Your Complete Guide to Visiting Elafonisi Beach, the Pink Beach on the Greek Island of Crete


Elafonisi Beach is a stunning place on the island of Crete, Greece. The magnificent beach is located on the southwest coast of Chania and features pale pink sand and crystalline calm waters, which must be a part of everybody’s itinerary to Crete.

If you want to visit Elafonisi, swim in its inviting waters, and sunbathe on its fluffy sand, you’re in the right place!

In this post, you’ll find a complete guide to visiting Elafonisi Beach, including how to get here, places to stay nearby, and other pro tips for this magical place.

Why Visit Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on Crete Island. The place became famous for its pinkish sand, and that’s why it’s also known as Pink Beach. And though many things impact this phenomenon and make its sand turn pastel-pink, regardless of how the sand looks, its waters are still pristine and very inviting on a summer day.

The waters of Elafonisi are calm and perfect for children and grown-ups alike. The main part of the beach where the rental chair and umbrellas are located is very shallow, where you can walk for some time without the water reaching your waist. In contrast, the second part of the beach, after the dunes, has perfect water for a swim and to stretch your towel over the sand for sunbathing.

Pink sand of Elafonisi Beach

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Where is Elafonisi Beach

It’s possible to reach Elafonisi from the main cities of Crete – Chania, Heraklion, and Rethymno.

Here are the approximate distances:

  • Chania: 45 miles
  • Rethymno: 80 miles
  • Heraklion: 130 miles
Elafonisi Beach, Greece

Visiting Elafonisi from Heraklion or Rethymno would take from 2 to 4 hours. Since it would be a big stretch and you would miss most of the day commuting, I wouldn’t recommend staying in any of them to visit Elafonisi.

Because of this, the best city to stay in and visit Elafonisi is Chania, where you can reach the beach in around 1,5 hours.

If you’re flying into Crete, the closest airport to Elafonisi is the Chania one that receives international flights from other European cities, such as London and Frankfurt, and the capital of Greece – Athens.

Additionally, Crete is also connected to Athens and other Cyclades islands (Santorini and Mykonos) by ferry with arrivals in either Heraklion or Chania.

Where to stay to visit Elafonisi

With the distances mentioned above, the best places to stay to visit Elafonisi are the towns nearby the beach itself or in Chania, where you’ll have access to restaurants, bars, and many other attractions.


Tourists at Elafonisi


  • Domes Zeen Chania – for a seaside luxury experience, this is one of the best options. It has a picture-perfect pool, outdoor gym, and beach service with chairs and umbrellas. It’s good for families and is part of the Luxury Collection of hotels. Its sophisticated and comfortable rooms have Byredo amenities, and many have private plunge pools.
  • Domes Noruz Chania – another seaside hotel with modern, bright rooms featuring private pools. It’s the best option for couples since it’s adults-only and is also part of the Autograph Collection.
  • Porto Antico – a historic hotel built in 1659 located in the colorful Venetian Harbor of Chania. In this hotel, your rooms can come with views of the Old Town, the port, and the Pharos lighthouse.
  • Belmondo Hotel – also in the Venetian Harbor, right where many restaurants and taverns are located and with stunning views of Chania’s Old Town.
  • Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa – placed in the heart of Chania’s picturesque old town, this authentic 17th-century Venetian mansion has a rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the Venetian Harbor.
Pool at Domes Zeen Chania
Domes Zeen Chania

You might like to read my full review of Domes Zeen Chania.

Getting to Elafonisi from Chania

Though many tour companies in Chania offer day trips to Elafonisi Beach, getting here is relatively easy if you are driving your own or a rental car. In a 1,5-hour drive, you’ll be able to see charming towns along the way and have scenic views of Crete’s mountains.

If you don’t want to drive yourself and prefer to let others take care of the roads for you, you can visit Elafonisi on a tour from Chania.

Also, you can reach Elafonisi Beach by bus from Chania’s Central Bus Station, which is close to the Chania Old Market in Old Town. The bus trip takes around 2 hours, and you can either visit the station or check out the KTEL website for bus schedules.

Elafonisi Beach on Crete Island, Greece

Facilities on Elafonisi Beach

On Elafonisi, you’ll find beach chairs and umbrella rental services for around €10, depending on the season.

Though you can find canteens at the beach’s entrance serving snacks, sandwiches, and alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages, the best option is to pack a picnic and water to bring with you.

There are also bathroom facilities with toilets, where you have to pay a small fee to use them.

Elafonisi Beach - Chairs and umbrellas for rent

Best time to visit Elafonisi Beach, Crete

Like many Greek beaches, the best time to visit Elafonisi Beach is from May to early November. Please remember that July and August are very busy and hot months in Crete.

I visited Elafonisi on a weekday in mid-September and had the best time without crowds and perfect weather – I arrived before 9 am and left around 1 pm to see the nearby Kedrodasos Beach (one of the most stunning beaches on Crete Island).

Best tips for visiting Elafonisi Beach

If you feel like the beach itself is too crowded for you, head on to the cove on the other side of the dunes at the end of the beach, where the turquoise waters will be glistening, and the sea invites you for a dip on a hot day. This part is more rustic and has no facilities such as chair and umbrella rental, so bring your towel to relax by the ocean.

Small Cove at Eleafonisi Beach

Also, because of its relatively easy access, the beach gets crowded in the middle of the day. It’s better to have an early start, by planning on arriving before 9 am and leaving around noon to Kedrodasos Beach, a nearby beach that is only 10 minutes away and is one of the best beaches on Crete around Chania.

And if you are not planning on having lunch at the beach, be sure to pack enough water and a picnic with snacks and fruits.

Places to see near Elafonisi Beach, Crete

From Elafonisi Beach, drive around one mile to the nearby Kedrodasos Beach, an unspoiled location with neon waters in many shades of turquoise.

While Elafonisi gets most of the people, in Kedrodasos, you’ll find peace and tranquility, having parts of the beach just to yourself and even swim in the ocean with very few others.

From the off-road parking lot, you have to go down for 10 minutes through an unpaved path to get to the beach, but it’s an easy trail and 100% worth it. For me, Kedrodados was the best beach on Crete.

Kedrodasos beach near Elafonisi Beach

And about 3 miles from Elafonisi, you’ll find the Chrysoskalitissa Monastery offering impressive views of the surrounding area and ocean. Around the monastery, on the main road, you’ll find taverns like Tavern Kochilas, which serves Cretan goods such as stuffed zucchini and Cretan salad, and Kosmos Fish Tavern for fresh seafood.




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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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