The island of Spinalonga, officially known as Kalydon, is located in the Gulf of Elounda in north-eastern Crete, in Lasithi prefecture, next to the town of Elounda.
Originally, Spinalonga was not an island, it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation the island was carved out of the coast for defense purposes and a fort was built there. During Venetian rule, salt was harvested from salt pans around the island. The island has also been used as a leper colony. It is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. Spinalonga has appeared in novels like the famous " The island " written by the author Victoria Hislop, television series, and a short film.
Today, the unoccupied island is a popular tourist attraction in Crete. In addition to the abandoned leper colony and the fortress, Spinalonga is known for its small pebble beaches and shallow waters. The island can easily be accessed from Elounda and Agios Nikolaos. Tourist boats depart from both towns on a daily basis. There is no accommodation on Spinalonga, meaning all tours last only a few hours.