Elounda Island Villas

Elounda, Crete, Greece
Book from Book from £82 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 Leda 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.


  • 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
  • Excellent value for money


  • Children must be 6 years old and over
  • You'll need to head out for meals (the small on-site café is liable to be closed)
  • You can easily explore the surrounding area on foot, but for anything further afield you'll need a car
  • Some 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 cottages for 2-4
  • Self-catering
  • Kids over 6 welcome
  • Closed: 26 Nov 2022 - 31 Dec 2022
  • 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:

  • Phone
  • TV
  • WiFi


For breakfast you can 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 or short drive.

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
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby


  • 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 5 independent reviews from i-escape guests


The location is perfect!
It is peaceful on the island and a short walk to a lovely swimming spot and a half hour walk to a couple of sandy beaches. The villas are simple but have everything you need for a comfortable stay and a wonderful view from the balcony. Whilst enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the island, it was an easy 20 minute walk into Elouda and a vast array of taverna's and shops.
Leda was friendly and helpful and directed us the best places for swimming and walks.
I am looking forward to returning.


We absolutely loved our stay at Elounda Island Villa from the moment we drove across the narrow causeway with blue sea on either side. Our apartment (V4) had amazing views and a terrace with comfortable sun loungers. There was a little kitchen where you could have kept yoghurt and fruit, wine etc but we loved our walk to breakfast in the Jungle Bar cafe and dinner at Kanali (££ but very good). Blue Seas is good too. If you are looking to walk to simple beaches and escape the crowds, Elounda Island Villas is for you. We will return for sure. Thank you Leda.


The hotel is lovely and the owners super friendly and helpful. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms freshly renovated. However in our opinion the beds were not really comfortable. With new furniture the rooms could become super stylish. A breakfast would make the stay even more complete.


We loved the location of Elounda Island Villas. The “healthy” breakfast was excellent. Our room (8) was not ideal as it was too cool to sit out on the balcony early in the day. The bed was also impossible to get round as it was built right against a wall. This was not our original choice of room but the room we were offered…
Excellent meals and service were had at Ferryman, Moon Spinners and The Rakaki. We had dire service at Anemomylos, although the meal, when it eventually arrived, was good. Similarly at Kanali, poor service and whilst one meal was good the other was poor.


We loved our stay at Elounda Island Villas. After the 18 months of no travel, it was a great place to visit for a short 2 night stay (after a week at a villa on the island), a very special location, It is walking distance to a lovely pebble beach and slightly longer walk (you can drive part of the way) to a fabulous sandy beach. The water is clear and great for snorkelling. There is no traffic by the hotel, which adds to the feeling of peace and relaxation.

We travelled as a family with 2 teenage girls, and had 2 apartments. The I-escape review is very accurate, so I won't repeat most of that. I have added some detail below that I would have liked to see in other travellers reviews, so I hope others find it helpful.

As others mention, Leda is a great host and very welcoming and helpful with lots of tips on what to do and where to eat.

The apartments themselves are comfortable, a small fridge and 2 ring gas hob mean you can rustle up a simple dinner to eat on your balcony overlooking the sea. The beds are very comfortable and not rock hard like some you will find in Greece. Bathroom and showers are good. There is no air con, but we found the fan adequate and you can open the windows by the bed and there is a good breeze that comes off the coast. The loungers and chairs on the balconies are very comfortable. One of our apartments had balconies at the front and back which meant we could avoid the heat of the sun at the appropriate parts of the day. There is a supermarket in Elounda that does fresh veg/milk and bread. Its about a 20 minute walk/5 minute drive.

We had breakfasts both days - a simple continental breakfast on the Sunday and eggs with feta on the Monday. All freshly prepared and good quality. Fresh juice and coffee/tea on offer too. There is a very helpful map of the island that is provided a s a place map, which we thought was a nice touch.

We had lunch in our apartments and ate at Kanali in the evening - which is a 5 minute walk - a seafood restaurant mentioned in the main listing. Food was excellent and service was very good. The shrimp pasta was a big hit with our children. You will have to book at the better restaurants in Elounda. We drove over to Place which has some very good restaurants by the sea, but thought the place was slightly touristy, so we headed back to Elounda island, which felt more authentic.

I would not hesitate to book here if you are looking for a relaxed peaceful holiday by the sea.


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