Plaka is located 16km north of Agios Nikolaos, opposite the entrance of the lagoon of Korfos (or lagoon of Elounda), in one of the most beautiful places of Crete. A feature of Plaka is the wonderful views of the island Kalydon, on where the famous fortress of Spinalonga stands. Spinalonga operated as a leper hospital during the first half of the 20th century. The island can be reached primarily by boat from Elounda and Plaka. Indeed, Plaka existence is highly linked to Spinalonga, as the settlement was built for serving the leper colony.
Today, in Plaka you will find several traditional taverns and lovely old houses, which give you the impression that time has stopped here 2-3 centuries ago. Indeed, this picturesque place was the ideal place for filming one of the most amazing TV series of Greek Television, called “The Island” (2010). The only thing that has altered the landscape considerably, is a huge luxury hotel just outside Plaka.
Plaka could not be left off the list of beaches in Crete, since there are two picturesque pebbly beaches with crystal clear waters. The first beach is in front of the large hotel, on the east of the village (the beach at the center of the attached photo). The beach of Agia Marina, as it is called after the nearby Byzantine church and cemetery of Agia Marina, has big pebbles and deep waters. Those not staying at the hotel may access that via a small path running next to the cemetery. The seabed in some areas, especially outside the area in front of the hotel, is quite rough, making the area one of the most famous fishing grounds. Agia Marina is organized by the hotel with all basic services, which are provided primarily to its residents.
West of the village there is the second beach with tamarisk trees (the front one in the attached photo). Plaka beach is pebbly and has calm waters, resembling that of Agia Marina. The seabed is very interesting and is worth discovering. It is well organized and Plaka taverns are within walking distance.
If you come to Plaka, apart from Spinalonga, it is worth exploring the surrounding area with its picturesque villages, the ancient sites and the vast olive groves of Ano Mirabello (Ano Mirabello is the mountainous region west of Plaka). Continuing north of the village, you’ll pass the village Vrouchas and see the old windmills. From Vrouchas head east to reach the lighthouse on Aforesmenos Cape, located in the northwest tip of the large Gulf of Mirabello. Before the lighthouse, you’ll see the modern version of the windmills of Vrouchas that is the wind farm of the area. Another route you should see is crossing Mirabello and its picturesque villages, till you reach either Neapoli or Milatos, where you can find the main road to Heraklion.