Pink sand and turquoise water

Elafonisi (The Deer Island) lies almost at the southeastern edge of Crete, about 76 km southwest of Chania and thus quite far away from our holiday house. However, it is one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete.

Elafonisi is accessed by a short walk across a sandbar as it is separated from Crete only by a shallow lagoon. The sand is bright white with tinges of pink from crushed sea shells, the turquoise water is warm, calm and clear and and the entire scenery is framed by the impressive White Mountains. The island itself is a protected area and included in the 'Natura 2000' environmental programme of the EU.

The long sandy beach on the Cretan side is also partly protected as it is not allowed to build any permanent structures closer than one kilometer from the beach.
But ever since the dirt track of the good old days was turned into an asphalted road for the last five kilometers from the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa nothing prevents busses and cars from bringing scores of visitors in the high season, filling the rutted parking space, where once only sand dunes framed the shoreline. And the seemingly unavoidable rows of plastic sunbeds now litter much of the mainland beach.

Nevertheless, Elafonisi is still an idyllic place to visit and there are still unspoiled spots to be found for the "Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints" kind of visitors.

Elafonisi (Greek: Ελαφονήσι "Deer island") near the southwestern corner of Crete. You can walk to the island through the shallow water. It is known for its pink sand, created by deposits of pigmented microorganisms in the seaweed.
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