Elounda Island Villas

Elounda Crete, Greece Book from Book from £81 per night

Simple, secluded apartments (for 2-4) with a tiny beach, on a rugged island off the coast near Elounda
The Gulf of Mirabello is one of the most picturesque stretches of coast on northern Crete, and one of the busiest. Elounda is hotel central, bustling with 5-star resorts and all manner of watersports within its enclosed lagoon. But just offshore, connected to the town by a causeway and an old stone bridge, is a little island which feels a world away. In Minoan times, this was a wealthy port: you can still see traces of the stonework beneath the surface of the clear blue sea. Now there's hardly any traffic at all: just 3 ruined windmills and an open-air taverna where, over breakfast and freshly brewed coffee, you can watch fishing boats chug home through the canal.

On this islet there is just one proper building - and there probably won't ever be more, given the strict planning laws that are now in place. It's a cluster of cubist Greek-style apartments: whitewashed and boxy, with paved patios, fragrant gardens, and olive and carob trees for shade. Inside each, the decor is simple and rustic. Not only is the resort family-friendly, it’s also family-run: you're warmly welcomed by artistic Lida and her parents Kiki and Ilias, who run the place with a laid-back, English-speaking ease. This spot makes a delightful, friendly base for an undemanding family or couple wanting to relax by the sea and explore some of eastern Crete, without spending the kind of money required by other Elounda hotels.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.


  • Fantastic swimming and snorkelling on your doorstep, and a sandy beach nearby with crystal clear waters
  • Great views from your breezy balcony over the sparkling sea
  • You share the island with just a handful of other guests, yet nearby Elounda offers bars, shops and boat trips to Spinalonga island
  • Kiki's breakfasts are superb
  • Excellent value for money


  • Children must be 6 years old and over
  • The cafe only serves breakfast, coffee and cakes; you'll need to head out for other meals
  • You can easily explore the surrounding area on foot, but for anything further afield you'll need a car
  • Some of the local beaches get crowded in summer - but Leda can point you in the direction of hidden gems

Best time to go

The best time to visit Crete is between April - October, which is also when the hotel is open; though bear in mind that July-August can be very hot and very crowded. We went in early October and loved it - the perfect window between busy-ness and shutting down, with warm seas to boot.

Our top tips

Bring your own mask and snorkel, and a copy of Victoria Hislop's "The Island". This best-selling novel tells of a family whose life on and around Spinalonga is brought to colourful, and often tragic, life. Though somewhat harrowing, like all Greek tragedies, it leaves you feeling affirmed.

Great for...

  • Budget Apartments
  • 9
  • Self-catering (+ on-site cafe)
  • Kids over 6 welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Tennis Court
  • Motorboat hire
  • Gallery


The apartments are simply but adequately furnished, with plain pine tables and chairs, stone-flagged or tiled floors, cheerful cushions and curtains and a variety of built-in beds. The layout is open-plan and split level, with the bedroom (or bedrooms) half a floor higher than the sitting areas. Each apartment also has a simple kitchenette and a bathroom with tub (hand-held shower only); outside is a balcony or patio with glorious views over Elounda Bay. Electricity comes from photovoltaic cells which heat the shower water and power the eco-friendly lamps. There is no heating or air-con.

Features include:

  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • TV
  • WiFi


The family runs an open-air taverna serving breakfast, as well as drinks, coffee and cake during the day (there's also a gift shop here with original artwork and prints from Greek artists and designers). You might prefer to buy supplies of orange juice, yoghurt, honey and nuts and do it all yourself in your kitchen: gas hob/oven, sink, fridge and basic cutlery/crockery. For provisions, the centre of Elounda is a 20-minute walk.

For dinner, we loved wandering a few minutes down the track to the delightful Kanali restaurant, shaded by tamarisks which overlook the canal separating Elounda Island from 'mainland' Crete. With colourful fishing boats buzzing past, it's the perfect setting for grilled catch of the day, super-fresh salads, baked veggie dishes and carafes of local wine (or bottled, if you prefer).

And there's no shortage of tavernas and bars in Elounda. Favourites include The Ferryman on the waterside (try their slow cooked lamb and the stuffed vine leaves) and Lotus Eaters for seafood (the grilled prawns and peppered steak come recommended). A good budget option is Vacchus - serves simple homely fare at unbeatable prices. In nearby Plaka, several tavernas have wonderful waterside settings facing the islet of Spinalonga, but watch out for the prices.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant


  • On the islet, sandy Kolokytha Bay (10-min drive / 30-min walk) boasts the most beautiful turquoise waters; in summer, go before 11am or after 4pm to avoid the tour boats
  • Walk aross the land-bridge to Elounda's sand and shingle beaches (10 mins): sunbeds to hire, plentiful tavernas along the sea's edge and a smattering nightlife in summer for teens (and, why not, their parents)
  • Have a look at the onsite art gallery. Elounda welcomes artists in residence to stay and create something for the villas or the gardens.
  • Catch a boat from Elounda (or Plaka) across the lagoon to the rocky island of Spinalonga, with its Venetian fortifications and macabre history as a leper colony; go early (or late) to avoid crowds
  • Elounda offers watersports and some shopping, but for more choice, drive 10 minutes into Agios Nikolaos, a bustling town famous for its totally enclosed (and supposedly bottomless) fishing harbour - very pretty, but skip the touristy waterfront tavernas!
  • To get away from it all, point your hire car towards the rocky hills and olive-studded valleys. Aim for the tiny hamlet of Fourni, with its shady square (and taverna), its black-clad ladies and a line of ruined windmills above; or don't aim at all, just drive at will - Crete is full of heart-warming surprises for those who make the time

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing


Children aged 6 and over are welcome, and the larger apartments can sleep up to 4 (with a combination of double and twin beds). We think it could work well for a family with teenage children, who can enjoy water sports and gentle nightlife in Elounda.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Any of V1 / V4 / V5 / V10 would be fine for a family of 4, who don't mind using the living room as the 2nd bedroom. Otherwise you can get 2 adjacent apartments.

Kids Activities on site:

There's a small sandy beach just outside, and tennis players can ask about the state of the court (avoid the midday heat, of course).

Families Should Know:

The apartments have unprotected steps and sharp edges.

Kid Friendly:


Elounda Island Villas are 1km from Elounda town in the east of the Greek island of Crete. They lie on a tiny island attached by a causeway to the main part of Crete,

By Air
It’s easiest to fly into Heraklion (also called Iraklion), which mainly has charter flights. Alternatively, there are year-round scheduled flights via Athens.

From the Airport
You can catch a taxi from Heraklion (best to agree a price before getting in, or to book in advance through the hotel); or catch a bus to Aghios Nikolaos and a taxi from there. But the easiest way to get around is by car.

By Car
From Heraklion, it’s easiest to hire a car and drive to Elounda – a 1.5-hour (100km) drive via Agios Nikolaos. Hiring a car will also allow you to explore the area better - see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will follow when you confirm a booking through our site.

More on getting to Greece and getting around.


  • Heraklion, Nikos Kazantzakis 100.0 km HER
  • Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos 430.0 km ATH


  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests


We loved the Elounda Island Villas. A warm welcome, plenty of information and help. The villas are charming with magnificent views, in a wonderfully quiet location. The taverna offered delicious breakfasts, drinks and cakes. Although the villas have the facilities to self cater, we walked into Elounda (20 mins) every evening for supper. There were several walks on the island and we swam from 2 of the beaches. We would recommend this place highly.


We found Elounda Island Villas exactly what we needed to have a break from our busy life, finding peace, tranquillity in a rustic and fabulous location. It felt like we had a whole island to ourselves at times with the sea a few steps away from our apartment. If you are like us and don't want to cater for yourselves (except for breakfasts on the balcony) you can easily walk to excellent restaurants/tavernas, supermarket, market for fruit & veg and beaches. The hosts made us feel very welcome and on hand, without being invasive, to provide advice and recommendations. The accommodation was clean, bed comfortable and the fans were a welcome addition as we prefer not to use A/C. Clean sheets, towels and beach towels provided with due diligence to the environment in the maintenance of the apartments and surroundings. Cannot recommend enough but scared that it will get too popular and its not available for our next trip. It is very rare that we return to a holiday destination but we will be making it an exception with Elounda island Villas. A big thank you to Leda and Costas for creating such a wonderful place and sharing this with us.
See you again soon.


Simple room/accommodation. Bedroom area a little compact. Hosts welcoming. Breakfast options limited, but the main Elounda tourist area is within 15 - 20 minutes walking distance and their are many restaurant options there. Island is relatively quiet, although quite a few tourists make their way there due to the beach being much better than anywhere else.


Excellent location and a warm welcome. Plenty of information from the owners about nearby walks, beaches and a selection of local restaurants. Such a lovely walk to Elounda and although we had a car, you could do without one during your stay. Breakfast and other snacks are available on site and are wonderful to eat gazing over the bay and towards the old windmills.


Lovely people. They looked after us excellently and helped us with restaurant recommendations and bookings, places to see, the best beaches, the loan of goggles, snorkels and umbrella and the hire of kayaks. Made us very welcome and contributed greatly to a lovely holiday.


Lovely place; nice atmosphere, charming people and I would happily come back. Elounda is a bit pricey and touristy but this is a haven from all of that.


Elounda Island villas is in a beautiful setting. The owners Leda and Kostas are perfect hosts giving all sort of information about places to visit and restaurants in Elounda. They are always helpful smiling and friendly. Breakfast with a sea view is delicious. We highly recommend this place.


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