Elafonisi
Tour
from Chania

ACTIVIES designed to forge
MEMORIES that will last a
LIFETIME. All in one place.

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Elafonisi Itinerary

08:00‐09:20 Pick‐Up
09:45‐10:15 Coffee break
11:15 Arrival at Elafonisi
15:15 Departure from Elafonisi with possible stop at Local Village
(Optional Lunch)
17:00‐18:00 Arrival at your drop-off point

Elafonisi Description

It takes only a few seconds for visitors arriving at Elafonisi to grasp the majestic natural masterpiece before them. A small peninsula, split at its tip by the sea’s waters, resembles a separate island. The tropical and enchanting setting triggers an instant sense of marvel. The thin, white, and pink-tinted sands, cedars, jade crystal-clear waters, a natural lagoon on its north side, and the open sea to the south, all underlined by the endless horizon, create a scene reminiscent of an exotic paradise similar to the Caribbean, though perhaps more beautiful due to its iridescent shore. This unique tint is produced by the crushed shells of minuscule crustaceans called Foraminifera, which blend with the sand.

What to Expect
From Elafonisi

The eastern side of the beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, a beach bar, showers, changing rooms, and a parking area, attracting the majority of visitors. Those willing to cross over to the peninsula can simply walk through the shallow waters, no deeper than a meter. The lagoon here is ideal for children to play safely due to its shallow depth. As visitors move into the peninsula, they encounter cedar trees enclosed by protective ropes and small, secluded bays on the southern side. The far end of the peninsula hosts the St. Irini chapel and a lighthouse.

If you visit in autumn, stunning white sand lilies bloom in the area, along with sea cedar trees, an endangered species that grows near sandy beaches. Elafonisi serves as a resting place for numerous migratory birds on their journey to and from Africa, and it is also a nesting site for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).

Some History
about Elafonisi

Elafonisi, also known as Lafonisi, is steeped in legends and tales dating back to antiquity. It is believed to have been home to the Mousagores Islands, where a temple dedicated to Apollo Mousagetis (the leader of the nine Muses) once stood. People offered sacrifices and prayers to the Muses to calm the seas with their music. Later, the island was said to be a base for pirates, with its name meaning ‘an island of spoils’ (from ‘Lafo-‘ < ‘lafyro’ = spoil and ‘nisi’ = island).

In 1824, Elafonisi witnessed a tragic event when 850 women and children, along with 40 Greek freedom fighters, hid on the island hoping to evade the Turks. However, a horse accidentally wading over led to their discovery and massacre. A monument commemorating this tragedy stands in the memorial park, part of the larger parking area.

Another tragic event occurred in February 1907 when the Austrian steamship ‘Imperatrix’, sailing from Trieste to Bombay, crashed on an underwater ledge during a severe storm. Those who panicked and boarded lifeboats drowned. A skilled crew of twelve managed to reach the shore and seek help. Monks from the nearby Holy Monastery of Chryssosklaitissa were the first responders, and a joint effort from Cretan locals rescued the remaining passengers. The 38 deceased were buried on the island, marked by a large wooden cross. A lighthouse, 23 meters high with a range of 30 meters, was built to prevent similar tragedies by warning seamen of the underwater rocks.