The heavenly sandy beach of Elafonissi

At the south-western tip of Crete you will find the beautiful sandy beach of Elafonissi with the small island of the same name, which can be reached on foot via a shallow sandbank. The shallow bay shimmers in the most beautiful colours, the sand is very light and fine. You can almost always wade over to the islet, sometimes even dry-footed. The special thing here: The sand of the island contains countless fine shell fragments that make it shimmer pink.

The area is also protected because of the rare beach hyacinths, which is why no tavernas are allowed in the immediate vicinity - a heavenly place! There are other, less frequented beaches on the island. A fantastically beautiful destination for total relaxation.

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Shortly before you arrive there, you will pass the small settlement of Chrissoskalitissa. Its heart is the monastery of the same name, the 'Monastery of the Golden Stairs'. It stands snow-white on a low rock almost directly on the sea. The Golden Staircase, which gives the monastery its name, is supposed to be visible only to those who are without sin - which is why no one has seen it yet. The monastery, which is still inhabited by a monk in summer, has been lovingly restored in recent years and houses a small folklore museum and a very sparsely furnished monastery cell in the old style. A few old icons from the 18th/19th century are also on display. You can also see the classroom of a secret school from Ottoman times, where Greek children received lessons from monks and priests.

From the access road to the monastery, the 1500 m long path to Aspri Limni is signposted. A natural rock pool about 20 to 25 m in diameter and a coarse sandy beach about 70 m long await the visitor. The rock edges here are razor sharp. Therefore, sturdy bathing shoes are indispensable for splashing around! Depending on how you count, you will see about 12 to 20 palm trees of the endemic Cretan variety in the immediate vicinity, as they grow in large numbers in Vai and Preveli.

But now finally to Elafonissi! Until the 1990s, this beach was still quite lonely and could only be reached by boat from Paleochora or via a dusty track from Chrissoskalitissa.

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