Spinalonga is a small island near Elounda and is also known as the Leper Island, as that is where lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined until 1957.
The name Spinalonga appeared around the 13th century, bestowed by the Venetian conquerors, who, unfamiliar with Greek, corrupted the place-name “Stin Olounda” (“at Olounda”), originally to Spinalonde (13th century) and later to Spinalonga.
The strategic position of the rocky islet for the control and defence of Elounda harbour, marked Spinalonga with a turbulent history of fierce battles and much human suffering.
A walk around Spinalonga offers some of the finest views of the clear blue waters that surround the island, will guide you through the pages of a novel. Strolling around the island takes about an hour, but the serenity of the place and the remnants of its recent history will certainly tempt you into spending much longer.