Elafonisi in Chania is a long and narrow peninsula, a magical place, one of the most beautiful beaches and areas of Greece and Europe.
The exotic beauty of the area is due to the dunes, the cedar trees, the white lilies, the black rocks and the rare species of animals and birds that live in the blue waters and the white sand.
Elafonisi is located 76 km southwest of Chania and five kilometers south of Chrysoskalitissa, in the southwest part of Crete. Elafonisi looks like an island because the peninsula “breaks” at point that units it with Crete and makes it look like a separate island.
The area has been included in the protected areas Natura and is refuge of the turtle Careta careta. It is strictly forbidden to cut plants from there or even get sand from the coast!
You can get to Elafonisi by car from Chania in about an hour and a half or by bus. The road to Elafonisi is narrow and full of turns, but the beauty of the landscape will reward you. More options for accommodation and food can also be found in Chrysoskalitissa, located five kilometers to the north and there you can also visit the famous Monastery of Virgin Mary Chrysoskalitissa.
The beach extends a long way, especially to the east of the lagoon. It is organized, has everything (even parking areas) and, especially during the summer months, it is flooded by people. The shallow lagoon is ideal for young and older people who want to play with the sand and water!
In some places the sand color is not white but pink, due to the millions of broken shells that you see there.
The Coasts of Elafonisi are more remote and if you want to be a little more isolated, you have to walk until you find the bay that suits you. The tour of the island is made easily by walking.
The northern end of Elafonisi works as breakwater and the rocks are steep. There you will see the church of Agia Irini.
Historically the beach of Elafonisi coincides with Mousagores Islands of the ancient Greeks, and once it was used as a base for pirates – and that is how it got its name. Pirates hide their loot (“lafyra”) there.
The monument of heroes that you will see over the beach, is dedicated to the victims of the great massacre of 1824 during the Turkish rule. On the island are also buried crew members of the Austrian ship Imperatrix that in February 1907, on its way to India, was wrecked in Elafonisi.