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Spinalonga trips??

Manchester, United...
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Spinalonga trips??

Hey I've just realised a book I read ages ago about the leprosy Island is just off Crete. Has anyone been? (The book is called The Island by Victoria Hislop).. great read and I'll definitely visit the island if I can.

swindon,england
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1. Re: Spinalonga trips??

Hi,

Well if your staying in Stalis then you are within easy reach of visiting there,there are excursions that are bookable from within Stalis or it's easy enough to get to either by local bus and a short boat journey or if your hiring a car by getting to Plaka.

It's definately worth a visit and i'm sure you'll appreciate it even more as you've read the book.

Surrey, United...
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2. Re: Spinalonga trips??

Hi there

Yes the island is an excellent read, and was also made into a TV series by Mega TV ,...here's a link to the series if you are interested it's very good even watching it with sub titles and helps with my Greek too :-)

http://www.viki.com/tv/1964c-the-island

Victoria Hislop still visits Crete as she has bought a villa just outside of Agios Nikolaos

Another great read is the series of books by Beryl Darby , these can be bought from Amazon or her web site or if you are in Elounda then the excellent bookshop Eklektos

tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g189416-…

http://www.beryldarbybooks.com

Edited: 03 August 2014, 09:46
Leeds
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3. Re: Spinalonga trips??

We were staying in Sissi in June and did the trip ourselves using local buses. We had to change in Agios Nikolaos but that meant we could spend a couple of hours looking round Ag Nik before catching the bus to Plaka.

I first did the trip 20 years ago when I was staying in Malia, but that time I went from Elounda - again using local buses. The ferry crossing from Plaka was 8 euros - plus 2 euros entrance fee to Spinalonga. It's a longer crossing from Elounda so is slightly more expensive.

It was reading 'The Island' that made me want to revisit this part of Crete after a 20 year absence and Spinalonga is definitely worth a visit.

The Stunning...
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4. Re: Spinalonga trips??

Totally agree with MG's recommendation for the Beryl Derby books.....the first one is Yannis and I thought was even better than The Island.

This is a link to some snaps I took last year https:/… and here's a trip report I did last year when we visited Spinilonga to give you an idea of day trip.

This was a day out that we will never forget.....We set off from Sissi about 8am and drove towards Ag Nik before taking the turn off to Elounda at the lights/junction just before Ag Nik itself. Some of the views on the way to Elounda made the drive worthwhile in themselves. Look out for a right turn (just past a church I think it was) half way through Elounda to Plaka. As soon as we reached Plaka (before 9am which included photo stops on the way) I spotted a parking sign so parked up and bought ferry tickets at a desk outside a tavern next to the car park. The first ferry was at 0930 so plenty of time to top up the sun cream and have a quick walk along the shoreline. The sight of the old Taverna at the start of the street as well as the ruined houses on the right immediately made me think of the characters in The Island and Yannis and already Plaka was coming to life.

Luckily apart from a lady who worked at the small church on Spinilonga we were the only ones on the ferry (more a fishing boat) and the crossing took less than ten minutes. No sooner had we been dropped off the boat reversed back out, which just put shivers up my spine as I thought of how lepers would have been dumped, had there belongings thrown ashore and immediately left.

We then walked through the tunnel that leads to the main street on the Island, I don't have the words to describe the eeriness and atmosphere as we walked through the tunnel and out on to the empty streets. We were utterly moved and mesmerized by the size and scale of the streets and were instantly imagining the hustle and bustle of the town as the leper community went about their daily lives only a short distance from land and freedom. On we walked passed the bakery, the church, the disinfection building with the locked gates out to the shore. Then on to the two dormitories that had been built to house lepers before doubling back to climb the hill to the hospital. We entered the hospital with a little trepidation, not quite sure of what emotions we would feel or sights we would see. The experience was truly humbling and thought provoking as we looked out of the ward windows down to the streets, with the sea, Plaka the patients loved ones beyond just trying to imagine what was going through the patients minds. There were tally marks on a wall, a pile of empty medicine bottles in a corner and what was left of the kitchen and oven in another room. It was an experience and emotion I will never forget.

From the hospital we made our way back down the hill to the main street by which time there were now hordes of people streaming up the street as the large boats from Ag Nik and Elounda had arrived. We were so glad that we managed to reach the island on the first boat and experience walking those streets on our own. We quickly skipped ahead of the groups as we had already been to the end of the street before we had doubled back to the hospital and then slowed down again to walk the circumference of the Island via the various fortress walls and turrets. We then reached the smaller church at the other side of the island before we encountered our next spine tingling moment when we first gazed at the cemetery. We just stood, contemplated and in our minds paid our respects to those were buried here, as well as those who died before the cemetery was created.

After the cemetery we climbed up to top of the fortress and then on to the top of the island itself. The climb is so worth it as the views from the fortress and the very top are unbelievable. As I stood on the top looking back down to the main street my mind couldn't help but drift to that of Yannis when he first climbed to the top to survey the derelict houses (I know he is a fictional character but I am sure most of the events will have really happened). We then made our way back to the main street via a maze of derelict streets and houses. Just back off to the left and towards the cemetery is a house which I am sure would have been the governor of Spinilonga's house (yes I know my imagination was off and running again haha).

From there we made our way back to the dock via the tunnel before catching the same boat back to Plaka. We left Plaka at 0930 and got back at about 1220 after spending an incredible time exploring Spinilonga.

We then left Plaka via the mountain road towards Vrouhas with the views back to Spinilonga and Mirabello Bay and beyond just got better and better the higher we climbed. We then stopped at the side of the road for a picnic just soaking up the atmosphere whilst hardly believing we were actually there. After lunch we drove on through Vrouhas before heading down to the shore at Seles where we just enjoyed the coastal views and skipped stones in the sea. In Seles itself there is an interesting traditional Olive Press which by luck (The Happy Train was visiting) was open. I then just pointed the car and drove through more mountain villages before coming across the Monastry Of Ayia Triada which was a very interesting complex. Then it was time to point the car again and we ended up in the lovely village of Fournia, finding a lovely Taverna on a small square in the village called Platanos. We sat under the trees for cold drinks and garlic pittas under the tress and again were blown away by the crescendo created by crickets. After Fourni we made our way back to the main highway via Neapoli (I just quickly stopped at the square as I had already explored the town on a previous late afternoon) and then back to Sissi. After dropping everyone back at the apartments I then drove to Mohos for a well deserved cold beer in the square, just watching the world go by as the locals played backgammon and cards. It was great to watch as you half expected world war three to kick off any minute such was the level of bantering and arguing as they played.

It was the perfect end to what was an absolutely amazing day and one which none of us will ever forget.

Sale, United Kingdom
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5. Re: Spinalonga trips??

Definitely a good day out, and easily done by bus if you don't have a car.

A couple of other points to make:

Buses from Ag. Nik to Elounda are every hour, to Plaka every 2 hours.

The boat trip from Elounda is a lot longer but only slightly more expensive, so if you think of the sea journey as an integral part of the trip, it may be worth going from Elounda.

Boats also go less frequently from Ag. Nik.

But...

The boats from Elounda and Ag. Nik. are usually a lot bigger, so there is often congestion at the ticket kiosk, and of course it is likely to be more busy. Having said that, there is a constant stream of boats in the height of the day anyway, so like Jock says, you aren't going to be alone unless you go very early.

Bus times here:

bus-service-crete.com/timetabledet.php…

Edited: 03 August 2014, 14:35
Doncaster, United...
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6. Re: Spinalonga trips??

we went to spinalonga several years ago. The whole family really enjoyed it.my girls were young then so hoping to go back to crete nest year alllooking forward to spinalonga already x

Haywards Heath...
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7. Re: Spinalonga trips??

went to spinalonga one week ago today. very,very hot. take water with you .wonderful trip. we did it on a coach with a stop at a monastery on the way, st georges i think it was. on to the boat at elounda and then a twenty minute boat ride to spinalonga. 2euros entrance fee.

saint pantellimon church still well preserved and it was their saint's day so about four greek orthodox preists there along with about 30 parishoners. one and three quarters hours looking round.(did i mention that it was very hot!) and then back on the boat for another sail to a bay for swimming and a very good barbeque, after got taken from elounda to agios nicholias for about one and a half hours and then back to our apartments.

cost 32euros each well worth it in my opinion.

Surrey, United...
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8. Re: Spinalonga trips??

Hi again

Was there in June and July and each time we caught the 9.00 am boat across from Plaka ....as we were leaving the large boats arrived from both Elounda and Agios....while waiting for the Plaka boat we counted 100 people coming off one boat :-( so I would, recommend you catch the early boat if possible from Plaka :-)

The Stunning...
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9. Re: Spinalonga trips??

p.s. and please note that from MG's posts the first boat must have changed to 0900 this year and not 0930 as I put in my report (we arrived about 0845 got our boat tickets and then had a wander round Plaka before crossing......I also really liked the small boats from Plaka as it felt very authentic and in line with The Island and Yannis). As has been said it is definitely worth catching the first boat.......although don't tell anybody in case it gets too busy haha.

Surrey, United...
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10. Re: Spinalonga trips??

There is a boat that leaves early goanjock but it tends to take some of thevworkers across ..but they are happy to let you get this boat if you are there...but the first official boat is now 9.00 :-) ...the 9.00 boat even in July wasn't full and we wandered around most of the island without seeing any other tourists :-) which was perfect

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