Getaway Guide: Elafonisi Beach, Crete

As I mentioned, when we went to Crete we were on a mission to find the best and most beautiful beaches on the island – and boy, did we ever! On our second day in Crete, we ventured to Elafonisi Beach. After spending the previous day at the beautiful Balos Beach, I was a bit skeptical as to how Elafonisi Beach would compare. But, let me tell you, we were not even in the slightest bit disappointed – and we were kinda relieved we didn’t have to hike a mile to get to the water 😉
I’m convinced Elafonisi Beach is easily a top contender for one of the best beaches in the world – pink   sand, crystal clear water and, overall, a perfect place to spend the day doing absolutely nothing.

Now, it would’t be a Morning Kawa post if I didn’t at least mention the thrill of getting to Elafonisi Beach! Though nothing can compare to the adventure that was getting to Balos Beach, the trip to Elafonisi was full of beautiful mountain scenery. Honestly, I had no idea that Crete was full of mountains – but it is 🙂
Actually, there are two ways to get to Elafonisi: the “scary way” and the “less scary” way 🙂 Due to the advice of our rental car agent, we took the “less scary” way on the way to Elafonisi Beach and the “scary way” on the way back to Agia Marina – but more on the return trip later. Oh and FYI, there is also a public bus you can take to get here, but it only runs one time each way and doesn’t stop for photos. No thanks!
Really, the “less scary” way just means that you drive through the mountains on a paved highway following road signs through some quaint towns – not many surprises. We did, however, have to drive through a one-way tunnel, which was a new experience for us.
Oh, and we also passed this pet ram on the side of the road on the way to the beach.
Overall, it took us about 1.5 – 2 hours to get to Elafonisi from Agia Marina but the drive was just so beautiful. It made for a pleasant afternoon through the mountains on the way to the beach.
As I am sure you have guessed, Ealfonisi was much easier to get to compared to Balos Beach. There was free parking and a quick walk to the beach from the parking lot. Of course, being that it was easier to get to, it was much busier compared to Balos. Still, the beach was huge, which made it feel less crowded than it actually was. Again, we felt like we had the beach mostly to ourselves. Plus, there is plenty of beach for you to just keep walking until you find less people.
Upon our arrival, we rented some beach chairs, enjoyed the scenery and snorkeled in the clearest water.
Here’s a look at some photos of Elafonisi Beach and the surrounding area.
 
As you may notice, this beach is famous for its pink sand, which is produced from the breakdown of pink shells in the water. Actually, beachgoers are not supposed to take home sand as a souvenir from Elafonisi Beach. You’ve been warned!
After our fun in the sun came to an end, it was time to head back home. This time, we took the “scary way” back to Agia Marinia. The “scary” way really wasn’t that bad. The roads, however, were along narrow, seaside mountain roads. We quickly learned that our rental car agent advised this on the way back so that we weren’t hugging the edge of a steep cliff when tour buses passed. Thanks rental car guy!
Anyways, here’s a look at the scenery from the “scary way” – highly recommend this route if you have a chance.  Just beware, you may experience some duck crossing 🙂
Here’s a look at the map – you can see the two routes (one along the water and one more in the middle of the island).  The 3 hours below is a roundtrip estimate. 
Since this post turned into a bit of a compare and contrast paper between two beaches (Elafonisi vs. Balos), if I had to choose which was better, the views of Balos Beach from the top of the mountain just are unbeatable. HOWEVER, let it be known that I think Elafonisi may have the actual better beach. My advice? Go to both and decide for yourself 🙂 You won’t regret it.

3 thoughts on “Getaway Guide: Elafonisi Beach, Crete

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