Welcome to the picturesque village of Plaka near Elounda in Crete!
This very old and cozy fishing village has nothing special. There are several taverns, souvenir shops, apartment houses for rent and a small walking path along the sea. However, this village is located in a stunningly beautiful place, opposite the historic island-fortress of Spinalonga, which is one of the most popular tourist sites in Crete today. The island of Spinalonga can be reached only by water; therefore, Plaka is the closest starting point: both today and in ancient times.
Getting from Agios Nikolaos to Plaka by car is not difficult. Both existing navigator and road signs will help you.
Your trail runs along the Mirabello Bay, which means fantastic panoramic views. You can take nice pictures and admire the mesmerizing views from very often located observation decks.
The famous tourist resort of Elounda will be the main landmark on your way. To get to Plaka, you will need to drive through Elounda along the central coastal road. Elounda has a beautiful small marina and a port, which is no larger, from where you can go for boat trips along the Mirabello Bay, and the island of Spinalonga. The path to Spinalonga from there, of course, will be longer, and tickets are more expensive than from Plaka. The distance from Agios Nikolaos to Plaka is no more than 15 kilometers.
The shortest (and cheapest) way from Plaka to Spinalonga is from a small pier, located not at the beginning, but in the back of the village, next to the Spinalonga, and Maria taverns. These taverns are historically run by the Greek Vrachasotaki family. For a long time it has kept the traditions of the first coffee house in Plaka (since 1930)—the Maria Tavern. Since 1988 a large seafood tavern “Spinalonga” has been opened. The boats Agios Georgios and Agia Marina regularly depart from this pier for Spinalonga.
In the Maria Tavern, visitors can enjoy traditional dishes based on Grandma Maria’s recipes in a warm atmosphere and local-style interiors.
The seafood Tavern “Spinalonga” (http://www.tavernaspinalonga.com) is located in the immediate vicinity of Plaka Beach and directly opposite Spinalonga Island. The visitor can taste fresh seafood caught by local fishermen and enjoy the views of the island in a friendly and family environment. Famous people from the political and artistic world often visit this tavern. Importantly, it is open all year round. Large and free parking is nearby.
The main attraction of Plaka is its excellent location and stunning views of the Mirabello Bay. If you are not planning an excursion to the island of Spinalonga, then after passing Plaka, you can come to the top of the hills by car, from where you will have panoramic views of the bay and the island of Spinalonga with an impressive Venetian fortress that has stood the test of time. And if you go further, you will find yourself in traditional mountain villages, which will give a complete picture of the authentic Cretan way of life.