ELAFONISI - ELAFONISSI. When you travel by car, bus or scooter coming from Chania you will follow a winding narrow road in the mountains leading towards the south west coast,and you will arrive in Elafonisi (73 km from Chania city). Elafonisi is a small island about 150 meters from the coast. On both the island and the mainland are beautiful beaches. Many people find these the most beautiful beaches on Crete. It is an area with sandy hills, here the water between the island and the coast is very shallow and there are all kinds of shells that sometimes give a certain silvery colour on the sea. On the side of the mainland there is a huge cedar forest that reaches the beach. Here is also a large parking lot for cars.
In Elafonisi many important historical events have happened in the past; Here In 1824 a great drama took place , the Turks murdered all the villagers who had fled to the island. A monument in memory of the murdered villagers can be seen on the island. There is also a monument in the memory of the drowning of the Austrian ship Imperatrix in 1907. Imperatrix was a passenger and freighter ship sailing from Trieste to Yemen Bombay and via the Suez Canal. On May 22, 1907 it crashed against the rocks at Elafonisi and capsized. Out of the 140 passengers, 40 died and the others were rescued by the monks of the monastery Chrisoskalitisa.
Chrisoskalitisa monastery at Elafonisi
The Monastery of Chrisoskalitisa,is located five kilometers north of Elafonisi. The monastery was named after its 90 steps (Skala), True" believers claim to see a golden stair (= Chrisi Skala, hence Chrisoskalitisa) when walking up the stairs. The monastery is built on top of a rock which has an excellent view across the whole area.
Tip for visiting Elafonisi
Get up early and make sure you arrive on time at the beach in Elafonisi, because in the summer it is full of people at this beautiful white sand beach. It is nice to take photos and enjoy the beauty of the beach. you will have the best chance of success and fun when you get there very early in the morning.
Text: Yorgos and Wendy Nikolidakis - Revised by Maxine van Hoften