Elafonisi

Off the southwestern tip of Crete and about 75 kilometers from the town of Chania, lies Elafonisi, an island that is within walking distance from the mainland, sometimes without even getting one’s toes wet. Historically was used as a base for pirates – and that is how it got its name. Pirates hide their loot (lafyra) there. The island is a protected nature reserve and boasts one of the finest sand beaches in the country. More than that, Elafonisi is the only Greek contender in a Tripadvisor list of the world’s 25 best beaches for 2014. This is to be expected: blindingly white sand with pink hues, turquoise-white lagoon-like waters that ripple as they pick up the breeze, an exotic place with sporadic vegetation against the stark bareness of the Cretan mountains. The island is about 1.3 km long and 400 meters wide and there is surprisingly much to explore lengthwise, including a fair number of small coves, sandy beaches and interesting rock formations towards the tip as the island stretches out into the sea and into the sunset. The island is home to 110 plant species as well as being a protected area for Androcymbium rechingeri, which is as rare as it sounds.

Elafonisi

Off the southwestern tip of Crete and about 75 kilometers from the town of Chania, lies Elafonisi, an island that is within walking distance from the mainland, sometimes without even getting one’s toes wet. Historically was used as a base for pirates – and that is how it got its name. Pirates hide their loot (lafyra) there. The island is a protected nature reserve and boasts one of the finest sand beaches in the country. More than that, Elafonisi is the only Greek contender in a Tripadvisor list of the world’s 25 best beaches for 2014. This is to be expected: blindingly white sand with pink hues, turquoise-white lagoon-like waters that ripple as they pick up the breeze, an exotic place with sporadic vegetation against the stark bareness of the Cretan mountains. The island is about 1.3 km long and 400 meters wide and there is surprisingly much to explore lengthwise, including a fair number of small coves, sandy beaches and interesting rock formations towards the tip as the island stretches out into the sea and into the sunset. The island is home to 110 plant species as well as being a protected area for Androcymbium rechingeri, which is as rare as it sounds.

Highlights

  • Enjoy pink sandy beaches and the shallow and turquoise water
  • Witness the lighthouse on the island
  • Visit the beach Kedrodasos, 1km east of Elafonisi beach, and admire
    juniper trees and sanddunes
  • Visit the Monastery of Hryssoskalitissa dedicated to Mother Mary
    and the Holy Trinity
  • See Androcymbium rechingeri, a very rare Cretan endemic flower,
    found only on the islet of Elafonisi

Highlights

  • Enjoy pink sandy beaches and the shallow and turquoise water
  • Witness the lighthouse on the island
  • Visit the beach Kedrodasos, 1km east of Elafonisi beach, and admire
    juniper trees and sanddunes
  • Visit the Monastery of Hryssoskalitissa dedicated to Mother Mary
    and the Holy Trinity
  • See Androcymbium rechingeri, a very rare Cretan endemic flower,
    found only on the islet of Elafonisi

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