In 1578 the Venetians constructed on the island of Spinalonga an impressive fortress. They built bastions on the northern and southern side of the island, as well as a fortification wall.
The island is also well-known as a “leper colony”. The disease Leprocy was one of the most feared diseases of the ancient times also known as “Hansen disease”. It was the last active leper colony in Europe from 1903 to 1957. The last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962. The tour also includes a visit to a traditional Cretan winery estate where few of the best Cretan wines are produced.
The Tour starts after breakfast by driving along the Northern coast of the island to Kritsa, one of the oldest and most picturesque villages of Crete. Here we will visit the 12th century Byzantine church of Panagia Kera located 1km from the village. The church contains the finest-preserved Byzantine-era frescoes in Crete, and for that reason , has become one of the most culturally and historically significant churches on the island.
We continue our tour through the villages of Nikithianos, Fourni, Karydi,Kato Louma and Valto to the sea-front village of Plaka where we will board the boat to take us on the now deserted island of Spinalonga. Our guide will guide us through the ruins of what used to be a leper-colony from 1903 to 1957 where lepers could have a better life, medical help and economic support. Upon returning to Plaka we will enjoy our lunch at a seafront traditional tavern. After lunch our tour continues to a Vineyard and a Winery. At an altitude ranging between 170 and 215 meters, on a 7-hectare plot, the privately-owned vineyard is cultivated based on the principles of organic farming, hosting various Greek and international varieties. The density of the planting is 3300 plants/hectare. Here we will enjoy a tour of the cellar, the production area and the rest of the estate. We will also visit the wine-tasting hall and enjoy tasting 3 labels of typical wine produced at the winery, served with crispy puff pastry with aromatic olive paste.
Late in the afternoon we return to our hotel.