Research trip to Elounda, Crete

Research trip to Elounda, Crete

This year saw me visiting Crete again, to Elounda on the North-East coast. Despite having seen photos of its picturesque harbour, I was a bit worried that all the recent building of luxury villas for rich Russians might have spoiled its original charm.

On my first morning, I woke early and opened the balcony door to an absolutely gorgeous sunrise over the stunning Mirabello Bay. With ‘Elounda island’ ( a series of almost islands connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land) directly in front of me, I couldn’t have asked for a better view. The evening before, I’d arrived after midnight and spent an hour or so chatting to the owner Giorgos over a beer so this was a most welcome surprise.

After breakfast on the balcony, I decided to walk into Elounda itself. It is a very pleasant twenty-minute walk along the seafront although it took me much longer as I kept stopping off to admire the view, take photos, make notes and talk to the locals. The harbour itself I found quite picture-postcard perfect and it most certainly hasn’t lost any of its original charm.

Elounda has become popular in recent years due to the success of Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Island’ set partly in the fishing village of Plaka just down the coast and on the former leper-colony island of Spinalonga. You can get boats there from Elounda or Plaka but Plaka is a shorter and cheaper crossing. If this area of history is of interest then author Beryl Darby has also written a fascinating account of the island’s history in her book ‘Yannis’ and of course, not forgetting the original ‘ The Eagle of Spinalonga.’

After my first frappe of the season, I was just in time to take the land train to Plaka and then into the mountain villages where the photo above was taken. As it was the first trip of the season, the train wasn’t crowded so there was plenty of time to ask questions before visiting a couple of churches and then lunch in a mountain taverna.

After a lovely day, what better way to relax than on the balcony and just to prove I did do some writing while I was away, here’s the evidence. Trust me, if I hadn’t been writing, it would have been a gin and tonic on the table!

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