Elafonisi: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Rethymno: Elafonissi Pink Sand Beach Tour

1. From Rethymno: Elafonissi Pink Sand Beach Tour

Visit one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Elafonissi is truly a heaven on earth, with soft white/pink sand, exotic crystal-clear water and cedar trees that extend down to the coastline. It is located in the easily accessible, south-western side of Crete. Get picked up from your hotel area in the morning. Stop for a short break is the Aghia Sophia cave. Visit the cave, and have coffee or refreshments if you choose. Following this, depart for Elafonissi. On your way, see small traditional villages combined with typical Mediterranean scenery, along with the rugged landscape around the Topolia Gorge. Once you reach Elafonissi, have 4 hours of free time to soak in the amazing sun and enjoy the spectrum of shades of blue that this beach has to offer. At the end of your tour, return to your accommodation in Crete.

From Chania: Day Trip to Elafonisi Island

2. From Chania: Day Trip to Elafonisi Island

Travel to the southwest corner of Crete on a guided day trip from Chania to Elafonisi Island, with hotel transfers included. Spend a relaxing day swimming in the clear blue waters, relaxing on the pink sand beach, and soaking in the unique landscape of Elafonisi. Start with a hotel pick up and take in the lush green landscape en route to the island as you travel through the impressive Topolia Gorge and pass many traditional villages. Stop to purchase coffee and breakfast in the village of Elos, known for its chestnut trees. After arriving at Elafonisi, enjoy 4 hours of relaxing on the beach and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. Afterward, enjoy lunch at a local tavern (not included). Situated just off the island of Crete, Elafonisi is easily reached by walking through the shallow waters. Both the beach and island are protected wildlife areas of rare beauty.

From Rethymno & Chania: Elafonisi Island Day Tour by Bus

3. From Rethymno & Chania: Elafonisi Island Day Tour by Bus

Ride in a comfortable coach through small traditional villages and typical Mediterranean scenery. See the rugged landscape around the Topolia Gorge and have a stop for coffee and refreshments. Arrive at Elafonissi beach. Here, you have four hours of free time to marvel at the different colors from the soft pink and white sand to the turquoise waters. As well as exploring the wonders of the beach, discover the small island. This lies just off the shore and you can reach it by strolling through the water. Both the beach and the island are protected wildlife areas of rare beauty and included in the Natura 2000 Protection Programme. 

Chania: Elafonisi and Milia Mountain Retreat Tour with Lunch

4. Chania: Elafonisi and Milia Mountain Retreat Tour with Lunch

Join a semi-private tour to explore a part of southwest Crete. Get plenty of time to admire the clear blue waters, pink sand, and unique landscape of Elafonisi beach. For lunch, relax at Milia Mountain Retreat. Start early in the morning to avoid the crowds at Elafonisi beach. A part of the Natura 2000 nature reserve, this beach is famous for its pink sand that was created from seashells over thousands of years. As you walk around the beach, get an insight into life in Cretan villages, olive oil production, local wine, honey-making, and the distillation of Cretan grappa. Learn about the regional culture, cuisine, history, and traditions from your guide. Then, tucked away in the lush mountains of western Crete, visit the eco-friendly paradise of Milia Mountain Retreat. Once a deserted 17th-century settlement, this restored property is your stop for a delicious local lunch paired with wine or beer.

From Heraklion: Day Excursion to Elafonisi

5. From Heraklion: Day Excursion to Elafonisi

Experience a very special Tour that leads you to Crete's most southwestern part on the small island of Elafonisi. Drive from the north coast to the southwest and enjoy a scenic ride through beautiful nature and picturesque mountain villages to one of Crete's most beautiful beaches. Enjoy pure relaxation on exotic beaches with white sand and turquoise water. Jump into the refreshingly cool water and admire the pink shimmering sand in some locations, which has arisen from broken shells. The small lagoon provides an ideal place for paddling and bathing for children as well. Cross the shallow lagoon and reach the small idyllic island, where you can admire beautiful dunes and the local nature. Towards the sea, Elafonisi shows a steep rocky ridge, which is the real core of the island. Between the ridge and the coast, the island arose from alluvial deposition over thousands of years. That's why the island looks like a big sandy desert. Elafonisi is the nesting site of the sea turtle Caretta Caretta and the last resting place for migratory birds on their flight from Europe to Africa.

Rethymno: Elafonisi Day Trip with Balos Lagoon Photo-Stop

6. Rethymno: Elafonisi Day Trip with Balos Lagoon Photo-Stop

Start your day at Elafonisi beach, with its shallow water and fine white sand. Relax on the shore for 2 hours or explore your surroundings in one of the most beautiful, remote locations in Crete. Dip your feet in the turquoise lagoon or simply stroll along the shore fringed with pink coral sand. Then, get ready for the wild road to Cape Vouxa. Ride 8 kilometers up a dirt track to the national park in a comfortable 4x4 bus. As you travel, enjoy the beautiful natural scenery around you. Finally, arrive at your destination. Step out and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of Balos Bay and Gramvousa.

From Chania: Elafonisi-Falasarna Full-Day Shared Tour

7. From Chania: Elafonisi-Falasarna Full-Day Shared Tour

Explore three of the most divine and sought-after destinations on Crete on this full-day shared tour. Enjoy the convenience of pickup and drop-off in an air-conditioned vehicle fully equipped with Wi-Fi service. Visit the 2 most popular beaches of Greece, Elafonisi and Falasarna, in one day.Start your journey in Elafonisi, a beach with unique, pink sands which pop in contrast to the blue waters. Continue west to Falasarna, a blinding white sandy beach famous for its striking turquoise waters. Then head to the last stop, Vouves, where you'll visit the oldest olive tree in the world and the Olive Tree Museum.Grab the kids and splash about in the shallow waters of the small, exotic lagoons. In all, you'll enjoy nearly 5 hours of leisure time swimming and sunbathing by the sea. Listen as your guide tells you about Cretan customs and sample local cuisine from a prepared snack box. Return to your hotel once again in cool comfort in a quality vehicle.

From Chania Area: Day Trip to Elafonisi Island by Bus

8. From Chania Area: Day Trip to Elafonisi Island by Bus

Travel to the foothills of the wild mountain landscape of Crete’s White Mountains, and discover a relaxing beach in the extreme southwest of the island. Drive through the village of Topolia, and stop in the village of Elos. Elafonisi is a Natura 2000 protected area. The island is full of sand dunes with sea daffodils and junipers. The endangered loggerhead sea turtle and several more rare animals and plants find shelter on the island. It is strickly forbidden to remove any plants, animals, shells, and sand from the area. Before it’s overgrown by pine and juniper dunes, there is a flat and fine sandy beach that shimmers with pink in places due to the coral. On the opposite island of Kastelli, you can wade through the shallow turquoise lagoon where the water is no more than waist-high. On our way back to Chania we will stop at Elos village, one of the most attractive old villages of the Kissamos prefecture, with green surroundings and natural water sources.

Your Tailored Elafonisi Full-Day Private Tour from Heraklion

9. Your Tailored Elafonisi Full-Day Private Tour from Heraklion

Somewhere between heaven & earth, there is a Cretan beach paradise sculpted by nature over ancient times. On some days, this geological masterpiece is connected to the coastline of South-West Crete, and on others, it is an island you can easily wade to through a shallow sea corridor. Imagine yourself basking in crystal blue waters of the intermingled Cretan & Libyan Seas. With your toes sinking in the fine white sand that is blissfully blended with flecks of pink from millions of crushed shells as the fresh sea-breeze touches your cheeks leaving salt crystals in its wake. There are many ways to appreciate Elafonisi, but none quite as rewarding as a tailored & stress-free escape for the discerning travelers who pursue experiences at their own pace. On the road trip across West Crete rely on our top local insider to immerse in a true adventure by the comfort of a luxury chauffeured vehicle. This is your relaxation rhythm. Take things slower, breathe deep & luxuriate in your freedom.

Elafonisi Island: Day Trip by Bus from Chania or Rethymno

10. Elafonisi Island: Day Trip by Bus from Chania or Rethymno

Visit the small island of Elafonisi, south west of Crete, and admire the most beautiful beaches in the area. Follow the green north coast just before Kastelli and finally reach the rock chapel of Agia Sophia through the village of Topolia. This small church is hidden in a dripstone cave, reached by a small uphill climb. Continue through quaint villages to the Chrissoskalitissa Nunnery. Listen to the legend of the Golden Step and try to find it among the 99 steps that lead to the nunnery. Then head towards the water and admire the shimmering pink beach in front of pine and juniper covered dunes. Walk to the opposite island of Elafonisi through the shallow turquoise lagoon and spend the rest of the day on the beach.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Elafonisi

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What people are saying about Elafonisi

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,862 reviews

So it really was an all-round successful trip! Good communication through the travel company, friendly reception by tour guide Dani, nice bus driver, tour guide told a lot of interesting things and gave good tips. On the outward and return journey, a stop at tavern 'Epos'(?) with delicious, inexpensive food, nice service and sparkling clean toilets. In Elafonisi, the sunbed rental company even made sure that I could share sunbeds and an umbrella (15 €) with another single traveller. Very nice! That was the lounger rental company on the far right. Although it was already October, all the loungers were rented in the afternoon. The lagoon was a dream again. Very lovely. Although strong winds blew elsewhere on the south coast, Elafonisi was spared. It was an all-round successful day. Anytime gladly again!

Very nice excursion, we were picked up outside our hotel, nice journey there, despite the narrow and winding roads there, you felt safe with the bus driver who drove very well. A stop in the mountains on the way there, with a long staircase up to a cozy cafe with a fantastic view. Once you arrived at Elafonissi, you were there for four hours, and it was too little, but it's not the organizers' fault, you have to get home the same day. Fantastic beach☀️ Was there in September and there were some people, but not packed, can imagine what it looks like in July/August. On the way home, we stopped in a super cozy little village called Elos. There you could eat or have coffee. We were picked up at 8.35 and got home at about 6pm. Will definitely use Getyourguide in the future!

The tour was great - our guide was very knowledgeable and funny. We got to Elafonissi before the crowds which was nice, and left for Elos at the warmest part of the day. We had just enough time for a late lunch in Elos (~1hr-15min). The food was really good - some of the best I had in Crete. I wish we had a bit more time there so we could eat and see the village (e.g. extend by 30-40 min).

George, our guide was absolutely wonderful, kept us engaged with facts about Crete, the whole journey to the beach and to the Milia Mountain retreat. The time we went was quiet so we had free reign of were to sit by the beach. The food in Milia Mountain was delicious, plates were all sparkling clean after and the view was amazing. Would definitely go again.

Excellent day, our guide was so knowledgeable and elafonisi was just beautiful. Even in October we were able to go swimming in the sea.