The Essential Guide to Elafonisos, Greece

“What are you doing next weekend?” said my friend, “Come along with us, we are going to Elafonisos. They say the sea there is Caribbean turquoise”.  I jumped on the opportunity and visited the small island. That was 5 years ago. Since then I’ve been to Elafonisos twice more (the most recent visit being a few weeks ago) and since I love it so much (the beach is indeed divine), it’s time to introduce it to you too!

Elafonisos (Ελαφόνησος) is a small island off the coast of southeastern Peloponnese in the region of Lakonia. It’s a popular relaxing holiday destination for years. Thankfully the island isn’t over-developed, so the raw beauty of the island is still there!

What to see and do

There isn’t much you can do in this island either than relax, swim, tan, make sand castles…and that’s what people come here for! It is also family and dog friendly (because cats don’t give a damn about the sea)!

Beaches you shouldn’t miss

Simos beach, Elafonisos, Greece

Elafonisos is famous for its beaches and particularly Simos beach, which is actually divided into 2 parts: small and big Simos. The first one faces southeast and the latter southwest. In both beaches the sea has this turquoise hue and tropical feeling (minus the palm trees). The island has another large beach to the west called Panagia with similar sea color, and various smaller ones.

Related: 10 Greek Beaches you shouldn’t miss

The natural environment in Elafonisos is protected under the Natura 2000 act, as the sand dunes on the beaches are home to unique flowers and vegetation. For this reason there aren’t any beach bars (but there are small cafes in the entry points of each beach) and the areas with umbrellas and sunbeds (to rent) are limited. You are more than welcome to bring your own gear (you are going to need an umbrella if you plan to spend a lot of time on the beach), as both beaches have ample space.

Where to stay

Elafonisos, Greece

There are various rooms to let, some with breakfast and some without. A search in Booking.com will bring up about 23 establishments in Elafonisos. I’ve stayed in two of them: En Plo and Pallas Pension, both of which are located on the seafront, right next to each other. There is also a camping on big Simos beach.

Where to eat

Salad in Kouzini, Elafonisos

Small island though it may be, Elafonisos has  many places to eat. For fish/seafood I suggest Menti brothers (almost opposite the church) and Aronis fish tavern (the last one on the promenade, facing west). Stin Akri is an all-day café/restaurant with delicious breakfast options (you’ll find it opposite the church). The one bar/restaurant that I frequented during my last visit was Kouzini, which features Greek cuisine “with a twist”. They also feature delicious salads and award-winning cocktails on their menu.

When to visit

Table by the sea in Kouzini, Elafonisos port, Greece

As all Greek islands, Elafonisos gets crowded during July and August. My favorite period to visit is early September as it’s not so crowded and not too hot (although the temperature this year was an exception).

How to get there

Church in Elafonisos, Greece

In order to get to Elafonisos you need a car. There is the possibility to reach it by bus (via Neapoli) but in the island there is no availability to rent bikes/motorbikes and cars and the distance from the port to the beach is 5km. The distance from Athens is 328km (miles) and you’ll need at least 5 hours to get there (without stop). If you’re coming from Europe via the Ancona-Patras ferry, you’ll need around 6 hours to get from Patras to Elafonisos (there are 2 available routes).

Have you visited Elafonisos?

Abandoned boats in Elafonisos, Greece Elafonisos, Greece