Elafonissi beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete and a popular day trip from Chania and Rethymnon. The beach is located at the southwestern part of the island, and you can easily get here on your own, or via a guided tour.
And it sure is beautiful, the shimmering pink sand and crystal clear turquoise water is absolutely magical, and will definitely make your vacation even more special.
More information about Elafonissi Beach
Elafonissi, also known as Elafonisi or Elafonissi beach is actually a small uninhabited island in the southwestern part of Crete, about 60 kilometers from Chania. The beach is particularly known for its pink shimmering sand and crystal clear turquoise water.
It has consistently been ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and it’s a popular place for families, thanks to the shallow water. Elafonissi Beach is full of finely ground shells which have colored the sand into pink. That’s also the reason why it shimmers as the sun is shining.
How pink the sand actually depends on various things such as winds, tide, and the microbes that the gastropods are eating. Nonetheless, it’s always beautiful here, and you could easily forget that you’re in Europe, and mistaken yourself for being in the Maldives.
Visiting Elafonissi Beach is definitely one of the best things to do in Crete.
Sunbeds and umbrellas are available and cost 8 Euro per day. It’s recommended to get here early in the morning to get a sunbed since there are often more tourists coming here than there are sunbeds available.
There is also a restaurant and a small shop where you can buy snacks and beverages.
There is free parking available at Elafonissi Beach.
How to get to Elafonissi Beach
The easiest way to get to Elafonissi Beach is to rent a car and drive on your own. The journey takes about 1.5 hours from Chania and free parking is available. Another option is to join a guided tour or take the Elafonissi Express Bus, which arrive in the morning and goes back at 4.30 pm.
The price for the express bus from Chania is 24 Euro roundtrip per adult, and 12 Euro for children between 4-12 years old. If you’re staying in Chania, then I personally think that the express bus is the best choice unless you rent a car.
The only downside of taking the bus to Elafonissi Beach is that you can’t choose when you want to go back.
If you rather come here by boat, there are daily boat trips from Paleochora, which is located in the south of Crete. Unfortunately, there are no boat trips from Chania or Rethymnon, so if you’re staying there and want to go, you either have to rent a car or take the bus to Elafonissi.
As mentioned, you can book guided tours who will pick you up at the hotel. From there you will go by a transfer bus to Elafonissi and then back to your hotel at a set time.
The road to the Elafonissi Beach goes via picturesque serpentine roads which offer some incredible views.
Book a guided tour to Elafonissi Beach
If you don’t plan on renting a car in Crete and want to make sure to get to this beautiful pink beach, then you can book a guided tour from Chania or Rethymnon. It’s better to book online before you travel because they can get sold out due to its popularity.
Best time of the year to visit Elafonissi
I recommend coming here in May or September because the weather will be good and warm, but not too warm, and there will be a lot less crowded. The most popular time of the year to visit Elafonissi is during high-season in July and August.
And while it’s still worth going here during that time period, you should expect a lot of other tourists making their way here as well. It’s a big beach though, so there’s plenty of room.
Snorkeling at Elafonissi Beach
Elafonissi Beach offers great conditions for snorkeling, and it’s teeming with fishes and marine life. The calm and crystal clear water also provide great visibility, so don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear and explore the life below the surface.
The surrounding nature
Elafonissi is a protected Natura 2000-area, and every year turtles come here to lay their eggs. There are also many seabirds living in the area as well as protected plants. The surrounding nature is beautiful and it’s lovely to go for a stroll here since it’s so untouched and wild.
Also, remember that the sun is very strong in Crete, so be careful and protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
A protected area for turtles
There is also a roped off area which is designated the turtles who come here to lay their eggs. Please respect this area, and if you see a turtle, make sure to stay away at a safe distance.
Where to eat and stay overnight
If you want to eat a real dinner or something more hearty than the snack bar and mini-market has to offer, then I recommend you to eat at Taverna Kalomirakis, which is a family-owned restaurant, which is part of the Elafonisi Resort. It’s quite simple, but they serve delicious seafood and traditional Greek food.
For those who want to book a hotel close to Elafonissi Beach, or just stay overnight, and enjoy the quiet atmosphere when the daytrippers have gone home, then you should book a stay at the Elafonisi Resort by Kalomirakis Family.
Do you have more questions about visiting Elafonissi Beach in Crete island? Leave a comment below!