Crete is a magical part of the world. It’s the largest of the Greek Islands which means that it does have some larger resorts on it like Malia (less said about that place the better.) However there are some smaller, beautiful resorts dotted around the island if you want to enjoy the Crete sunshine without hordes of tourists. Elounda is one of these resorts.
I first heard about Elounda when a blogger I follow on Instagram visited there last year and when this year came around to look for holidays it stuck in my mind as somewhere to visit. We managed to get a great deal on our hotel and flights and before we knew it were on our way for a week in heaven.
I have previously written about the hotel here. It’s called The Royal Marmin Bay and compared to a lot of the other hotels in the area that feature a private pool it was a bargain. That is, a bargain by comparison to the other luxury resorts. Elounda can be done a lot cheaper though, we bumped into one couple who were staying a short distance down the road from us who managed to get a great last minute deal. There are lots of hotels located both in Elounda and along the road to Plaka which would be lovely to stay at. I believe there are also some resorts in Plaka however our visit there was so brief that I couldn’t really comment on those.
As we were only there for 7 days we spent most of our time sat by our private pool, the beach or the hotels main pool area, however we did venture out a few times to see some of the surrounding area. One of these days we took a taxi to Agios Nikolas which is the largest resort near to Elounda and came up again and again on my research as a place to visit. We headed out a bit earlier in the day to try and see some of the area in the daylight and then planned to eat our tea there in the evening. The town is a lot larger than Elounda, it’s also mostly hill based which can be hard work. Due to the size of the town the choices of places to eat are overwhelming, and it can be quite crowded walking around the streets. We started off with a little wander around Lake Voulismeni which is a small lake connected to the sea with bars situated around it. We then walked up through the streets to the port area to have a look at some of the stunning million pound yachts moored here. On the way back to the lake we took the coastal walk which gifted us the opportunity of some beautiful views looking out into the wildness of the Sea of Crete and across to the White Mountains. The food here was okay I guess. You can tell it’s more geared up to larger tourist groups and families. We made the decision to leave a bit earlier than we had initially planned and go back to our hotel happy in our decision to stay in the quieter resort instead of one of the large Agios Nikolas hotels.
One of our other day trips out was to the island of Spinalonga which I will write about later as part of a separate blog covering the beauty of this now deserted island.
Most nights we walked along the coastal path into Elounda in the search of food. There was no shortage of places to eat here and the choice of food was varied from seafood to Greek dishes to Italian and even a Thai cafe! The walk itself took about 20-30 minutes depending on how many times you stop to take photos and a quick bit of advice, you’ll stop a lot if you are anything like me. One of the nights we saw a loggerhead turtle while we were walking along which was an amazing surprise so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
We found most of the restaurants in Elounda quite hit and miss. I would avoid Vritomartes, which is a shame as the location of this restaurant is amazing, it’s on a little island in the harbour which you access over a small bridge. The service here was terrible though and the food was bland so yeah, avoid.
One of our favourite places to eat was Olio which is an Italian, the manager in there was lovely and always had a smile when he remembered us on following nights. The food was amazing and the service was good even when really busy. Of course as it’s an Italian I would recommend the pizza from here, it’s on a thin and crispy freshly made base with generous toppings and a delicious tomato base which tastes homemade and is delicious. You get a bread starter here with some olive oil and a dessert (for free) which is a lovely touch. I would also highly recommend Paradosiako for tasty authentic Greek food.
After you have eaten there are a few cocktail bars dotted around to enjoy a drink and a chat, these are perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday but also the fun of a few late night drinks. Our preferred bar was Eden, the owner here is a lovely Thai lady and the cocktails were yummy. Like everywhere in Elounda if you order a drink you get some small snacks but in Eden you also get a shot of something which changed every time. One night after paying on our way out the owner grabbed us and ensured we got our shot before we left, great service!
Also worth a shout out is the fantastic new bakery in the square. They not only do some amazing looking cakes but their ice-cream was delicious with a great range of flavours at a fairly cheap price. I mean who doesn’t love ice cream, right?
Later into the holiday I joined an Elounda Facebook group where I found out about a new bar opened up on the hill just outside of town called BeeRaki. This is a bar that sells craft beer and after my husband putting up with endless cocktails we agreed to go visit for a drink. There was a fantastic selection of local craft beers available along with some cocktails but what really stole the show at this bar was the view. The moon was almost full when we visited and seeing this sitting above Elounda and reflecting on the water in the harbour was breathtaking. It’s well worth a visit and the short 10 minute walk from the centre of Elounda.
Honestly this resort was perfect for a week of pure bliss and is somewhere I will be recommending for friends to visit in the future. Would I go back? Yes, but there is so much more of the world to see and I always feel that visiting the same place twice is counterproductive to my travel goals.
Don’t forget to check out my Flickr page to see more photos of the locations I visit.