Elafonisi beach has been voted several times as one of the most majestic beaches not only in Europe but also in the world. The area features exotic beauty: dunes, cedar trees, white lilies, black rocks, rare species of animals and birds that live there, blue waters and bright white sand. All these, make this beach really unique and Elafonisi holidays really popular! It is located in western Crete, 75 km southwest of Chania. Elafonisi is a small island at a distance of 200 meters from the shore. Between the island and the shore, there is a shallow lagoon of 1-meter depth at most. If you spend your family holidays in Crete, Elafonisi beach is one of the beaches that you will certainly enjoy.
The sand of Elafonisi beach is white, but in many places it is pinkish due to the thousands of broken seashells it contains. It has clear green-blue waters, giving the impression that you are in an exotic paradise. Elafonisi beach is organized without losing its authenticity. You will find sunbeds and umbrellas, lifeguard, shower, canteens with seats in the shade, changing rooms and toilette. That’s why it is one of the most popular beach for family holidays in Crete.
Your children will love the shallow waters and you will feel confident enough in order to enjoy your swim. For several meters from the beach, the sea depth is approximately below the knee. You will notice many people to cross the lagoon. You can make the same in order to reach the small island. The deepest point is midway where the sea level reaches the waist of an adult. After passing the lagoon, you reach Elafonisi.
Elafonisi beach is also offered for sports on the beach and water sports also. Your kids will love playing volleyball and rackets in the shallow waters and, if you are among the lovers of water sports, Elafonisi is ideal for wind surfing and kite surfing, as it combines the strong winds of South West Crete with the calm waters of the lagoon. However, we would recommend you to try those sports, when the beach is not so crowded, in order for you to enjoy them at most.
One of the reasons that Elafonisi beach has been included in the protected areas of Natura, is that here lay the turtles Caretta-Caretta. You will also find rich plant life and rare flowers in the surrounding area, as the island of Elafonisi is home to 110 plant species. Additionally, the entire south side of the island is also a fantastic beach or if you want many small beaches separated from the scattered rocks. After walking a few minutes walking to the west, you can easily reach Kedrodasos beach, a peaceful beach with a beautiful cedar forest around it!
The shipwreck of “Imperatrix”
On the small island, you will is a large wooden cross in commemoration of the sinking of the Austrian ship “Imperatrix” , which sank in February 1907. The victims of the shipwreck were buried in the island. You will have the chance to see remnants of the wreck still on the island. A lighthouse was built on the island, in order other shipwrecks to be avoided. However, it was destroyed by German occupation troops in WWII. Near the ruins of the lighthouse, you will find a chapel, dedicated to Agios Nikolaos.
Elafonisi beach attracts thousands of visitors every summer, which in July and August may be about 2,500 daily, so if you want to enjoy more this beach, it is better to come at the beginning or end of the summer, or to avoid the hours of 11:00 to 16:00, especially in weekends.
If the day is windy you should avoid the beach as Elafonisi has strong winds that can be annoying and won’t let you enjoy your swim.
It is recommended to bring your own umbrella as you might not find free sunbeds.
It is forbidden to take along with you the pink sand due to its rare consistency of seashells.
Elafonisi Beach – How To Get There
In order to reach Elafonisi beach, you may travel by car, or take the intercity bus or a boat from Paleochora. If you go there by car or bus, you will have the chance to admire some of the most picturesque villages of West Crete! The route from Chania to Elafonisi is one of the most scenic Crete routes, that you can experience by car.
You start driving on the National Road leading to Kasteli of Kissamos. About 1 km.before you reach Kasteli, you turn left towards Topolia Gorge. You will pass through the picturesque villages Voulgaro and Potamida and get in Topolia, having traveled 8 km from the junction. Then, you continue south to Myloi village (Mills). In the village Vlatos, turn right on the dirt road that leads to Milia. At the exit of the village, you turn right to Elos and Kefali. Arriving at Kefali,you take the west road to Vathi and Tzitzifia, and after 11 km. you will see the monastery of Chrysoskalitissa, on the southwest coast at a distance of 72 km from Chania. Visit this monastery for a devout pilgrimage and look for the golden step which, according to the legend, only the truly faithful visitors can see it. Keep following the road after Chrysoskalitissa and you reach Elafonisi beach and its lagoon.
Where To Stay
In order for you to be bale to enjoy the exotic landscape of Elafonisi every day during your holidays, we would suggest you to choose to stay in one of our holiday villas near Elafonisi. By staying in a holiday home in the surrounding area, you will be able to enjoy unique views of the sea and the Cretan nature, calmness and privacy in your private space, as well as to explore also the beautiful villages of the west coast of Crete. Read our Crete Villas Guide and find your perfect villa near Elafonisi!
Elafonisi – The Best Beach In Greece For 2015 In TripAdvisor!
Travelers in TripAdvisor voted this majestic beach as the best beach in Greece for 2015! This is not the only distinction for this beach, as Elafonisi has been declared several times as one of the best beaches in Europe and world!
The sea is calm and beautiful. The colors are bright: blue waters, pink sand. It is a heaven on earth! – Travelers review from TripAdvisor
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