The Elafonisi peninsula lies to the south-westernmost tip of Crete: dunes, black cliffs, white lines, and rare animal and bird species create the picture of lush exotic diversity. According to ‘Travelbook’, Elafonisi Beach is among the most beautiful beaches in the world. What makes it special? It shimmers in pink — a natural phenomenon created by the large amount of shells that are ground up by the current.
Peace from the Hustle and Bustle
Elafonisi is an elongated peninsula frequently split in two by the sea. At the breaking point, a shallow lagoon stretches out, in which the water is never more than a metre deep. The eastern side of the beach before the lagoon is developed for tourism, with sunshades, snack bars, changing rooms, showers, lifeguards, and a car park available. The area attracts many visitors in peak season. Those who prefer it quieter can simply cross the lagoon to reach the southern side of the island. Here, in addition to small, secluded bays, you will find more than 110 different plant species and many endangered animal species.
Caution: Free Foaming Natives!
How about a little exercise after some extensive sunbathing? Our recommendation: take a short 20-minute stroll to the lighthouse at the tip of the island. Along the way, you will experience magical scenery with extensive dunes and Caribbean-like beaches. You may even come across the particularly rare loggerhead sea turtle that lays its eggs on the island. But please keep your distance since the animals are an endangered species. Next to the lighthouse at the northwest cape stands the small 1970’s Koundourakis chapel. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
Island Of A Thousand Treasures
We can trace the history of the island back to antiquity, when the Greeks built a shrine dedicated to the Apollo Mussagore on what is today known as Elafonisi. Perched on a rock about five kilometres north of Elafonisi is the 19th century convent Chrysoskalitissa, meaning ‘golden stair’. Legend has it that the last step is made of gold and that only those who believe in God can cross it. Another legend on the island tells of pirates that lived on the Elafonisi peninsula over the centuries. They are said to have buried small treasures all over the island. So, keep your eyes open — you might get lucky!
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