Elafonisi is an uninhabited island of 3 square kilometers, stuck to the southwest coast of the island of Crete in the region of Chania. But if this tiny Cretan and Greek island attracts so many tourists and Instagrammers from all over the world, it is also for its luxurious hotels and its multicolored sandy place.
- What to do in Elafonisi?
- Where to sleep?
- How to get there?
We tell you all about this paradise island of Crete!
Where is Elafonisi in Crete?
How to get to Elafonisi?
Once you arrive in Crete, note that there are many excursions to Elafonisi. Departing from major cities such as Chania, Heraklion, Rethymnon or Georgioupolis:
Located in the southwest of Crete, Elafonisi is somewhat hidden and slightly distant from the 3 airports of the island: Heraklion, Chania and Sitia.
Once you arrive at the International Airport of Chania Ioannis-Daskaloyannis, more than 1h30 of driving awaits you and 75km. To make the journey, it is possible to :
- Rent a car and drive to the north coast via Topolia and Elos,
- Cab : 60 to 75€,
- Bus : 2h20, for 43 to 53€.
At the end of the road, the dream beach of Elafonissi is yours.
What to do in Elafonisi in 2023?
1. Go to the beach of course!
This little corner of paradise attracts a large number of tourists every year who come to enjoy its long sandy beach.
Too many tourists?
Like all instagrammable and successful corners of the world on the networks, you can expect not to be alone in the summer. But who decreed that we should only go there in July and August? Not us!
Its beach is particularly popular because it is possible to see pink reflections at the water’s edge. These reflections are due to the crushing of the corals by the current. Moreover, the water of its lagoon is warm and shallow.
Note for visitors:
- a parking lot is located nearby
- snacks will quench your thirst and feed your appetite
- WC and cabins
2. Walk or surf to the island of Elafonisi
You will surely be quite surprised when you arrive on the spot, but on the whole lagoon of Elafonissi, the water reaches your knees almost all the time. Colorful and warm, it is also very shallow!
A real peculiarity that gives you the opportunity to walk peacefully from the beach to the island Elafonisi. Some even make the trip by kite surfing from the Elafonisi Kit Club!
3. Visit the island
The walk itself is very pleasant, but for those who like to push their curiosity further, the island holds many secrets!
Several small beaches, much wilder than Elafonisi Beach, beautiful and safe for children. On the south side in particular.
On the west side, you will find a magnificent panorama on the Mediterranean Sea, around a small lighthouse and a chapel.
4. Visit Paleochora
For hikers in particular, Crete is crossed by the famous E4 hiking trail. The walkers will be happy to stay in Elafonisi, but also to be able to walk to Paleochora, a beautiful Cretan coastal town, 10 km from Elafonisi.
Hiking by difficult, but be careful with the big heats. Bring hats and several bottles of water.
The city has beautiful beaches as well and beautiful pedestrian streets where you can eat delicious Greek and Cretan food.
Where to sleep in Elafonisi?
To sleep in Elafonisi, most people move away from this heavenly place. The area being relatively protected, it is also protected from big hotels and other luxury resorts.
Most of the tourists come from Chania, Paleochora, Heraklion, etc. Discover for example the nearby places to sleep thanks to this map:
For something more local and close to the beach, Crete Autrement proposes you its good plans below.
Our favorite ♥ Villa Evenos
Nature, breathtaking view, private pool, deckchairs, terrace, Wifi, only 1 km from the lagoon: our favorite in Elafonissi is at the Villa Evenos . The perfect place to relax and enjoy the wonders of Cretan nature!
Our other favorite ♥ Glykeria Hotel
To enjoy the charm and good food of a luxury hotel during your stay in Elafonisi, we advise you to book a room at the Glykeria Hotel, 1km from Elafonisi beach!
What’s the weather like in Elafonisi all year long?
The best time to visit is from April to October when the weather is pleasant and sunny most of the time. In summer temperatures can be very high, so be sure to bring a good supply of sun cream and your best hats!
If you prefer milder temperatures and want to enjoy the island without too many tourists, then the best time to visit is probably from late October to mid-April. At this time of the year, the island is almost deserted.
However, note that you will have an average of more than 10 days of rain from November to March! However, there is hardly any rain from May to September.
History of Elafonisi
Throughout its history, Crete has been an extremely coveted island. Several forces have occupied the island, including pirates who have invaded it over the centuries. The many historical events that have affected the island of Crete have also reached more distant places like the island of Elafonisi. Indeed, this island, which is now perceived as a small corner of paradise, was the scene of horrors. Many Greeks were killed trying to escape the oppression of the Ottoman Turks during the Greek War of Independence. Hundreds of Greeks hid on the island waiting for a ship to come and rescue them. In 1907 the island was also the scene of a major shipwreck. The ship “Imperatrix” disappeared there and its wreckage is still lying on the bottom of the sea.
Elafonisi is a protected place
If the island allows visitors to enjoy a real corner of paradise, natural and with spectacular landscapes, it is not without reason. Indeed, this island is protected under the Natura 2000 network. It is an area rich in plant species, all of which are protected and some of which are rare. In order to keep this place intact, all beach facilities are forbidden, but you can still find sunbeds and umbrellas for a fee, as well as some places to eat. Feel free to move away from the water’s edge and walk around the island. It’s quite large and you’re bound to find a little piece of paradise to enjoy the solitude for a while. It is also a nesting area for the small and adorable caretta caretta sea turtles and you will see ropes protecting the egg areas.