Spinalonga is a small island near Elounda in East Crete. Spinalonga is also known as the Leper Island, as that is where lepers from Crete and the rest of Greece were quarantined until 1957.
The award winning and best selling book The Island by Victoria Hislop is set on the island and shares the fictional story of a family's ties to the former leper colony.
Originally, Spinalonga was not an island – it was part of the island of Crete. During Venetian occupation the island was carved out of the coast for defence purposes and a fort was built there.