For Caribbean-like white sands shelving into a multi-hued turquoise sea, this speck of an island is a beach lover's dream.
Remote and difficult to get to, we can arrange stays here as part of a touring fly drive itinerary or, with a car, combined with any of our Peloponnese resorts.
Not to be confused with the better known Elafonissi in western Crete, Elafonissos lies just off the south eastern shore of the Peloponnese and measures just 19 sq. kms. Outside Greece it is little known, being far from an international airport or mainstream holiday area (the closest airport is Kalamata, a 3 hour drive). But the island is far from unknown to the mainland Greeks, who come in numbers at weekends and during Greek holiday periods (August is definitely to be avoided!). Why? For the simple reason that Elafonissos is home to a pair of beaches that regularly appear on 'best in Greece' lists.
This is no idle claim. Both Simos and Panagia (aka Kato nisi) beaches are long and wide, with near-white sand shelving into turquoise-hued water offering safe, sheltered swimming. They are organised with sun beds available, but also plenty of space for those who prefer their own towel. Thankfully there is no major development behind these beaches - Simos in particular has a protected area of sand dunes - although there is a sprinkling of chilled cafe-bars.
Very frequent ferries shuttle every 30 to 60 minutes from the small mainland harbour of Pounta, take only 10 minutes and cost just €11 per car plus €1 per person in 2023. Prebooking is not possible and so there are likely to be some queues at busy times. The ferry docks at the only village on the island, also called Elafonissos. The village has a large working harbour, home to a substantial fishing fleet and overlooked by a photogenic little church. There is a perfectly good sandy beach to one side for those who don't wish to travel out to the star names, which are a few kilometres out of town.
The harbour is lined with cafes, small shops, ice cream places and tavernas, which together engender a buzzing Greek holiday atmosphere in the evenings.
En route to or from Elafonissos we recommend you take your snorkelling gear and explore the oldest submerged town in the world… 5,000 years of history beneath you. Pavlopetri is directly opposite the island, just off the beach and next to Pounta where the ferries go from.
The submerged town, covering over two acres, lies 3m to 4m beneath the waves. You are not allowed to scuba dive here, but to snorkel is thrilling!