Elounda is a world renowned tourism resort in Crete, located 10km to the north of Aghios Nikolaos, having an indented coastline, shaded beaches, crystal clear seas, and a tranquil environment.
The village is built on the southern coast of the Gulf of Elounda, 1km east of the ancient Minoan settlement of Olous, from which it has taken its name. The ancient settlement of Olous was one of the most important of the hundreds of cities of ancient Crete with more than 30,000 inhabitants that was deserted in 780 B.C due to a natural disaster.
In 1210, the Venetians occupied the island. The first mention of the name Elounda is found on a document from 1376. The Venetians operated the salt mines, and under threat of danger from the Turks, rebuilt the fortress of Spinalonga in 1579. Many churches were erected during the latter Venetian occupation: Analipsis, Aghios Georgios in Katevati, the church of The Virgin Mary in Druvalia, Aghios Paraskevi in Tsifliki and Aghios Marinas in Plaka.
In 1669, the Turks captured the town of Handakas and became the rulers of Crete. Spinalonga would resist for 46 years more, until 1715 when the Turks conquered it. Here, revolutionaries found a refuge, and because of that event, the Turks forbade the foundation of new settlements in the wider area of Spinalonga. This prohibition, as well as fear of pirates, caused the inhabitants who stayed in the small cattle settlements there to be extremely cautious. The habitation of the settlements of Pano and Kato Elounda, and Mavrikiano began to be regularized in the middle of the 18th century. Elounda was burned down in 1823 by Hasan Pasha.
In Elounda today there are 2,200 inhabitants in six settlements, the majority of whom live in Skisma, and are involved in the tourism business. The luxury hotels found in the region annually accommodate prominent representatives of the world's social, economic and political life.