Blue Flag beach
The beach at Elounda stretches for 200 metres and flies the coveted Blue Flag in recognition of its cleanliness. Located just north of the harbour, it features sun loungers and umbrellas for maximum relaxation. You'll also enjoy views of Spinalonga, the mysterious island peeking out from the sea in the near distance.
The main beach at Elounda provides a peaceful atmosphere and gently shelving waters providing the ultimate relaxation for your Greek island holiday. For an even quieter time, Driros Beach is just a 15-minute walk down a sandy promenade.
History comes to life
Journeys into Elounda's storied past begin on boat cruises. The town is home to thousands of years of history, which can be explored above ground and under water. The island of Spinalonga sits squat in the distance and, though it might look alive with activity at first, it's actually an uninhabited isle that was abandoned more than 60 years ago. Graced with a Venetian fortress, it's the fitting backdrop for Victoria Hislop's novel The Island.
At the foot of the causeway that connects Elounda and Spinalonga are five stone windmills, the only above-ground remnants of the sunken city of Olous. The rest – including stone walls and a famous mosaic floor – lies beneath the water's surface, and can be viewed from a boat cruise or scuba diving expedition.
And if you aren't interested in suiting up, there are heaps of other touring opportunities to get you steeped in Elounda's culture, including a Happy Train, Segway© tours and off-roading adventures.
When you consider the town's location, it comes as no surprise that the restaurants in Elounda specialise in Greek fare, and seafood in particular. Many of the dining venues are located along the harbour and beachfront, and offer outdoor patios that'll have you drinking in the views - as well as a cocktail or two. The atmosphere ranges from swanky seaside to laid-back sports bar, so there's sure to be something to suit the mood.
Once night falls, Elounda keeps things relaxed with its local bars. A lot of the town's restaurants convert nicely into after-hours spots, with live music and glasses of wine served up on chilled-out patios. Hotels here claim some of Elounda's top real estate, meaning their bars snag supreme views onto the water.
When it comes to dance clubs and neon lighting, nearby Aghios Nikolaos has you covered.
Elounda is rumoured to be home to more 5* accommodation than any other Greek town of its size, with spas, golf courses and infinity pools to match. And with its famous clientele – including celebs and world leaders – it's no wonder why.
This might lead you to think that Elounda is too pricey for the everyday tourist, but the town also features an array of affordable apartments and smaller hotels that don't sacrifice comfort.
Located just a 15-minute drive from Elounda is the popular seaside town of Aghios Nikolaos. Its beaches are so good that they're said to have been the bathing place of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war. When sunbathing here, you'll have your pick of a wide array of sandy settings, from secluded coves to more lively stretches of shoreline.
Pachia Ammos is another town filled with historical significance, being home to an ancient Minoan Palace called Gournia. It also has an archaeology museum in addition to its own olive oil farm. Here you'll learn just how the Cretans make their famous ingredient. Spots for wining and dining are spread along the coast as well as at the gorgeous lakeside harbour set back from the sea.