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Spinalonga, Elounda

Elounda , Crete
Greece's insider take:

Visiting a former leper colony is not everyone's cup of tea. But a recent best-selling beach read, The Island, by British author Victoria Hislop, has put Spinalonga high on many must-see lists. This now deserted island served as Europe's last (and certainly its most infamous) detention center for sufferers of a disease for which drugs to control it had already been found. Boats to the island are frequent, leaving from Agios Nikolaos and, more conveniently, from Elounda, where the crossing takes about 15 minutes. In an hour or so, you can explore the Venetian fortress that was built here in the 1500s, and get a chilling sense of what it would have been like to be a "patient".

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