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Ultimate Guide to Elafonisi Beach, Greece

Priya Johnson Jun 11, 2019
Greece is known to have the best beaches in Europe. Amongst Greece's stunning beaches, Elafonisi beach (south coast of Crete island) is touted to be one of the best.

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What’s Unique About Elafonisi

It's been voted as one of the most majestic beaches in the world, because of its unique pink sand and turquoise blue, crystal clear waters.

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It’s also popularly loved for its shallow water lagoon that allows people to enjoy knee-deep water at all times. Even during high tide the water level is only waist-high.

Does Elafonisi Really Have Pink Sand?

The sand has a tinge of pinkish hue to it, especially where the sea water brushes against the sand.
The rest of the sand appears pure white. You may have to look at the sand at a particular angle and in a certain light to see the pink shade.

Why Does the Sand Have a Pinkish Hue?

This pink color can be attributed to the red organisms growing on the coral reefs that get washed up on shore. Coral dust mixed with white sand gives it the pink color.
Moreover, the scores of tiny, crushed shell pieces (with pink dye pigment) that blend into the sand, are also responsible for the beautiful gentle pink shade.

Illegal to Take Pink Sand from the Beach

Elafonisi islets and the entire beach including the sand, rocks, open waters, flora and fauna are all protected by the Natura 2000 protection program.
It’s illegal for anyone to take even a little of the pink sand from the beach. The beach is protected, so even the wildflowers cannot be picked.

Kid-Friendly Beach

Elafonisi is a long peninsula with a vast coastline. It’s almost like an island surrounded by a lagoon. It's a natural swimming pool.
This beach is kid-friendly due to its shallow water in the main lagoon (even during high tide). Children can safely enjoy the water due to the absence of sudden depth drops.

What’s There on Elafonisi Islet

You can wade your way through the shallow lagoons to reach the Elafonisi islet, that is covered with Juniper trees and rare plant species.

At the far end of the Elafonisi islet is a tiny white church; a symbol of the Massacre of Elafonisi. In 1824, the Turks massacred 850 Cretans. There’s also an old lighthouse (1907) as well.

Flora and Fauna on Elafonisi

The islet is a treasure trove of flora - 110 species of plants (including rare varieties) and fauna – sea urchins, octopus, sea turtles, etc.

Elafonisi has a lot of secluded coves, islets, and beach sides with unique flora and fauna. So, stroll around and explore the whole place, not restricting yourself to the main beach.

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How Popular is Elafonisi

The beach gets very crowded, with about 2500 people visiting the beach every day during the peak season, that is from July to September.

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The rows of sunbeds and beach umbrellas are almost always fully occupied. Carry your own umbrellas and shade. Walk over to the island opposite the beach to enjoy a private beach experience.

Fun Things to Do

Besides exploring the different beach fronts of Elafonisi, and enjoying the picturesque landscape, you can also enjoy a variety of water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, wind sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, etc.