Spinalonga (Σπιναλόγκα) is in Greek officially known as Kalydon (Καλυδών). As a small rocky island it’s situated in the Gulf of Elounda, opposite the small fishermen’s village of Plaka.
You can reach Spinalonga by boat from the harbour of Agios Nicolaos and Elounda or by small boat from the pier of Plaka. Spinalonga is mostly known as a Leper colony. Leper patients from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined here till 1957.
There exists a theory that the name Spinalonga appeared for the first time in 13th century; Venetian conquerors, unfamiliar with Greek, corrupted the place-name “Stin Olounda” which is Greek for “at Olounda”, originally to Spinalonde and later to Spinalonga.
Reports also show that Spinalonga was not always an island. In 1526, the Venetians cut down a portion of the peninsula and thus created the island. Because of its position the island was fortified since its early years in order to protect the entranceway of the port of the nearby ancient Olous. This had a commercial importance because of the created salt making industry.