Elafonisi Beach: Everything You Need to Know Before Your Crete Vacation

Elafonisi Beach: Everything You Need to Know Before Your Crete Vacation

A once hidden gem of Crete known only to locals, Elafonisi, the stunning beach located on the southwestern coast of the island, has now become a popular destination among tourists and travelers of all sorts.

Frequently described as a paradise on Earth and included in lists with the best beaches around the globe year after year, today Elafonisi beach ranks #1 in our hearts, especially due to its natural beauty – it belongs, after all, to the Natura network!

Are you spending your holidays in Crete and thinking of visiting the mesmerizing pink Elafonisi beach yourself to enjoy the crystal-clear shallow turquoise waters?

Here’s everything you need to know before setting sail!

Can you drive to Elafonisi beach?

Although you can get to Elafonisi beach by car, please keep in mind that this is a rural area: the roads are fairly safe but mountainous and with quite a few turns, so speed is out of the question.

If you are not an experienced driver, or if you simply want to sit back and relax, taking in the view from the comfort of your backseat, it would be best to trust a professional driver/guide for your day trip to Elafonisi.

How to get to Elafonisi beach?

There are several ways to reach the popular beach, be it by car, public transportation, or a guided tour to save you the hustle.

More specifically, Elafonisi is located about 75 km southwest of the city of Chania, and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by car. If you’re coming from Heraklion, it will take about 3 hours to reach the beach.

If you prefer public transportation, there are several buses that operate daily from Chania to Elafonisi during the summer months, although this trip would normally take more than 2 hours.

One of the best, fastest, and most stress-free ways to get to Elafonisi beach, Crete, is to book an Elafonisi beach tour with an experienced local travel agent!

Balos Travel has offered day tours to Elafonisi for many years now and has the insider’s info you’re looking for, including what’s the best time to get there, how much time you’ll need to spend on the beach before starting to get bored etc.

After careful planning and consideration, Balos Travel has created the ultimate Elafonisi day trip, only at 30€ per adult and 15 € per child (5-12 yrs old).

The tour includes pick up from your exact location (street, hotel, airbnb etc) and drop off, plus transportation services to the beach and an English-speaking guide with you at all times – one of the best ways to explore the area, for sure.

Now that you know how to get from Chania to Elafonisi beach, let’s dive deeper into what you can do there.

Aerial View Elafonisi Beach Crete

Why is Elafonisi worth visiting?

Elafonisi is undoubtedly worth visiting, and if you’ve seen at least one photo of the beach, you already know why! Still thinking about it? Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Elafonisi beach in Crete!

Reason #1: the pink sand

First and foremost, the beach is known for its unique pink sand, which is a result of the red coral fragments mixed with the white sand. The contrast of the pink sand against the turquoise waters is a sight to behold, and we’re certain it will sweep you off your feet.

Reason #2: its rare flora

Elafonisi beach is home to more than 100 rare plants, some of which are only found in this particular part of the world, including the summer sea daffodils and the winter-flowering bulb Androcymbium rechingeri.

It’s also worth mentioning that Elafonisi is part of the Natura 2000 network, classified as a nature reserve, meaning you should show the utmost respect while you’re here.

Reason #3: its natural beauty

The beach is known for its natural beauty, with several coves and rock formations dotting the landscape.

Although practically an island as its name suggests (nisi=island), Elafonisi is separated from the Cretan coast by a shallow lagoon and a sandbar going up to 1 meter deep under the water during high tide, meaning you can easily walk to the other side in no time.

Reason #4: great for families

The underwater sandbar that only submerges up to 1 meter deep makes the whole beach ideal for families with young children. The shallow waters are great for swimming, walking in the water, snorkelling, or even playing with the sand, without worrying about the tide.

Rocks Elafonisi Beach Crete

Reason #5: a spot for everyone

Besides being great for families, the Elafonisi beach in Crete is ideal for all sorts of travelers.

Do you prefer organized beaches? On the mainland you will find hundreds of sunbeds and umbrellas, including facilities like toilets and canteens for coffee and snacks.

Looking for a romantic getaway? You can walk a little longer to the island part, until you find a more secluded cove to rest.

More into watersports? There is a Kite Surfing center offering classes for beginners, where you can also rent all the necessary equipment.

What to expect from your Elafonisi beach excursion

As already discussed, Elafonisi beach has sunbeds and umbrellas on the mainland part. However, if you’re visiting during the high summer season of July and August, the area will be rather crowded, so it’s always a good idea to have your own umbrella with you, too.

Please note there aren’t many trees around for natural shade, so as far as the Elafonisi beach weather is concerned, it gets a little hot!

The area also features a plethora of canteens for snacks, but unfortunately there are no restaurants directly on Elafonisi beach, so come prepared.

When is the best time to visit Elafonisi?

The best time to visit the popular beach is during the summer months, from May to September. The weather is warm and sunny, and the water is perfect for swimming and some Elafonisi beach snorkeling.

However, due to its popularity, the beach can get quite crowded during peak season, so it’s best to arrive early to secure a spot.

If you prefer a more peaceful experience, it’s recommended to visit Elafonisi during the shoulder season, in May or September. The weather is still pleasant, and there are fewer crowds, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the beach.

Turquoise Water Elafonisi Beach Crete

Where to stay near Elafonisi beach

Crete is a rather large island, and there are dozens – if not hundreds – of beaches and villages to visit if you want to make the most out of your trip.

If you book your stay in Chania, one of the largest cities on the island with its own airport, you will be able to travel to many different destinations within no time.

For example, you can get to Elafonisi beach from Chania in 1 hour and 30 minutes, to Knossos in about 2 hours, and to Samaria Gorge in approximately 1 hour.

Further reading: Samaria Gorge: The Definitive Hiking Guide for The Iconic Crete Location

Why should you book your trip to Elafonisi with Balos Travel?

Balos Travel is the ideal partner for your Elafonisi beach tour. Our team of experienced travel experts will take care of everything to ensure that your trip is stress-free and enjoyable.

Our transportation services are comfortable and reliable, and we’ll make sure that you arrive at the beach safely and on time. We also provide knowledgeable tour guides who will take you through the history and culture of the area, providing insights that will enhance your experience.

In the end, you can’t go wrong by visiting Elafonisi beach if you are in the area. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide at least some insight into how Elafonisi beach actually is.

Its unique pink sand and turquoise waters make it one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so if you plan your vacation right this summer, you might just be able to soak up some of the magic that makes it such a special place.

And if you do, please let us know! Balos Travel offers beach tours to this paradise on Earth, providing a stress-free and enjoyable experience for travelers and tourists. Book your trip with us today and experience the beauty of Elafonisi for yourself!

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