Elafonisi, Crete

Elafonisi, Crete: The place that combines successfully a magnificent tropical beach in Chania with a rare protected natural environment.

Elafonisi, Crete
, is a rare place, which seems to be in a tropical island, and not in the Mediterranean Sea. In Elafonisi, there is a magnificent, one-of-a-kind beach, and also a unique, protected by law, natural environment.

Elafonisi lies at the southwest tip of Crete island. Its distance from Chania city is about 75 kilometres and from Kissamos village about 45 kilometres. There are no permanent residents in Elafonisi.

Although the place is relatively isolated, getting there is easy, due to the popularity of Elafonisi. There is a reliable bus service from both Chania city and Kissamos village, and you can also get to Elafonisi by boat from Paleochora in South Crete.

When getting to Elafonisi, Crete, by car, the road passes through the spectacular Topolia Gorge and the traditional mountainous villages of Topolia, Elos, Kefali and Vathi. About 5 kilometres before arriving at Elafonisi is the famous Chryssoskalitissa monastery, where you are advised to spend some time exploring this centuries-old religious monument of Crete.

The magnificent beach of Elafonisi – one of the best beaches in Crete and Greece

Elafonisi beach is stunning: it has shallow, clear turquoise waters, and its fine sand is white and pink. The pink colour of the sand comes from the corals and the seashells in the area.

Opposite of the beach, lies the small Elafonisi Islet. Although the distance from the beach to the islet is about 100 metres, getting there on foot is easy, as the sea forms a shallow lagoon – with a maximum depth of 1 metre – between the beach and the sea. This marvellous lagoon, a unique creation of nature in Crete, is one of the most picturesque corners of Elafonisi.

Although the beach of Elafonisi, Crete, is big, it could get crowded during August, due to the popularity of the place among tourists. If you want to experience a more secluded part of Elafonisi, walk towards the south, where you can find a couple of nice, hidden coves.

In Elafonisi there are some basic amenities like sun beds and parasols, and a small cafe by the beach serving cold water, refreshments and snacks.

Elafonisi, Crete – a natural environment unique in the Mediterranean Sea

The area of Elafonisi is an environmentally protected area in Chania by Greek laws and by the Natura 2000 Environmental Program of the EU. The crystal-clear waters, the white and pink sand, and the very interesting flora and fauna in the region, form together a natural environment of astonishing beauty and uniqueness.

In the beach, there are rare species of cedar trees that grow on the sand. They are surrounded by ropes in order to protect them. The flora on the sandy islet of Elafonisi is endemic and needs special care.

The area of Elafonisi is also a natural refuge in Crete for many species of sea birds. Elafonisi is the last stop in Europe for many species of migrating birds in their long journey from Europe to Africa. Elafonisi Islet is also a breeding place for the protected Caretta-Caretta sea turtle. In the sea of Elafonisi you can sometimes see the Monachus-Monachus seals swimming, the characteristic protected seals of the Aegean Sea.

Elafonisi is a rare place in Crete, which combines a stunning beach with a unique, very interesting natural environment. As access to the area is relatively easy, we suggest you take the opportunity to visit the truly especial Elafonisi, Crete, when you are in Chania region.


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