Elafonissi Beach

Elafonissi Beach is a stunning beach located on the Southwest coast of Crete, in the region of Chania prefecture. It is about 74 km from Chania. Elafonissi Beach is a sandy white beach with immaculate clear waters. It has been voted several times as one of the best beaches in the world. What makes Elafonissi stand out among the beaches of Crete is its gorgeous pink sand. Most parts are pinkish, but in other areas the sand is white. The area surrounding Elafonissi beach is among the Natura 2000 protected areas. Elafonissi beach is home to numerous endemic plants and endangered animals, including the loggerhead sea turtles. The loggerhead sea turtles would visit the beach to lay their eggs every year. Elafonissi Beach has a charm that tourists cannot resist. Like the rest of Crete, the climate in Elafonissi is always warm and ideal for a day spent at the beach. There are basic amenities on the beach, perfect enough to have a comfortable stay. There are bars that sell refreshments and a single taverna that serves snacks. Tall buildings will be nowhere in sight near Elafonissi Beach. There are several villas and hotels to stay in near Elafonissi Beach. However, there are no luxurious hotels or resorts available in the area. Only the basics are available, like mini-markets and restaurants.

The tourism industry in Greece, particularly on the island of Crete, has become the fastest tourism market in Greece. It has recorded a 60% growth in the past six years. Crete is well known to have its long tradition and history, especially in culture. Not to mention its breathtaking beaches. It is considered very safe for tourists from around the globe. There are many great places to visit in Crete, and one of them is Elafonissi Beach. A visit to Crete wouldn’t be complete without having a glimpse of the gorgeous Elafonissi Beach. It is no surprise that Elafonissi Beach is popular among tourists. It has a beauty that is incomparable. Elafonissi Beach receives thousands of visitors every year, especially during summer.

Elafonissi Beach

What is Elafonissi Beach?

Elafonisi Beach is among the finest beaches on the island of Crete. Located 75 km from Chania, Elafonissi Beach is a sandy beach with pristine waters. There are some shallow areas in the water where people can wade up to their knees. Elafonissi Beach derived its name from the Greek word “elafi”, meaning “deer”. People learned that one can effortlessly get to the island on foot, like a deer that walked to it. Elafonissi beach has been nominated numerous times as one of the stunning beaches not solely in Europe but as well as in the whole world. The gorgeous beach features numerous dunes, cedar trees, white lilies, black rocks, rare species of animals and birds that inhabited the area, and clear turquoise waters and white sands. Elafonisi Beach is home to 110 plant species. The area around Elafonisi Beach is protected by Natura 2000, especially the rare loggerhead sea turtle Caretta-Caretta. The sand of Elafonisi beach is usually white, however, in many areas it is pinkish. The reason behind its astounding pink sands is because of the thousands of broken seashells it contains. The lovely colour moves with the tides and is more pink depending on the time of the year. The beauty and peacefulness of Elafonissi Beach, not known to many, holds a sad and dark history. Elafonissi Beach was the site of a bloody massacre of numerous Greeks hoping to escape the oppression of the Ottomans during the Greek War of Independence. Many Greeks, around 650 and 850 were hiding on Elafonissi. They were waiting for a rescue ship when they were discovered on Easter Sunday of 1824. Elafonissi Beach is the site of a shipwreck called Imperatrix that happened on February 22, 1907. There are 38 people who lost their lives due to the northwestern winds, boarded in a lifeboat while trying to reach the shore. At present, a large wooden cross will be seen on the small island as a commemoration of the shipwreck victim’s burial place. There was once a lighthouse built in the area so that shipwrecks would be avoided. However, it was destroyed by German occupation troops in WWII. Close to the lighthouse, a Chapel was built and dedicated to Agios Nikolaos.

Elafonissi Beach

Where is Elafonissi Beach located?

Elafonissi Beach is situated 76 km west of Chania.  The latitude of Elafonissi Beach is 35.270897, and the longitude is 23.540518. The road going to Elafonissi is narrow and has many turns. Driving from Chania to Elafonissi Beach is quite a challenge. The roads are narrow but well-paved, particularly around little towns and the Topolia Gorge. The driving time is around 1.5 hours.

How does the Elafonissi Beach Map look?

Elafonissi is an island located near the southwestern corner of the island of Crete. It is administratively a part of the regional unit of Chania.

Below is an image of the Elafonissi Beach map.

Elafonissi beach map

What are the amenities in Elafonissi Beach?

There are basic amenities available at Elafonissi Beach. There is one traditional taverna at the beach near the entrance that sells only snacks, enough to keep someone going on a busy beach day. Do not expect fancy meals such as those served in restaurants. There are two beach bars that serve cold drinks and other refreshments. Changing booths are available around the area and are free to use. Clean and well-maintained toilets are located at the beach entrance, and they cost 50 cents to use. Visitors may rent a sun lounger and umbrellas, and they cost 10 euros. There is a Kite Flying Centre and some water sports equipment in the area. A shop near the parking area sells almost everything needed for a beach trip like towels, swimming suits, floaties, snorkelling gear, and souvenirs.

What are the activities in Elafonissi Beach?

Aside from its majestic view, Elafonissi beach has a lot to offer in terms of activities. Beachgoers have a wide variety of activities to choose from. If one is into water sports, Elafonissi is the right place to be. People may select activities like windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking. There is a kite flying centre, mainly because the area is often hit by strong winds. People who are not so active may try to enrol in some water sports classes for beginners. For the most adventurous individual, hiking is one activity prominent in Elafonissi Beach. Simply follow the E4 path near the area. Children may try snorkelling or simply play along on the beach and build sand castles.

When is the best time to visit Elafonissi Beach?

The best time to visit Elafonissi Beach is during the late months of September and October. The early autumn weather is still pleasant, mild, and not too windy. The water temperature is ideal for a swim, snorkelling, and playing. Elafonissi Beach is less crowded too in April and May. The summer is the high season at Elafonissi Beach. Visitors need to avoid visiting the beach in July and August. The Elafonissi beach may get overcrowded with tourists and locals every summer. Like most of Crete, Elafonissi Beach has a very mild climate all year round, due to the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. Anyone may visit Elafonissi beach any time of the year, depending on their preferences.

How was the preservation of Elafonissi Beach?

Elafonissi Beach is within the Natura 2000 Protection Program. The area surrounding Elafonissi Beach is among the Natura 2000 network that protects endemic and one-of-a-kind wonders of nature. The sand has a light pink colour that is produced by seashells. The shells of these sea creatures are pink or red. When these sea animals die, their shells are washed up in the sand and mixed with it. Elafonissi Beach is host to some animals at risk like the loggerhead sea turtle and numerous scarce animals. Elafonissi beach is the nesting area of the loggerhead sea turtle. Every summer, these areas are roped off to protect the turtles and their eggs. The island is filled with sand dunes with sea daffodils and junipers. It is strictly prohibited to remove or pick any plants, shells, animals, or sand from the area. Camping and bonfires are also strictly prohibited.

How do you get to Elafonissi Beach?

The easiest and ideal way to get to Elafonissi Beach is to rent a vehicle. The journey would take around 1.5 hours from Chania. Renting a car is convenient, and it will take travellers to places that are difficult to reach. Travelling from Chania to Elafonisi through Topolia is the best way. The road will take one to Elafonisi in an hour or more. The road to Elafonissi Beach heading through Topolia Gorge is one of the most enjoyable drives, with endless chances for photos of the Cretan mountains. Another option is by joining a guided tour via Elafonissi Express bus. Most of these guided tours will pick up travellers directly from their hotel. Travelling by boat is another option to visit Elafonissi Beach. There are daily boat trips from Paleochora, located in southern Crete. The boat trip offers scenic views of the wild coast and takes about one hour.

What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?

Listed below are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete.

  • Insurance: Car rental insurance is important, as it protects a passenger against the cost of damage when renting a car. Crete car rental includes insurance for collision damage waiver and a driver’s credit card is required as a guarantee.
  • Driver’s age: The legal age requirement when driving in Crete is 18 years old. The driver must have a valid driving licence and essential documents like an ID or passport.
  • Driver’s gender: Women and men can drive in Crete. As long as the driver is of the legal age of 18, driving is permitted in Crete, regardless of gender.
  • Car type: Travelling with groups or family members requires a much bigger car. Car rental companies in Crete offer a variety of cars to choose from. Selecting a smaller car is best when driving in Crete. The reason for that is that some Greek roads are narrow. The car type is one big factor in how to choose the right car to rent in Crete.
  • Documents needed for renting a car: One important document needed for renting a vehicle is a valid driving licence. However, a credit or debit card may also be presented, including a passport or an ID card.

How much does a car rental in Crete cost?

The island of Crete is best travelled using a rented vehicle. Visitors may quickly get to Crete’s top destinations using a rented car. Crete car rental costs vary depending on the number of persons, itinerary, car type, destination, and duration. The average cost of renting a car in Crete is around €30 to €40 per day. A car rented for a whole week will cost an average of €250. Renting a vehicle for the weekend will cost around €78. Crete car rental rates differ depending on the car type. Car rental companies offer a variety of cars depending on customers’ liking. Most car rental shops in Crete offer an online booking system, whenever customers want to book a car. Simply follow the process and instantly book a vehicle on their website. Before availing of a rental car service in Crete, make sure to check and secure all the requirements needed.

Elafonissi Beach

How much does it cost to get to Elafonissi Beach?

Access to Elafonissi Beach is free of charge. Even the car park area is free of charge too. When beachgoers get hungry, there are food stalls at the beach serving cold drinks and snacks. One can grab a bite at a reasonable price. Most food stalls at the beach sell only snacks, enough to keep someone going on a busy beach day. Do not expect fancy meals such as those served in restaurants. There are changing booths around the area and are free to use. Clean and well-maintained toilets are located at the beach entrance, and they cost 50 cents to use. Visitors may rent a sun lounger and umbrellas, and they cost 10 euros.

Where to stay near Elafonissi Beach?

Elafonissi Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches, it is no wonder that it is crowded during the high season. To get the best out of one’s stay at Elafonissi beach, good accommodation is a good idea. There are several villas and hotels to stay in near Elafonissi Beach. However, there are no luxurious hotels or resorts available in the area. Only the basics are available, like mini-markets and restaurants. One of the closest places to stay is the Hotel Glykeria.  Hotel Glykeria is only 5 minutes drive away from Elafonissi Beach. It offers clean and spacious rooms perfect for families. The Elafonisi Villas is another alternative. Elafonissi Villas offers guests a quiet stay away from the crowds. Although the complex is not close enough to Elafonissi, it is a great choice to stay in. Elafonissi Villas provides beautiful seven-family villas, private pools, and family yoga sessions. The Elafonissi Resort by Kalomirakis Family is the best option among the hotels near Elafonissi Beach. It offers guests the best value for money. The location is in proximity to Elafonissi Beach. The ambience at Elafonisi Resort by Kalomirakis Family is relaxing and laid back. Aside from that, it has an “a la carte” restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Elafonissi Beach

What are the nearby attractions in Elafonissi Beach?

Listed below are the nearby attractions in Elafonissi Beach:

  • Kissamos: Kissamos is a seaside town and municipality in the western part of the island of Crete. The town of Kissamos is sometimes called Kastelli. The town presents the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, rich historical heritage, and a touch of traditional Cretan lifestyle. One of the famous attractions of Kissamos is the Balos beach.
  • Falasarna Beach: Considered to be one of the top beaches in Crete is Falasarna beach. The beach of Falasarna receives numerous awards for its unique beauty. Many tourists enjoy its long sandy beach. The sunset at Falasarna beach is impressive and one of the most beautiful in Greece.
  • Sfinari Beach: Located 60 km west of Chania city and 30 km south of Kissamos is Sfinari Beach. Sfinari beach is frequented by visitors seeking remoteness. It is a peaceful place with a sandy beach and pebbles in the area. Visitors who love to stay in a quiet area must definitely visit Sfinari Beach. The beach is ideal for activities such as snorkelling, especially when the sea is calm.
  • Platanakia Beach: Located 61 km southwest of Chania city and 31 km south of Kissamos is Platanakia Beach. Platanakia beach is a tiny cove, shielded by cliffs, and is often secluded. The beach is stoney in most areas and sandy in other areas. The Platanakia beach is shaped in the exit of the gorge of Kambos.
  • Polyrinia:  Polyrinia is a small town in the Kissamos area, in the northwest of Chania prefecture. Polyrinia is situated on a hill, dominating the surrounding area. The village of Polyrinia is known for its traditional atmosphere and for the ruins of the acropolis of the same name. The archaeological site of Polyrrhenia is a must-visit place when in Crete.

Is Elafonissi Beach Sandy?

Yes, Elafonissi beach is sandy. Elafonissi is a long and narrow aisle with white sandy beaches on two sides. The sand of Elafonisi beach is typically white, however, in some areas, it is pink. The explanation behind its astounding pink sands is because of the thousands of broken seashells it contains. The lovely colour moves with the tides and is more intense depending on the time of the year. The gorgeous pink sand of Elafonissi Beach is what makes it unique among other beaches in Crete.

Elafonissi Beach is a sandy beach

Are children permitted at the Elafonissi Beach?

Yes, children are permitted at Elafonissi Beach. The entire area of Elafonissi beach would look like a big water park for young kids. Children will surely enjoy activities like snorkelling in shallow, clear waters. The dunes and the beautiful long stretches of white and pink sand are just a few of the numerous reasons why Elafonissi Beach is among the best beaches in Crete for toddlers and young kids. Everyone will enjoy their stay at Elafonissi Beach, there are several activities in the area that people from different age groups may try.

Harry Anapliotis
Travel Writer and Developer
Harry Anapliotis is a travel writer and developer at Rental Center Crete - Car hire.
Rental Center Crete - Car Hire
Car rental Company
Rental Center Crete - Car Hire is a car rental Company offering services in Crete Island, since 1975.