The 40 m boat features two bars, a lounge, and a restaurant serving Greek and international cuisine at reasonable prices with high-quality service from the crew.

Cruise to Spinalonga & BBQ at Kolokytha From Agios Nikolaos

2. Cruise to Spinalonga & BBQ at Kolokytha From Agios Nikolaos

Enjoy a fun cruise in the Greek sun with a barbecue by the sea. Explore  Kolokytha Bay and the historical island of Spinalonga. Start your day boarding the boat at the pretty harbour of Agios Nikolaos. Cruise across the beautiful Bay of Mirabello before arriving at the legendary island of Spinalonga.  On Spinalonga island you will have an hour and a half to tour around and explore the Venetian fortifications and old homes of the victims of leprosy. Learn about the history and people who lived on the island during the first half of the 20th century from the printed guide that will be given to you free of charge. Later the boat takes you on the other side of the Kolokytha island and moors at the beach of the same name. Kolokytha is a beautiful bay with crystal-clear turquoise waters. Relax, swim and sunbathe while the boat crew prepares a hearty barbecue for you. Enjoy grilled pork chops, Greek salad, feta cheese, bread, wine and seasonal fruits. 

Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

3. Crete: Day Trip to Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island

Travel to northeastern Crete, visit Agios Nikolaos and see its beautiful scenery, and take a boat trip to Spinalonga Island on this exciting day tour of some of Crete's most interesting sites. Begin the day with the visit to Agios Nikolaos, and see the shore of Mirabello Bay. Explore the town, famous for the lake at its center and its shopping and cafes. Take your time for a walk to enjoy the views, enjoy some shopping or have a drink in one of the numerous cafes around the lake. Explore an open-air market on Wednesdays. Move on to see Elounda village, a former fishing village on the northern coast of the island. Depart from Elounda for the cruise to Spinalonga Island. Learn about the island's vibrant history, from a home for the Venetians and Turks to a place of isolation for those suffering from leprosy. Experience the island, more popular after the 2005 historical novel “The Island” about how lepers lived in Spinalonga. Join the hundreds of people who come to the island every day to visit and learn its history.

Agios Nikolaos: Fun Cruise Around Elounda Bay

4. Agios Nikolaos: Fun Cruise Around Elounda Bay

Experience a boat trip on the bright blue Mirabello Bay with this unforgettable cruise from Agios Nikolaos. Begin your cruise from Agios Nikolaos harbor. It takes about an hour of a slow cruise along Mirabello gulf to arrive at Kolokytha beach. The boat will anchor there and you will be able to enjoy the turquoise, crystal clear waters for about one hour and fifteen minutes. Relax on the boat, and explore these isolated beaches. Then, head to Spinalonga, the famous lepers’ island. Take a cruise around the waters of the Island and then head to the second hidden paradise, the Skistra gulf. Revel in a perfect place for snorkeling and relaxing. Stop there for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Enjoy a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and more. Access many “sea toys” to enjoy your time there. The romantic atmosphere of the island along with the extraordinary landscapes makes the cruise ideal for unforgettable memories surrounded by your family and closest friends.

Heraklion: Spinalonga Cruise & Agios Nikolaos with Lunch

5. Heraklion: Spinalonga Cruise & Agios Nikolaos with Lunch

Explore the many natural wonders Crete has to offer on a multiple-destination boat tour departing from Heraklion with lunch included. Visit the coastal town of Agios Nikolaos, cruise through the scenic Mirabello Bay, stop for a swim in Kolokytha Bay, and admire the sights of Spinalonga Island. Enjoy a pickup from your Heraklion hotel and drive to the beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos with its picturesque lake. Take a leisurely morning walk and have a coffee while gazing at the beautiful port and the local lake, before setting sail. Later on, you'll board your boat. Have a light lunch on board before starting the cruise and then take in the views while crossing the unique Mirabello Bay and the Agios Nikolaos and Elounda coast.  Stop at Kolokytha Bay, where you can swim and dive from the boat into the crystal clear waters, then make your way over to Spinalonga Island. Join a Guided Tour of the island and enjoy some free time to wander around and snap amazing photos. Sail back to Agios Nikolaos and get dropped off back at your Heraklion accommodation. The regular meal consists of grilled chicken, mixed salad with tomatoes and cucumber, feta cheese, and a slice of bread. For a vegetarian option, the grilled chicken will be replaced with a tortilla with vegetables.

Heraklion: Spinalonga Island & Agios Nikolaos Tour with BBQ

6. Heraklion: Spinalonga Island & Agios Nikolaos Tour with BBQ

Take a bus and boat tour from Heraklion, step back in time on a guided tour of Spinalonga, chill out on the beach in Kolokytha Bay, savor a delicious BBQ lunch, and have free time in Agios Nikolaos. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in selected locations on Crete in the morning. Hop aboard a spacious and comfortable bus and sit back and relax on the drive to the cosmopolitan town of Agios Nikolaos and board a ship.  Feel the sea breeze as you cruise through Mirabello bay towards the island of Spinalonga. Take a guided tour Spinalonga which has a rich history from defending the area from sea raids to housing a leper colony. Have some free time to capture photos of the island.  Continue to Kolokytha Bay where you can unwind on the beach, go for a dip, and dig into a lunch of grilled pork steak or chicken, bread, and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and feta. Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a tortilla with vegetables, bread and salad. End your meal with fresh fruit and compliment it with a glass of wine or juice. Cruise to Agios Nikolaos and spend some free time exploring at your own pace. Sit at a cafe with lake or port views, do some shopping, or wander around this small Cretan town. Return to your accommodation in at the end of your tour. 

Heraklion: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos w/ BBQ Lunch

7. Heraklion: Spinalonga, Elounda, Agios Nikolaos w/ BBQ Lunch

Embark on a full-day trip to the island of Spinalonga from Crete and enjoy a walking tour of the island. Visit the towns of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda and take a swim in the crystal water. Be picked up from the Heraklion area and taken along the picturesque northeast coast through the gorge of St George, reaching the small fishing village of Elounda. Today Elounda is a popular holiday resort, often visited by celebrities for the luxurious white beaches. From there, take the boat to the small island of Spinalonga. The history and the culture of Spinalonga are laced with different diverse strands of history. In Ancient Greek times it served as a natural guard for the city of Olous; later it was used as a hide-out for Saracen pirates, turned into a fortress by the Venetians, and later settled by the Turks.  After your visit to the island of Spinalonga (1.5 hours), the boat will head for one of the bays in the area. Swim in the crystal clear waters, and then savor a delicious barbecue served on board. Later, return to Elounda, where you take the bus to go to the picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos. Enjoy shopping, exploring and marveling at the bottomless lake there. At the tour's end, the bus will take you back to Heraklion area.

Rethymno: Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island Day Trip

8. Rethymno: Agios Nikolaos and Spinalonga Island Day Trip

Discover the charming coastal town of Agios Nikolaos on this day trip from Rethymno. Step back in time as you view the archeological site of Olous from a boat. Go for a dip in Kolokythas bay and take a stroll on the uninhabited island of Spinaloga. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation, then sit back and relax aboard a comfortable and air-conditioned bus. Stop for a coffee break on the way to Agios Nikolaos.  Spend some free time discovering the beauty of Agios Nikolaos where you can see the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, visit the marina, admire neoclassical buildings, and walk along the pedestrian roads. Have some time to purchase lunch at a local establishment before boarding the boat to Spinaloga. View the partially submerged archeological site of Olous from the ship. Soak up some sun on board or go for a dip in the crystal waters of Kolokythas bay. Reach the island of Spinaloga where you will have a 1.5-hour visit to the leper colony and the surrounding pebble beaches and shallow waters. Return to Agios Nikolaos where your bus will be waiting to take you back to your accommodation.

Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

9. Day Tour of Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos, Elounda & Plaka

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel along the north-east coast and by St. George’s Gorge. After a short ride, visit an olive oil farmwhere you can experience first-hand the standardization of extra virgin olive oil, table olives, and olive paste. Taste authentic Greek olive oil, which is famous worldwide for its great taste as well as other authentic Cretan products like “raki” and honey. Travel next to the cosmopolitan city of Agios Nikolaos on the Gulf of Mirabello. Agios Nikolaos is famous for its picturesque bottomless lake, explored by the ocean researcher Jaques Cousteau and the subject of numerous legends. Discover the pretty city on your own, stroll through the shops, or relax in one of the cafes and watch the world go by. Continue to Elounda, enjoying some of the most beautiful views of Crete. Look across the Elounda Lagoon at the enchanting islands of Spinalonga and Kolokitha. Spinalonga has been an important place throughout history. Have some time to explore the island on your own. After a short drive, you will reach Plaka, a small fishing village directly opposite Spinalonga. From there a 10-minute boat ride takes you to the island. Plaka was the ferry port of the leper colony, whose history was documented in a book and a Greek television series. Visit the filming sites, enjoy lunch or have a refreshing swim. The last stop of the day is Elounda, a former fishing village but today a famous holiday resort with the most 5-star hotels in Greece. Take plenty of time to stroll through the picturesque harbor and have a cup of coffee before heading back to your accommodation.

Agios Nikolaos: Private Motorboat or RIB Boat Rental

10. Agios Nikolaos: Private Motorboat or RIB Boat Rental

Rent your own motorboat or RIB boat and discover the picturesque islands and scenic views around Crete. Create your own itinerary and explore islands such as Agioi Pantes or Spinalonga, or the beaches of Agriomantra and Kolokytha. After check-in, set off from the port of Agios Nikolaos on your adventure. Choose a route that interests you and explore lesser-known areas off the coast of Crete. You can sail to the uninhabited island of Agioi Pantes. Spot the former church which is located at the top of the island. You may also see the endangered species of Cretan mountain goats, called “Kri-Kri”. Sail to the beautiful island of Spinalonga located 800 meters off the coast. Admire the views of the 16th-century Venetian fortress, which also served as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. Make a stop for swimming at Kolokytha, one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete. Hike along the pathway that takes you from the beach to the church of Agios Loukas and the Byzantine chapel of Agios Fokas. You may also choose to sail towards Agriomantra, a beach that is found at the end of Agriomantra’s gorge and is of outstanding natural beauty. Relax beneath the Tamarisk trees which offer natural shade, while there are barbecues and benches to have a picnic on the beach.

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What people are saying about Spinalonga

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,979 reviews

Spinalonga is worth seeing Excursion booked with Markidis Travel. Fully air conditioned coach with pick up and drop off at our hotel. Anastasia is an excellent multi lingual tour guide who pointed out all the sites on route and explained the history of the island plus informing everyone of the days itinerary. Our driver Costa manoeuvred some really unbelievable narrow roads and turns.On route money was collected for the ferry crossing by Anastasia so that she could purchase all the tickets instead of needing to queue. We travelled to Agios Nikolaos with time to explore then boarded our ferry for a lovely lunch. After sailing the ferry stopped at Kolokitha for a swim in the open sea, then onto Spinalonga. Here you need to purchase your entrance ticket and join a guided tour if you wish or explore yourself. We joined a tour where our guide explained in detail the history of Spinalonga then explored on our own. Excellent!

The bus driver was very careful, the ride was calm and without any problems. Agios Nikolaos is a very nice place to take a walk at, the boat ride was also wonderful. The food was tasty, the staff were kind, funny and helpful the whole trip. Unfortunately we didn’t have that much time at Spinalonga and we didn’t see the Mirabello Bay.

Great value and opportunity to visit a historical island! Only thing I would ask is that the tour guides wait for everyone to get a ticket before starting.

Very well organized, great guide and bus, delicious lunch. Amazing views! Definitely recommended!

Great trip, highly recommend. Spinalonga is a must see!