“Simple, secluded apartments (for 2-4) with a tiny beach, on a rugged island off the coast near Elounda”
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.
- 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
Our top tips
- Budget Apartments
- Self-catering (+ on-site cafe)
- Kids over 6 welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Tennis Court
- Motorboat hire
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.
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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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,
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.
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