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Lassithi Area


Spinalonga is a small desserted island in East Crete, opposite Plaka and near to Elounda. The name derived from the latin phrase "spina lunga" that means long spine. Spinalonga is also known as the Leper Island, because lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined there until 1957.



Well fortified by the Venetians from both construction and architectural terms but also in terms of aesthetics of the whole landscape, Spinalonga retains its extraordinary beauty even today.


In 1905 it was used as a leprosarium where all lepers of Crete were led to -who were first isolated in "Meskinia" outside Heraklion- and were regarded as a terrible source of contamination for other people.

During the Italian and German occupation, the occupiers did not dare to release the lepers and were obliged to send supplies to the lepers   themselves, since the opposite village-Plaka had been evacuated and the inhabitants had been driven out in other villages, and moreover the coastal area had been thoroughly fortified with pill-boxes, tunnels, minefields because they feared the British landing at that place. Neither ever went to Spinalonga island an Italian or a German and therefore from the radios operating illegally the doctor Manager Grammatikakis was copying the news of London and Cairo and sharing these news with the residents of the island.

It was finally closed in 1957 as the lepers had been cured by using antibiotics.


Modern Age

After 1957 for several decades it remained unused, but after the interest of numerous tourists a systematic restoration and repair of old buildings, the Venetian fortification walls, old houses, roads etc. has began and still goes on by the Archaeological Service.

Thousands of visitors each year visit this beautiful island in summer by boat every hour starting from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and of course Plaka which is situated directly opposite the island and has an approximately 800 meters distance.


Published in Lassithi Area

Kosmos Rent A Car in Crete was founded in 1979 in Heraklion. Since then our company’s course has been continuously expanding and of steady growth due to professional standards and high quality in our car rental services accompanied with competitive rates. A fact that places our company at the top of the list of car rental business in Crete...