The small uninhabited island of Spinalonga, officially known as Kalydon, is located in the gulf of Elounda, in north-eastern Crete.
The island has been used as a leper colony. Spinalonga has appeared in novels, television series, and a short film and has a rich but dramatic history.
In this sea kayak trip we will explore the whole area in a superb nature!
This could be one of the most most popular daily trip of Enjoy-Crete, our trusted partner. Discover the unspoiled coast of eastern Crete as we paddle on the crystal blue waters of the Merambello bay, visit secluded beaches and explore the island of Spinaloga.
The trip officially begins in the morning at the Heraklion where our staff will meet you. Exact meeting time will be determined once booking have been finalized.
From Heraklion town, we will head to Agios Nikolaos city and then to Elounda village. We will review the itinerary for the day and answer whatever questions you may have.
You will need to have with you your breakfast or if you have time to get your breakfast in your hotel before the departure in the morning.
As soon as we arrive in Elounda we will outfit everyone with paddle, PFD and sprayskirt, then head across to the beach where we will offer basic kayaking instruction.
The protected bay in Elouda provides us with a perfect spot for instruction. We will then paddle to a neighboring beach (around 25-30 minutes of paddling).
After enjoying a short stop and swimming, we will start again to reach our final destination, the island of Spinaloga. As soon as we arrive there, we will make a circumnavigation of Spinaloga and then we'll stop to explore the island.
The island was subsequently used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. It is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. The last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962.
This was to maintain the religious tradition of the Greek Orthodox church, in which a buried person has to be commemorated at following intervals of 40 days; 6 months; 1 year; 3 years; and 5 years, after their death.
Other leper colonies that have survived Spinalonga include Tichilesti in Eastern Romania, Fontilles in Spain and Talsi in Latvia. As of 2002, few lazarettos remain in Europe.
There were two entrances to Spinalonga, one being the lepers' entrance, a tunnel known as "Dante's Gate". This was so named because the patients did not know what was going to happen to them once they arrived.
However, once on the island they received food, water, medical attention and social security payments. Previously, such amenities had been unavailable to Crete's leprosy patients, as they mostly lived in the area's caves, away from civilization.
Today, the unoccupied island is a popular tourist attraction in Crete. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the fortress, Spinalonga is known for its small pebble beaches and shallow waters. There is no accommodation on Spinalonga, meaning all tours last only a few hours.
Boat trips from Elounda take approximately fifteen minutes while trips departing Aghios Nikolaos can take almost an hour. We are in a much better position as we can stay as long as we want.
The whole paddling from Elounda to Spinaloga and back, including the circumnavigation of the small island, will take approximately 3 hours excluding the stops and is suitable for novices. Experienced paddlers are also welcomed.
Spinalonga is a remarkable site and traditionally wonderful photo opportunity.
Activity Level: Easy (in the usual weather conditions), 12 km.
Requirements: No paddling experience is required.
Departures: Pick up between 8-9 am from Heraklio or anywhere else near the trip. Of course you can meet us in Elounda if you are staying close by.
Full-Day Tour: daily 9 am to 3-5pm
Price: €80 per person, 4+ bookings €70 per person. The price includes complete sea kayak equipment and local guide.
Minimum participants: Two
Price Includes: Complete sea kayak equipment, Spinaloga ticket and local guide.
Notes: Please bear in mind that the itinerary can be altered for numerous reasons beyond our control (e.g. harsh weather) to ensure the safety and the well being of the group. The final selection is left up to the guide.
Temperature during summer months (June - early September) are between 30oC - 42oC. Sun cream and hat is a must! During the winter temperature might dropped down to 8-10oC.