An abandoned leper island, the ghost town of Spinalonga stirs your imagination and phantasy. This little plot of land hides a powerful history: Venetian and Ottoman times, stormy events and suffering of the inhabitants.
Eat at a Greek taverna in Plaka Elounda with stunning views over the old village and Spinalonga. Try nicely cooked red snapper, grilled prawns and greek salads. Have some good yogurt and parfait too.
Aphrodite Restaurant offers a delectable blend of breakfast and brunch options as well as a wide selection of cocktails. Located at 200 E Plume St, this restaurant promises a memorable dining experience.
The hotel’s design combines mild earth tones with works of art from internationally recognized and local artists. Breathtaking sea and UNESCO protected castle views are also incorporated throughout.
A short boat ride from Elounda, Spinalonga is a teardrop-shaped island that was once home to a leper colony. It became famous after it appeared in Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel “The Island.” The ruins of the impregnable 16th-century Venetian castle remain, and the island’s history is an important part of Greek culture. You can visit the island by booking a full-day boat tour from Agios Nikolaos. You’ll pay the entrance fee at the jetty in Plaka before boarding a boat to the island. Here, you can explore the quaint streets and learn about its rich and storied history.
The restaurant’s meticulously designed menu and charming terrace offer an elegant dining experience. Its extensive selection of pasta, meat dishes, and seafood makes it a perfect choice for any occasion. In addition, it offers a wide variety of wine and cocktails.
A Greek word meaning hospitality, xenia is the practice of treating guests like family. It includes providing them with food, drink, and gifts. The custom of xenia was especially important in ancient Greece when it was believed that gods mingled among the people. The cyclops Polyphemus, for example, broke the custom of xenia when he ate his host Penelope and her attendant Telemachus without asking them where they were from or who they were.
Butterbee’s American Grill is opening a new location in Xenia next summer. The new eatery will be located on Progress Drive, next door to Skyline Chili. It will be the fourth Butterbee’s in Ohio, with other locations in Mt. Orab, Milford, and Cincinnati. The franchise is owned by local family-owned restaurant group David Restaurant Group.
The Beach Restaurant
Spinalonga wasn’t always on the tourist map but today it’s a must-see attraction for any visitor to the Lassithi region of Crete. The teardrop-shaped rocky islet was a Venetian fortress in the 16th century and is now on UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.
It’s a spectacularly dramatic sight, rising out of the sparking blue water as it did for countless invaders over centuries. The ruins are almost completely intact and the fortifications appear as impenetrable as they did to pirates and Ottomans.
A trip to Spinalonga is an easy day-trip from Heraklion or Hersonissos as well as from the village of Elounda. Boats leave regularly from Plaka, the small pier opposite Spinalonga and most tours also stop at a nearby beach such as the gorgeously beautiful Kolokytha Beach for a swim. The beach on the little island pier is not ideal for swimming though as it’s very pebbly and there are boats coming and going all day long.
Giorgos Plaka Restaurant
Located right outside the Metropolitan Cathedral, this taverna’s upscale claim to fame is its fried red mullet, but go ahead and try everything on the seafood mezedes menu (plates that are shared).
Among the best restaurants in Plaka for authentic dishes is this family-run taverna. The owner was born in Greece and makes sure the recipes are true to tradition. You’ll find classics like lamb shanks and gyro wraps, as well as homemade desserts like baklava and koulourakia—a butter and vanilla pastry.
This effortlessly quaint taverna is on the quieter end of souvenir-lined Kydathineon Street, but it still feels completely authentic. Sit at the tiny tables inside or outside, gazing at the ancient Agora temples as you eat grilled lamb chops or bakaliaros skordalia (battered salt cod served with a fierce garlic dip). This is one of the few Plaka restaurants that has an actual kitchen.