If you come to Crete on holiday, Elafonissi is a name you are sure to hear. Elafonissi is a tiny island with white sand, separated from the shore by a lagoon no more than a metre deep.
Elafonissi means “deer island”, but you won’t see any deer on the island or in the surrounding area. The island is 75 kilometres from Hania and it will take you about an hour and a half to get here.
On the way you will see Chrissoskalitissa (or Chrysoskalitissa) Monastery, visible from afar as it is a dazzling white and built on a great rock. Climb up to pay your respects at this historic monastery and look for the golden step which, according to legend, only the truly devout can see.
Elafonissi is 5 kilometres from Chrissoskalitissa. On arriving you will see a large bare expanse used as a car park, a few dusty juniper trees and the wonderful colours of the lagoon.
The island is less than 200 metres from the beach and you can easily walk there through the warm, shallow water of the lagoon. On reaching the island you will discover lots of tiny beaches on its south coast.
The sand of Elafonissi is white, but in many places it is pinkish due to the thousands of broken seashells it contains. The limpid, blue-green waters will remind you of an exotic paradise.