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even more interesting beaches
Gray fine sand
Turquoise pure water
Kite or windsurfing
Perfect for swimming
Crowded in season
Good for party
Good for Relax
Partly waves protected
The word "Elafonissi" means "Treasure Island". This area is located in the southwestern tip of the Greek island of Crete. Elafonisi beach is one of the most serene and spectacular in Europe. It enjoys the status of a Natura 2000 protected area and is famous for its extremely bright white sands with light, subtle pink shades. It's an ideal place for family vacations because the sea is shallow and there are no dangerous creatures under the water. Thanks to the lack of big cities, the natural environment is exceptionally clean.
The beach represents a shallow lagoon that connects the island of Crete to the nearby islet of Elafonissi. The water, barely reaching up to the knee, is known for its stunning shades of azure and sky blue. It's a dream location for snorkeling.
The Elafonisi islet is uninhabited, save for a military installation at the west end. When the weather is good, you can have a pleasant walk there. Around the island, you can discover several small sand patches that offer excellent swimming choices. Topless bathing and naturism are common on Greek beaches and Elafonissi is no exception.
Soft pale colors dominate the color scheme of the surrounding landscape. Small trees and dry bushes cover the foot of the high and bare brownish mountains. The local vegetation is typical for the Mediterranean region: it's sparse, grayish and dry-loving.
At first sight, Elafonissi might look like a desert area. Yet in fact, you can spot quite a few rare species of plants and animals here. Snakes, lizards and the endangered Hawksbill turtle call Elafonissi their home. You would hardly be able to meet the turtles right on the beach — but you might take a tour to admire them in sea waters. In Autumn, huge flocks of birds stop here for a last short break before setting off for the big traveling over the Mediterranean to Africa.
If you walk approximately 5 km to the North from the beach, you'll reach the Chrisoskalitissa Monastery, one of the most exciting sights in the West of Crete. This 17th-century stone building is perched on high cliffs facing the deep-blue sea.
Some adventure lovers try to search for the treasures that pirates allegedly hid somewhere around the beach centuries ago — but there is not too much historical evidence that would prove that.
The closest big city is Chania. You'll need to drive about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there from the beach. The road to Chania is about 72 km, while the straight-line distance is only 50 km.
Those who enjoy hiking should appreciate the fact that the E4 European Walking Path passes near Elafonissi. It begins in Spain, crosses several countries and comes to Crete. It's a hard trek up in the mountains and the scenery is breathtaking. On the island of the Elafonissi itself, there are no sharp rises and no high points, which only contributes to the overall safety of the area.
The Elafonissi beach car parking is rather large but you should be careful when driving down the winding road that leads to the lagoon. If you don't want to rent a car, feel free to take a taxi. Otherwise, you can travel by bus or on a boat, either alone or with a group. Visitors who come here by bus usually leave the beach at 4 pm.
Since the beach is located in the remote part of the island, it can offer only the basic infrastructure. You can find some lounges and umbrellas here — but to play safe, you might consider bringing yours with you.
The same can be said about food and drinks. When you feel hungry, you should be able to buy a snack on the beach — but just in case, you might want to bring sandwiches and a few bottles of water with you.
Plus, don't forget to bring towels, swimsuits, sunscreen and anything else you might need. There are no settlements in the area, so even if you walk away from the beach, you would hardly come across any shopping opportunities.
As for the WC's, you'll find a couple of them near the beach bars and the parking lot. In the high season, you should be ready to wait for a while in the line.
The beach berm and the seafloor are covered with soft fine sand. It is white but you'll notice pink hues mixed with it. These hues are the result of crushed seashells. According to the local law, you should avoid taking samples of this sand as a souvenir with you — and multiple signs around the beach will remind you about that. Also, you shouldn't try to take away any plants, stones, lizards and so on.
Typically, the warmest month is July with an average maximum temperature of 30°C. The coldest one is February with an average maximum temperature of 14°C.
July is the driest and the sunniest month, while January is the wettest one. There might be dry periods in May, June, August and September. February, March, October and December normally have a high chance of precipitation.
The first tourists start to come to Elafonissi in April. The average daytime temperature during this month is around 20°C — but the weather might vary significantly from one day to another. On a sunny day, the temperature might reach 25°C. The next day might be rainy or windy. The sea water temperature will be unlikely to rise over 17 – 18°C — yet you'll be able to see some people swimming.
From early May till the end of October, the weather remains warm and sunny. Sea waters are perfect for swimming and storms are extremely rare. Daytime temperatures reach over 24°C.
July and August are considered to be the high season. During these two months, the beach might be packed: it might accommodate up to 3,000 visitors per day. The average water temperature reaches 25 – 26°C. In the daytime, you might want to find shelter from the scorching heat. Even in the shade, the average air temperature is 29 – 30°C.
The first two weeks of October are probably the best time to visit Elafonissi. The average sea temperature is 23°C and the air temperature is 24°C.
The tourist season finishes at the end of October. However, if you're lucky, you might catch a few sunny days in November when you should be able to swim and work on your tan. The sea water temperature should be around 20°C. The daytime temperature should be about 21°C on average but can easily reach 24 – 25°C.
The colder season lasts from December to March. During this period, you might want to come to Elafonissi to take pictures or enjoy the wild nature — but not swim or sunbathe. Please make sure to check the weather forecast, paying special attention to the wind force. The wind might cause high waves and you might end up being covered with sand in just a couple of minutes. Yet if you love kitesurfing, jump at this opportunity! Fans of this sports discipline adore Elafonissi in colder months.
In January, the average sea water temperature is around 17°C. The average daytime temperature reaches up to 17°C and the average night temperature is around 9°C. In winter, you won't see too many tourists on Elafonissi.
Here are a few suggestions about the best hotels in the area, listed in alphabetical order:
The list is not exhaustive and you should be able to find more hotels and apartments at a relatively short distance from the beach. Many of them offer a very decent level of service and comfort.
The Elafonissi Beach is covered with soft and fine gray sand. It's very clean, the surface is pure and unmixed. Turquoise and clear water sparkles in the sun.
For sunbathing and relaxing, Elafonissi Beach has comfortable sun loungers, and there is no natural shade, so be careful on a hot day.
The Elafonissi Beach is also suitable for the following water activities:
The entrance to the water is very smooth, the bottom is comfortable. In the season the beach is attended by lifeguard.
Elafonissi Beach is partially protected from waves.
So the overall recommendation of the Elafonissi Beach for swimming is very positive.
Yes, the Elafonissi Beach is good place for families with children. On the beach, there are minimal sufficient amenities such as sun loungers or beach bar. It's covered with pure soft sand and the entrance to the water is very smooth.
The beach is located in a natural area. During the high season, the beach can get very crowded, making it an unsuitable place for those looking for a relaxing holiday.
The following features add extra points:
Elafonissi Beach can be a good place for the following groups of travelers:
The bar is located right on the Elafonissi Beach.
There are 4 restaurants nearby. Kandanos Cantina is the closest place located 100 meters from the beach.
The Elafonissi Beach has a parking spot. It is not very large, so in high season it can be busy. The approximate distance from parking is less than 100 metres.
There are 4 attractions near Elafonissi Beach that are popular with travelers. The nearest are Elafonsi Beach, Chania located in 0.2 km. See the attractions section for details.
The month with the highest temperature in Elafonissi Beach is August. Its average value reaches 28°C. The warmest sea is in August, the average value is 27°C. The coldest month is January with air temperature 14°C and water 17°C. See more details in weather section.
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