Exploring Leper Island in Crete

If you choose Crete as your holiday destination, you may be dreaming of sandy beaches or warm Mediterranean waters. 

And of course, you will find this in abundance on your visit, but you will also find plenty of other places of interest, and when it comes to places of interest, there is nothing like a leper colony is there?!

Yep, Crete has, or that should be had, its very own leper colony on the small island of Spinalonga and it is one of the top Crete attractions for tourists. So what can you expect to see on a visit here?

Getting There

If you decide that a visit to Spinalonga would be of interest, you will need to get to the northern village of Elounda, or failing that Agios Nikolaos or Plaka whereby it is possible to catch a boat over to the island.

If you combine a visit with a boat tour available from a local tour operator, you will get a number of additional extras which will heighten your enjoyment, often in the form of a free BBQ or alike. 

If you visit during the off season, there may be no tour boats available, however if you ask around the harbour area you will find someone willing to take you as many people will have their own boats and will be happy to take you across.

What is there to see?

(Image from www.panoramio.com)
As mentioned, the island was, between the years 1903 and 1957, used as leper colony, whereby all of Crete’s and indeed Greece’s lepers were quarantined and was one of the last leper colonies in Europe.

Far from being a place where lepers were left to fend by themselves, there were by and large well cared for upon their arrival. You’ll be pleased to know that these days the island has more to offer than just grizzly details, the buildings are fantastic examples of local architecture.

There are no accommodation options on the island so it is only possible to take trips to the island for a few hours at a time, making it the ideal place for a day trip when on Crete holidays.
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