Elounda is located in east Crete, north of Agios Nikolaos and south of the seaside resort of Plaka.
Elounda was once a picturesque fishing village in the lovely Mirabello Bay. The inhabitants lived from farming, fishing, salt extraction from the Venetian saltpans, and emery mining.
In the hills around Elounda is found a mineral unique to Greece, “akonopetra” or whetstone, a type of fine emery used to make whetstones and emery paper to hone tools used in many different jobs. The emery of Elounda had long been known in Europe by the name of “Turkey stones” or “Naxos stone”.
Once discovered by tourism, Elounda developed into a resort famous for its beautiful scenery and the luxury hotels which are still being built in the area. It is said to be the place with the most five-star hotels in Greece.
Elounda from above
The former Prime Minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou was particularly fond of Elounda and came here on holiday at least once a year. He introduced it to French President Mitterand and Libyan leader Gaddafi, while Elounda was also a favourite resort of Kostas Simitis, another more recent Greek Prime Minister.
Apart from politicians, Elounda often welcomes Arab princes with their large families, film and music stars, Russian tycoons and other VIPs from all over the world. This is also part of its magic, as many people dream of spreading their towel on the beaches of Elounda, where some famous person has been swimming.
Elounda on the map
Elounda is ideal for...
Elounda is ideal for people who want a seaside holiday in a place which is neither too busy nor too isolated.
In Elounda you will find small, pretty beaches, visit the island of Spinalonga, walk along the peninsula of Kolokytha (the word means “gourd” or “pumpkin”), and explore the many little villages far from the sea, offering a window into times gone by.
Elounda is not for those looking for a hectic nightlife, nor for those who prefer the isolated beaches of southern Crete.
You might think that with so many luxury hotels, Elounda is the priciest place in Crete for a holiday. It’s a reasonable assumption, but not true.
Prices in Elounda are much like those in the rest of Crete. We’re not talking about prices at a luxury hotel, but in the smaller hotels, apartments for rent, restaurants and cafeterias.
How to get to Elounda
From Agios Nikolaos to Elounda. There are frequent buses from Agios Nikolaos to Elounda, while it will take you about 15 minutes to drive there in your car. The route from Agios Nikolaos to Elounda is one of the loveliest in Crete, due to the view of the coastline and Mirabello Bay.
From Heraklion to Elounda is just over an hour’s drive. Take the National Road east to Agios Nikolaos and turn left to Elounda just before entering the town.
Allow approximately 2.5 hours to get to Elounda from Rethymno and 3-3.5 hours from Chania.