Located in the southwest coast of Crete Island, Elafonissi (or Elafonisi) is also called the “Caribbean of the Mediterranean” for its white beach with pink shades and for the turquoise of its warm waters. The main beach is well equipped with facilities that rent umbrellas, sunbeds and several local, but there are also quiet free beaches.
Just in front of the beach there is the small island of Elafonissi – not to be confused with the island of Elafonissos which is located in the Peloponnese – which, according to the tides, in some days is connected to the mainland through a narrow strip of sand, while in others is a real island that can be reached by walking in the sea waters that reach up to the knees. In the island there is only free beach and in particular the rear part is perhaps the most bucolic and characterized by small bays where peace and tranquility reign. At the end of the island there is a promontory where you can find a lighthouse and the small chapel of Agia Irini.
Elafonissi is, like Balos, a protected area where loggerhead sea turtles (caretta caretta turtles) lay their eggs and where there are more than one hundred rare plants, including the beautiful sea daffodils that bloom during the summer season. One of the most beautiful moments not to be missed in Elafonissi is the sunset, when the sun sets on the waters of the Libyan Sea giving a panorama of beautiful colors.
You can reach Elafonissi by ferry from Paleochora or with a rented car. Every day depart also private boats that from Paleochora lead to the beach of Elafonissi in less than an hour.
Alternatively, with the car if you leave from Kissamos you can choose between two routes: a fast road but through the mountainous interior, or a scenic route that runs along the entire west coast of the island
The first option, a rather narrow and winding road, is the most direct route that passes through Topòlia and Èlos, while the second one reveals itself as a road with wonderful views, but definitely longer (both in distance and time) than the first one.
You can reach the beach of Elafonissi by car also from Paleochora, but the road to get there also passes by Èlos and will take you just over an hour.
If you decide to stay in Elafonissi, it is best to book well in advance because there are not many accommodations available near the beach. Alternatively, you can choose to find accommodation in the nearby towns of Kissamos or Chania and reach Elafonissi in the day.
Elafonissi is located on the southwest coast of Crete Island in the province of Chania. The town is about 75km (1 hour and 30 minutes) from Chania, 55km from Kissamos and less than 50km from Paleochora.