Elafonissi Beach
Multimedia Map Description

How to get

Elafonissi Beach often features in travel rankings and guides. Described as having «crystal-clear waters», «heavenly surroundings» and «unique pinkish-white sand» these accolades truly capture what you’ll encounter. Indeed, Elafonissi’s beauty is just as striking in person as it is in unedited photos.

Beach Highlights

Elafonissi is frequently spotlighted in tourism lists and manuals. Phrases like «crystal clear sea», «heavenly spot» and «remarkable pink-and-white sand» accurately reflect what’s seen on-site. The beach’s charm is as vivid in reality as in untouched pictures.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact dimensions of Elafonissi Beach, but estimates suggest it stretches nearly 2 km. Despite its popularity, the beach offers ample space and secluded spots for everyone. Those seeking serenity can wander along the shore or wade through the waters to find a peaceful cove. The coastline is blanketed with fine, clean sand that gleams white and in some places is tinged with pink from crushed seashells, which have given the beach its worldwide fame.

Elafonissi Beach is renowned for its shallow, crystal-clear waters, extending up to several meters from the shoreline, barely reaching knee-high depth. This feature makes it an ideal spot for families with young kids to enjoy the sea safely. The seabed is sandy, with no rocks or sea urchins in sight, contributing to the visibility of the marine environment. Its pristine condition has earned Elafonissi the esteemed Blue Flag award for its environmental quality and cleanliness.


Elafonissi Beach offers an unspoiled natural environment complemented by essential amenities. Limited sunbeds and umbrellas are available for hire. Facilities include showers, restrooms, changing cabins, a cafe serving snacks, ice cream, and beverages, and a gift shop. Lifeguards are on duty for safety, and the area is accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Elafonissi beach offers a variety of activities for visitors. Bring along a ball to enjoy a game of shallow-water volleyball. You can also rent equipment for water sports such as windsurfing, wakeboarding, and paddleboarding from local establishments. Those interested can also opt for professional instruction. Expect rental fees to range from €15 to €50 per hour, with lessons costing between €30 and €150 per hour.

What is nearby

Elafonissi Beach takes its name from a nearby islet, situated a short 200-meter distance from the coast. Renowned for its breathtaking exotic landscape, the area is also a hub for unique and endemic birds and plants. It serves as a nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. The natural beauty of Elafonissi is under state protection. The area also holds historical significance due to the wreck of the Imperatrix in 1907. A lighthouse, later destroyed by German forces, was erected in memory of the tragedy and has since been replaced by a metal structure and a chapel. Additionally, a commemorative plaque honors the local victims of a massacre by Ottoman forces on Easter Sunday in 1824.

How to get

Elafonissi Beach, located on Crete’s southwestern tip, is about a 75 km journey from Chania. For the most scenic route, it’s advisable to rent a car and travel along the coastal National Road, which features winding paths, or opt for a more adventurous drive through the island’s mountainous terrain. If taking the coastal route, you’ll pass by Kissamos; alternatively, if heading through the mountains, turn near Kissamos following signs for the Topolia Gorge.

The journey to Elafonissi can be quite lengthy; it’s advisable to set out early in the morning and plan your return for around 4 to 5 PM to catch the sunset. There’s a complimentary car park near the beach. Buses from Chania’s central station to Elafonissi run daily, leaving at about 9 AM and taking up to two hours. Alternatively, local travel agencies offer tours to Elafonissi, which can be convenient as they eliminate the wait for public transportation. These tours are available from various towns and resorts on Crete.

Traveling by sea to Elafonissi is an option only from the small town of Paleochora on the southern coast of Crete. However, reaching Paleochora is as challenging as getting to Elafonissi itself, making it a practical choice primarily for those already in the vicinity.


  • Combine your trip to Elafonissi with a visit to the 17th-century Chrysoskalitissa Monastery, situated just 4 km away from the beach.
  • During peak months, July and August, the beach welcomes up to 3,000 visitors a day, with weekends being particularly crowded. The best times to visit are May, June, or September.
  • When visiting Elafonissi, pack sunscreen, a hat, and an umbrella in case loungers are scarce—there’s little shade.
  • Remember, removing sand or shells as souvenirs is forbidden, as are picnicking, tenting, and littering in this protected area.
  • For overnight stays, consider the nearby small hotels and villas.