Elafonissos, a turquoise-colored paradise! This unknown island of the Mediterranean, part of Natura 2000, calls you to get lost in its magical waters, explore the rich flora, as well as its full of history seabeds. It belongs in the Peloponnese and, more specifically, in the county of Laconia. A small, arid island with very few options and residents, Elafonissos will win you over with its simplicity, quiet and, of course, its majestic beaches. On the front seat is the multi-awarded Simos beach, whose waters are simply indescribable…!Natural sand hills, compositions of cedars in the sand dunes, hidden caves, and beaches accessible only by sea are a few of the elements making Elafonissos the ideal summer destination.
With distances being short (10 minutes by car is the farthest point), you will be able to explore it all in 1-2 days. But are they enough for you to enjoy its beauty? No way! The waters, the serenity and Laconian aura will enchant you and trap you for at least 3-4 days. The things you need to have with you? Only a handful! A few shorts, a pair of slippers, bathing suit, sunscreen and a sea mattress will make your life on the island nicer.
info Elafonissosa) Before the bridge to the chapel of St. Spyridon was built, worshippers used to visit it by walking on the rocks! b) It is known by 11 names, Tsevri or Servi, Lafounissia, Lafonissia, Elafonissia, Elafonissous, Elafonissi, Alafonissi, Lafonission, Lafonissi and Elafonissos (now its official name). c) In total, 220 species of plants have been recorded, 9 of which are extremely rare. Also, 65 species of fauna, among which 13 are protected and 8 that are endangered with total extinction! d) The most “peaceful” location for especially windy days is the beach of Lefki. e) Simos beach was formerly occupied by dozens of free campers, many of which were bathing nude.
1) Simos Beach The beach of Simos is the main reason to visit Elafonissos. The 10-meter sand hills and turquoise, crystal-clear waters totally explain the fact that it is among the 10 best beaches in the world! The beach is divided in two; the small and the large Simos (the Fragkos and Sarakiniko or Tseratsiniko for the locals). At the large part you will find a few sunbeds, as well as plenty of space to swim, while at the small part there are a lot of sunbeds and space is more limited.
2) Snorkeling Elafonissos Snorkeling in Elafonissos will fascinate you! Have you imagined wearing your mask and seeing many many meters beyond and under the surface of the water? At most beaches of the island you will have this opportunity, as their waters are crystal-clear and transparent! Your mask and off for exploring, then..
3) St. Spyridon Chapel The chapel of St. Spyridon is the most beautiful and picturesque chapel of the entire island. Built on the islet opposite the port, it is accessible by the bridge. Take a walk around the islet, get inside the chapel of St. Spyridon and see the abandoned windmill. St. Spyridon is the patron saint of the island.
4) Walk in the town’s port Is there something better, when being on an island, than taking a walk in the town’s port? In the morning the road remains open, while in the afternoon it is closed and transformed into a walkway (after 19:00, in the summer months). At the port you will find a lot of taverns, stores for shopping, coffee and various places to rest and enjoy some people-watching.
5) Pavlopetri Pavlopetri is Greece’s lost Atlantis! It is a 5,000-year-old(!) ancient city, which is sunken only a few meters under the surface of the sea (3-4 meters). It is located opposite Elafonissos, at the beach of Pounda and it is the ideal location for snorkeling.
6) Lefki Beach A lesser known beach is the one of Lefki. Do not get discouraged by the not-so-friendly ground with the rocks. The insuperable color of the water and its seabed full of finds (Bronze Age 3000 BC) is something that you must not miss. It is also an ideal option for swimming, when the other beaches are hit with south and west winds.
7) Hiking Elafonissos Elafonissos has six hiking and three biking trails. The most well-known hiking trail is the one starting at the town’s (Chora) port, passes through the village of Vigla and ends at the Vardia top. Vardia is the island’s highest point (276m), from where you can admire Cape Tenaro, Kithira, Cape Malia and the Mediterranean’s endless seas.
8) Agliftis Beach The beach of Agliftis is the island’s least known beach. Access on foot is pretty difficult and long. Prefer to rent a small boat. There you will enjoy the quietness of the pebbled beach in the company of seagulls under the watch of Saint Patapios (chapel). Opposite the beach is the rocky islet of Ailiftis, while the seabed around the islet is very interesting.
9) Tour of Elafonissos (Karandreas Cave) The tour of Elafonissos is something that should not be missing from your list. You can rent a boat or take an organized tour with a local boatman. This way, you will take many beautiful images, swim in waters that are not accessible any other way and you will see natural geological phenomena, like the cave of Karandreas.
10) Water sports Elafonissos Elafonissos is offered for alternative activities, such as surf, wind surf and kite surf, scuba-diving, snorkeling and fishing. The island’s wind helps all kinds of surfers perform their favorite sport, while the waters seem ideal for scuba-diving, snorkeling and fishing.
11) Simos Cave The Simos Cave is a place of great interest, as according to the legend it is the place where the island was born (it can be true considering its shape)! It is next to the beach of Simos and you can reach it through an even upwards trail, which starts HERE. Inside you will see a few icons of Saints and plenty of bats!
12) Stroggyli Lake-Chamokelo Lake Stroggyli is located in Pounda beach and it is one of the most important wetlands of the Peloponnese. If you visit it in the period of spring migration, you will see flamingoes, teals, marsh harriers, as well as the rare, endangered species of cade tree. Chamokelo, on the other hand, is a strip of land washed both by the sea and the lake.
Transportation Elafonissos ?Access to Elafonissos can be achieved only by the port of Pounda. The ferries transport cars and people in just 10 minutes, at low cost. Transportation inside the town is on foot, while for the rest of the locations and beaches you will need a car or motorcycle as there is no public transportation on the island. But you can also turn to the economical options of taxi and bicycle. You can explore the whole island on a bike, easily and economically, since the farthest paved spot, from the town, is at a 6-kilometer distance.
Food Elafonissos ?Food in Elafonissos is a small adventure! Quality restaurants are non-existent, while the limited options, under no circumstances, correspond with the very high prices on the island. The solution for fast and cheap food, on the other hand, is expensive and bad, both in taste and quality. It may be an island that loves fish, but it disappoints the visitor with its dishes and prices. For a two-person meal you will pay 40-50€ without wine.
Ta nisia tis Panayias: Alexandra’s restaurant is the best option for food in Elafonissos. The restaurant’s characteristics are the beautiful view, quality food and high prices.
Afoi Menti: The Afoi Menti tavern is the most well-known in Elafonissos. It serves a wide variety of fish in pretty high prices.
Quarter: It is located on the town’s port and serves pizza and pasta of pretty good quality and at high prices.
Surfing Bird: It is located on a very nice spot in the town and serves burgers, crepes, waffles and breakfast delicacies in reasonable –considering the island’s standards- prices!
Artolihoudies: Close to the port you will find Artolihoudies. The shop has decent breakfast options at reasonable prices.
Accommodation Elafonissos ?Accommodation in Elafonissos follows the same pattern as food does. Limited options, mediocre quality and pretty high prices. One could say it is logical, since the island works for only two “full” months a year. Simos’ camping holds the lead in accommodation, with hotels being very few (rooms to rent are more). For a decent double room during high season you will have to pay 90-150€ per night.
Elafonisos Resort: It is the best and most high-quality accommodation site in Elafonissos. Modern and clean rooms, very nice location and delicious breakfast, with prices being reasonable for what is offered. Accommodation Cost: 100€-160€ / High Season
Simos Camping Elafonissos: Simos’ camping is the largest source of accommodation on the island. It is visited by those who seeking affordable, long-term accommodation. Accommodation cost: starting at 15€ per person / High Season
Berdoussis Hotel: Very good location, reasonable prices and nice rooms are everything that the Berdoussis Hotel offers. Accommodation Cost: 90€-110€ / High Season
Double Bay Beach Hotel: Just a breath away from Simos Beach, it offers quality accommodation and plenty of amenities in slightly high prices. Accommodation Cost: 180€-250€ / High Season
Limira Mare Hotel: The Limira Mare Hotel is located in Neapoli, just 10 minutes away from the town (with the ferry) and offers quality accommodation in very reasonable prices. Accommodation Cost: 90€-110€ / High Season
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Tips Elafonissos ?
- The best season to visit the island is mid-September. The beaches are not that crowded, the weather is good and prices at hotels are reasonable.
- The sea at Elafonissos remains warm until early October.
- If it is windy, sand-blasting is so strong that it will not let you enjoy Simos Beach and the other beaches.
- You can make the round of the island by car, as the road is connected.
- The beach of Lefki is located HERE. Access from the beach of Lefki to Simos beach is achieved on foot (5 minutes).
- Explore the cedar forest at Simos Beach.
- On the island there is only one gas station, with prices up to 20% higher compared to the rest of Greece.
- Prefer to take the Vigla-Vardia hiking trail during the sunset, when the view is painted in amazing colors.
- The coastal route to the beach of Agliftis starts at the “Avlaki tis Panayias”.
- Most people pass by the wonderful beach of Lefki in order to get to the famous Simos Beach. Take advantage of it!
- On the island there is no bank, apart from two ATMs (one of which, in fact, operates only during the summer months).
- For better and easier transportation, prefer the scooter. Economical, fast and you can park it anywhere.
- Some restaurants do not bring menus and charge whatever they want for the dishes!
- The only pharmacy on the island is located on the town’s port (Tel: 2734 061363).
- Prices in accommodation and food are pretty high, compared to the rest of the Greek islands.
- Be careful where you park your car. The coast guard is constantly giving tickets for illegal parking.
- Visit the beach of Pounda with the endless sand and swim in its crystal-clear waters.
- If you wish to visit the island from July 15th to September 5th, you must have made reservations at least 3-4 months in advance, as options for accommodation are limited and get booked in no time.
- Most restaurants and shops accept credit cards (Visa & Mastercard). There are also a few that own card payment machines, but ask for cash only!