Visiting the Beautiful Elafonisi 

by / Juhani

Updated 18.11.2012

beach area is large, shallow and well protected from waves
with the
finest sand. Large sandy fields around the lagoon, shallow
waters and
gently sloping beaches make it an excellent destination
and site for
playing in the water for families with children of all ages.

beaches are managed by the local commune in an orderly and tourist
friendly fashion, and the revenues from beach chairs and corner stores
profit mainly the maintenance of the area. During high winds flying sand
may be annoying for swimmers and sun bathers, but for the wind surfers
windy conditions make Elafonisi a good site for their sport.


   Elafonisi temperatures during May and September, and here you can check out the surface temperatures both in water and in
sand at the end of May 2008 and september 2008.

Temperatures in may 2008

Temperatures in september 2008

Changing Landscape

shore at Elafonisi beach changes every winter as the winter storms beat
the huge sandy areas. In the picture above you can see the beach in
2008 and in the picture below the same beach in 2007. In both cases it
was possible to ford across the lagoon to the opposite sandy island.
Every year the beach looks different.

Beach in 2008

Beach in 2010

Getting There

and International travel agencies organize bus trips to Elafonisi. A
good choice is car rental, which makes it possible to stay longer at the
beach. From the eastern harbour at Paleochora you can catch a boat to
Elafonisi, but only if the weather permits.
   Elafonisi is no more than
a two-hour drive from Chania. There are two optional routes, one inland
and the other is the coastal route. Both are worth the drive, and on
the map below, both routes are marked with blue or green. The
blue route includes the tightest road tunnel in Crete and the beautiful
Agia Sofia cave just north of the tunnel. The green route has rugged
slopes and hills with beautiful scenery, and a good view of the western
coast. The cape of Elafonisi is visible early from the coastal route. You can see this on our video.

you want to see beautiful landscapes on the road to Elafonisi, choose
the western green road
(see  part of this route in video) . If you dislike a well-surfaced and well-kept
road which takes you high up the hills and mountain slopes, choose the
good and paved eastern blue route (see  part of this route and Topolia
tunnel in our video).
The meeting point of the two routes, Kefali Village, is worth a stop,
as the view from its taverns down to the Elafonisi Valley is

   The direct and shortest route from Paleochora and
Elafonisi is quite rough and a difficult road to negotiate and not worth
the trouble. This route demands fair driving skills especially after
hard rain, and it is recommended you take the route via Elos to

A view to Elafonisi from western road
Elafonisi from southeast

Getting from and to can be done on water as well, there are two passenger boats operating between Paleochora and Elafonisi

Timing the Visit

visitors come to the beach for a day-trip with a rental car, and the
rest on a dozen buses. With the two-hour drive time from Crete’s western
resort villages the beach begins to feel crowded around 10 am and the
traffic begins to slow down on the descending roads. It is not
unfamiliar to feel like the day is too short as it is already time to
get ready for the return trip.

you easily get the urge to stay longer, there is in fact accommodation
along the road about 500 meters from the beach and more is being built
along the roadside. If you want to get the most of the beach while
experiencing the beautiful sunrise and sunset, staying overnight is a
good option, not to mention the culinary advantages, as during the
day-trip you are limited to a beach side kiosk with basic groceries or a
short drive up the hillside taverns which shortens the day at the beach

Sand at the Beach Isn’t Always Sand

sand at the beaches isn’t just sand but masses of empty seashells,
which explains the pink and red color of the beach. It might seem at
first like sand, but a close look at a handful taken from the shore
reveals the diversity of the seashells embedded in the sand. Just like
from other reserved areas, taking seashells as a souvenir from Elafonisi
is prohibited, as the Elafonisi area is a protected area by law. Needless to say, the conservation of nature is been taken seriously here. Fenced
plantations and the prohibition of picking and collecting plants uphold
the unique flora and fauna of Elafonisi.

Masses of empty seashells

The ruins of a lighthouse structure blown up by the Germans during WWII are at the western point of the Cape of Elafonisi

The sunsets in Elafonisi are often extremely beautiful. Under the setting sun are situated Malta and southern point of Italy

(Sponsored page).

can stay overnight at the small up-hill hotel or its courtyard
apartments. A good place for singles, couples and especially families is Kalomirakis which is presented here.

Additional information:

Google map of Elafonisi nature path

Coordinates for Elafonisi: 35°16’21.84″N

Have you visited the beautiful beach? Share your experience with us in the comments!