Elafonisos is the best option for any tourist seeking for carefree holidays with a plethora od Greek food, the sun and beach moments.
Elafonisos is located in the southern end of Peloponnese, in Lakonia and close to Cythera island. The island remains empty during the whole year. Though, in August plenty tourists (mostly Greeks) visit the island for holidays. Families, couples and groups of friends visit the island for some time of entertainment and relaxation. The options are limited, since the island is tiny (18.000 square meters).
How you’ll get there
To visit Elafonisos from Athens, you must drive for around 4-4.30 hours through Peloponnese. Crossing Tripoli and Sparti, you will end up in Lakonia. Specifically, you need to go to the port of Pounta in Neapoli and get the ferry for the island. The trip Neapoli-Elafonisos lasts around two minutes. The routes are frequent , especially during the summer months when the demand is higher.
You can move around the port of the island on foot, but you need a vehicle (car, motorcycle, bike) to access the rest of the island and the beaches. There is no public transport. Otherwise, you can use a taxi.
Where you’ll stay
A significant number of tourists choosin Simos camping, located in the beach of the same name. It is well-organised and serves an suitable option for low-priced holidays in the island. If you’re anything like me and cannot stand camping, you can choose among the few hotels and the rooms to rent.
If you plan to visit Elafonisos during the high season (July-August), you need to make a reservation few months beforehand. Otherwise, you may not find a place to stay.
Simos beach is the main reason why most visitors choose this island for their summer holidays. It combines turquoise waters, fine golden sand and dunes. The landscape is reminiscent of an exotic destination and captivates even the most demanding tourist. It consists of two beaches, the small and the big Simos. Big Simos has sunbeds but plenty of space to spread your towel. The same thing applies to small Simos too, but the space is a bit limited. If you want to see a very romantic setting, make sure you are in Simos at sunset.
On the west side of the island you will find the beach of Panagia, with blue waters and dunes. It is equally beautiful with Simos, but it does not attract such a large number of visitors. Another well-known beach is Lefki, featuring white sand and emerald waters.
If you are lucky, it won’t get windy while you’re in Elafonisos. The sandblasting is so fierce that it won’t let you enjoy the beaches. The only beach you might be able to visit is Lefki.
In the port of the island you can enjoy a beautiful walk and shop for clothing, accessories or souvenirs. The road closes in the afternoon (after 19:00, during the summer months) and turns into a sidewalk for leisurely walks before dinner. On this coastal road you will find cafes, taverns and bars. Every night tourists and locals flood this part of the island to enjoy a cool cocktail by the sea or delicious dishes in a tavern. It is worth visiting the church of Agios Spyridon, the patron saint of the island. It is located on the edge of the beach road and its wonderful courtyard will compensate you, even if you do not enter inside the church.
- Mid-Septmber is the best period to visit Elafonisos. Most people are gone, the weather is fantastic, the sea is still warm and hotel prices are more reasonable.
- Elafonisos has a gas station but the prices are much higher than the rest of Greece. On the route Athens – Elafonisos, you will notice that as you get closer to Laconia, gas stations become more expensive, so be careful not to leave it for the last moment.
- There is a pharmacy on the island and it is located in the port.
- In Elafonisos there are 2 cash registers (ATMs), but there is no bank branch.
- Most restaurants and shops accept credit or debit card transactions, but as in many parts of Greece, many ask for cash money.
- For one-day/short excursions you can choose between Gythio, Monemvasia, Cythera or the villages of Laconia.