- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
The island of Spinalonga is known for its sixteenth century Venetian fortress, and I'd recommend visiting it while on holiday in Crete. It's one of the most important Cretan citadels: the garrison managed to withstand the onslaughts of the Ottoman army until 1715! That's about fifty years after Crete surrendered (1669).
In the early twentieth century, after the departure of the Turks, the fortress was turned into a leper colony until 1957. Nowadays, everything has been abandoned: the houses, the streets, the churches... But the leper colony of Spinalonga lives on in the collective memory of the Cretans thanks to the famous work of the English novelist Victoria Hislop, The Island(2005).
The island of Spinalonga fascinated me with its charm and splendid panoramic views: an island sat in the middle of a deep blue sea, surrounded by hills for as far as your eyes can see; a completely uncluttered landscape that Robinson Crusoe would have been proud of. It's an ideal place for travel enthusiasts who want to head off the beaten track. But you won't be alone in wanting to spend a few hours on this timeless island!