Elafonisi Beach – Far west of Crete, Greece

Be sure to check out the Crete Guide.

How to get to Elfaonisi Beach:

  • By Boat
  • By daily bus service
  • By Car

Where are we in Crete?

Elafonisi beach is around 75km from the town of Chania and is on the southwestern side of Crete. You can actually get to Elfaonisi Island by foot without even getting your feet wet because the waters are just so shallow, and it’s only 200m from shore. Now the beach itself hosts a car park, sun beds, umbrellas and a beach bar. Yet the island itself is a natura 2000 protected area so there will be none of this on there once you walk across the shallow water.

These crystal clear waters will drag you mentally from one side of the globe to the other. We are very blessed to have these tropical waters so close to home. Thankfully, this beach has a restricted development order in place which makes the beach virtually untouched. This perfect beach boasts clear, turquoise waters and have easily captured the attention of travellers for centuries now.


As stated a few times, Elafonisi beach is white but in most parts is pinkish due to the thousands of broken seashells which are scattered along the coastline. The beach is nicely organised without looking scattered or without it losing its authenticity. Sunbeds, umbrellas, lifeguard, shower, canteens and seats in the shade are all in place due to the amount of tourism and with it being classed as a full day activity. The deepest part of the water is midway in the lagoon to Elafonisi Island, where roughly water depth reaches the waist of an adult. The rest is just below the knees.

Water Sports

The beach is ideal for surfing and kite-surfing which are both highly recommended due to the combination of strong winds of South Crete and the calm waters of the lagoon. Yet in order to get the most enjoyment out of these, we recommend you hit the beach after 4 pm in the Summer months once most of the tourists start to leave.

Most of the beach action happens on the strip of sea which separates the mainland and island. Not ideal for a quiet swim, yet it’s brilliant for families as children can hone in on their swimming skills with the water being so shallow.

Nature Reserve

Caretta-Caretta Sea Turtles, Elafonisi

Caretta-Caretta Sea Turtles, Elafonisi

Even though Elafonisi beach is mainly protected for the wildlife and botanicals, 110 plant species to be specific, the Caretta-Caretta sea turtles actually lay here too. These loggerhead sea turtles are the most important species of sea turtles in Greece and are highly protected by Greek Legislation. Unfortunately, a large number of turtles lose their lives each year by swallowing plastic bags as they look like jellyfish to them, so please do not dump your rubbish on the beach or in the water.After walking a few minutes walking to the west, you can easily reach Kedrodasos beach, a peaceful beach with a beautiful cedar forest around it!

After walking a few minutes walking to the west, you can easily reach Kedrodasos beach, a peaceful beach with a beautiful cedar forest around it!

If you’re staying west of Chania, there is a beautiful town called Kissamos, where you can catch a local bus which takes you off through a breathtaking journey through Gorge of Topolia whilst seeing picturesque mountain towns:

  • Topolia – just before Gorge of Topolia
  • Koutsomatados – just after Gorge of Topolia
  • Elos – just after Koutsomatados
  • Kefali – shortly after Elos
  • Vathi – shortly after Elos

This is the local bus route from Kissamos, please do check with your hotel if your bus is on this route, I’d hate to be the cause of disappointment if you went another way and you weren’t made aware. If you decide to hire a car, you could probably benefit more from than the local bus ride as you can stop off at the towns and have a wander.

Top Rated Beach To Visit

Elafonisi beach has been voted several times as one of the most majestic beaches not just in Europe, but in the whole world. Not just perfect for adventures and families, it’s also a favourite for nature lovers and walkers. The Island features exotic beauty: cedar trees, dunes, white lilies, black rocks, rare species of animals and birds that live there, blue waters and bright white & pink sands.

Top Tips/Know before you go:

  • You can hire sun loungers and sunbeds at the beach which you will pay 8 euros per piece and there is a small tavern where you can eat and drink too.
  • If you’re a fan of bird watching, make sure you walk along the sandbar to visit the islet to view some amazing tracks, coves and solitary beaches. This is particularly important for all bird watchers as this is typically the last stop for birds that are migrating to Africa.
  • Toilets are chargeable but the showers are free.
  • Most tourists leave around 4 pm for the last bus – an even bigger benefit if you decide to hire a car.
  • Into walking? Be sure to find the E4 European Walking Path which takes in most of the beautiful scenery on the island. This wouldn’t be ideal for people who don’t have a great level of fitness or walking difficulties as it is a hard trek up into the mountains.

The waters are so clear and the sand is so white, it’s very clear to see how this beach is compared to the Maldives. Some of the coral is pink as well which means some of the beaches will have pink sand from the coral. Please do not try to pick up the coral as the locals and other tourists will tell you off and also, it’s common decency to help protect this beautiful beach.

Bit bored of the beach? Head on over to the Chrysoskalitisa monastery which is 5km north of Elafonisi. This monastery has been built on a high rock, resembling of a fortress. According to the legend, the last step of the staircase leading to the monastery is gold, but can only be seen by those who really believe in God. Each and everyone to their own I guess.

I hope you enjoyed this article on Elafonisi beach, if you’re heading to Crete, be sure to plan a day trip to this beautiful beach and island.