A hidden paradise called Elafonisi Beach

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

{Paradise}; a place of extreme beauty, delight or happiness

Aerial view

On the southwestern side of Crete, 75 km from Chania, a sanctuary awaits. One of the popular beaches in the world (ranked #9 in the annual TripAdvisor awards for World’s best beaches in 2017), it gets very crowded during the Summer. The season you choose to visit makes a world of difference. When I was there in mid-October, it was a place of extreme bliss, peacefulness and very remote.

After spending a large part of my day at Koukouvaya Café taking in the coastal view of Chania, I starting driving towards Elafonisi Beach. It was a drive into the Wild Wild West once I exited the highway – villages, narrow mountainous roads, cliffs, rocks, etc... I didn’t manage to take pictures of the drive, but here's a map

From my hostel to Elafonisi

There is a one-way traffic tunnel along this route, if I’m not wrong it is over Topolia Gorge. I was a little confused with a traffic light popping out of nowhere. Turns out that at any time only cars going in one direction are allowed to pass. There is a traffic light at each end of the tunnel and a holding area for cars to stop. You stop there and wait until the light turns green. Otherwise, DO. NOT. MOVE. The car before me tried driving in and was honked mercilessly by the cars at the back (A few seconds after cars were zooming out from the tunnel).

Overall experience: It was an easy drive, some parts of the road were narrow, so just drive carefully.

The afternoon sun was gone by the time I arrived. There were barely any cars in the parking lot and plenty of beach umbrellas and deck chairs to go around.

With my drone in hand, off I went in search of the legendary pink sand.


Elafonisi Beach is a protected area famous for its crystal clear water, amazing shades of blue, home to 110 plant species, and its famous pink sand. The sand gets its hue from thousands of broken coral pieces and shells left by tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells.

Lady Luck was not with me that day. I didn’t see any pink sand, although there was a tinge of red when the waves rolled up the shore.

I cannot describe how beautiful this place is. And since a picture is worth a thousand words...

Sunset sessions

No pink sand, but still beautiful nevertheless

Personal tip:

I had to drive back to my hostel shortly after the sunset as I was leaving for Athens the next day. I don’t recommend this as it was pitch dark and the narrow winding mountain roads made it very dangerous. I was on high beam all the time and went really slow when I was rounding the bends (One wrong turn and my car would have gone tumbling down the cliffs). My GPS went crazy at one point and I was taken on a merry-go-round drive for a good 15 minutes.

What I would do the next time:

Stay at one of the beach lodges. I would love to watch the sunrise here.


10/10 will recommend this to anyone who is in Chania. You can drive or take the public bus, or even a boat. Don’t miss this.