Elounda, alternative transliterations Elounta or Elouda, is a small fishing town on the northern coast of the island of Crete, Greece. It is part of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos, until recently (2010) belonging to the prefecture of Lasithi and as of the passage of new legislation, the periphery of Crete.
The road into Elounda from Agios Nikolaos is approximately 12 km in length and follows the shore as it climbs to the top of a small mountain. The view from the top is incomparable; on a clear day it is possible to see the whole of Mirabello Bay and all the way to the eastern tip of Crete.
It is also the closest major town to the former leper colony of Spinalonga, located on an island officially named Kalydon. In 1579, the Venetians built a mighty fortress on the island on the ruins of an ancient acropolis. The Venetians kept control of the island even after the rest of Crete fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1669 and it remained under their control for almost another half a century until its capitulation in 1715. Spinalonga island is notable for being the last active leper colony from 1903 until 1957. Today, it is unoccupied and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area.
The small fishing village of Plaka (Lasithi), which overlooks the island of Spinalonga and the Kolikithia Peninsula, can be reached a mere 5 km from the main square of Elounda heading north away from Agios Nikolaos. Elounda is a famous tourist attraction, heavily visited by VIPs for its seaside luxury resorts. Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou used to spend his summers in Elounda; today, it is visited almost every year by the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 1984, the President of France, François Mitterrand, and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya met in a luxurious Elounda resort to discuss conflict resolution in Chad