The tiny island of Spinalonga is just a short hop away from Crete but a visit is like stepping back in time. Centuries of history are packed within the walls that encircle the islet. You'll sail to Spinalonga from Elounda, a 25-minute cruise.
On arrival at the islet – which is no more than 435m long and 230m wide – you'll find yourself immersed in its history straight away. Over the years, Spinalonga has been a Venetian outpost, an Ottoman town and a leper colony, which led to it being dubbed the ‘isle of tears'.
A guided walk will show you around the Venetian fortress and the leper colony – which closed in the 1950s. See the main street, still lined with the shops and houses where the lepers attempted to live ordinary lives. And look round the old hospital and graveyard. After fascinating if poignant visit, you'll board the boat and sail back to Elounda.