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Ελαφονήςη (Elafonissi)

Elafonissi is one of the most beautiful spots on Crete and also one of the popular postcard shots. You should definitely not miss this beach as it really is amazing. The sea is bordered not by sand but by small pink sea shells which makes it look like pink sand if you are standing further back. As the beach is situated right at the end of the island, the wind is quite strong there which makes it a paradise for windsurfers and people who love water sports.

The only place you can park your car is right on the beach. It has been free for some time now and I don’t think it will change any time soon. It is quite big so you will certainly find a space for parking but it is better to arrive sooner during summer as many other tourists love this beach too.

EElafonissi is a peninsula which you can walk through barefoot during low tide but during high tide you will need to wade though a bit. There is always the option to swim on two ends. On one end you will find a shallow lagoon in which the water gets really hot during the day and makes it feel like a thermal spa. On the other end there is the Libyan sea which is a little bit cooler. Both ends have a gradual entrance into the sea. In the lagoon about 100m away from the shore you will still only be knee-high in water, on the cooler side the water will be up to your hips.

You can lie down on the sunbeds which you will find at the start of the beach. This part is more commercial which means there are many beach bars you can refresh in. However, the prices of sunbeds and drinks in the bars are much higher than usual. If you prefer lying on a calmer beach without any bars, just go to the other end which is much more peaceful. This is also the part of the beach with the nicest view of the pink sea shells so even if you do decide to spend your day on a sunbed, we recommend you to go on a walk to the other side too. There is also a small church on the end of the peninsula, but you should wear some comfortable shoes as the road there is quite long and rocky.

The sand on Elafonissi is ideal for sand castles. If you are interested in snorkeling, there are some interesting places and small islands in the Libyan sea.

There are many changing cabins on the beach with sunbeds. However, you won’t find any after the ford. There is only one shower available, on your way to the parking lot but it is not very reliable as we have encountered some problems with the water flow. The toilets are also a little bit strange. They cost 50 cents. I am saying strange because all public toilets on Crete are usually free. If you want to use them, you will find them in white Unimo cells on the way to the parking lot, right next to the shower.

35.271424 N, 23.541252 E

There are two ways to Elafonissi both around Kissamos. We recommend the road going through Platanos and Sifinari, it is more comfortable and you will drive through a village called Kefali (35.363672 N, 23.597881 E), where you can stop for a while and enjoy the surroundings. There are two taverns close to the parking lot with reasonable prices but we would say the one on the right is better - the staff is more pleasant and you will pay much less than it is written on the menu. If you need to do some shopping, there is a shop in the same building which also has reasonable prices on its products.

The other way is shorter but a little worse. Before Kissamos you will turn from the main road to the left to Voulgaro, Topolii, Elos and Vathi. If you don’t want to miss some relaxing time in the mountains, the village of Kefali is only a couple of hundred metres from the spot where both the roads connect.

Both of these roads are relatively well marked so just follow the signs even if you are using a GPS and you won’t have any complications during your trip.

Elafonissi is a natural reservation which means camping is not allowed.The main beach is watched by security guards at night but if you don’t have any other option just go further down the peninsula and find a spot. If you will be quiet enough and won’t start a fire you should be alright.