Elafonisos is a nineteen square kilometers small island in the deepest south of Greece, and it is part of the beautiful Laconia region. Getting here might not be as fast or straightforward as to other Greek islands- the reward though, at the end of the journey, would be witnessing the closest thing to the Caribbean or Polynesian islands in Europe, while also being surrounded by authentic Mediterranean nature. The fastest way to get here would be to land in the Kalamata airport, then drive to Pounta, and finally catch the ferry boat that in less than fifteen minutes will "teleport" you in this absolute gem of an island. If you can’t find a flight to Kalamata, you’ll then have to drive your way here from wherever you’d be in Greece.
Once on the island, the direction to follow has to be the one for Simos beach. This beach is nothing less than breathtaking; it is undoubtedly worth- flying, driving, sailing for and it is as scenic as it gets: two bays of turquoise, crystal water separated by a strip of land and white dunes with purple cardoons and water lilies protecting it. Luckily for the visitors, right behind the dunes, there is the fully equipped (kitchen, mini market, bar, playgrounds, etc.) Simos Camping. It offers all kinds of accommodations, from a simple tent spot to furnished bungalows as well as a suggestive way-into the beach through the dunes.
Don’t just stop to this beach though. It’ll probably be hard to leave it given the magnetic effect of it, but there are other great locations as well: on the other side of the island there is Panaghia Ta Nisia ( Holy Mary Islands), another great beach with a green water/ sand combo and several islands visible by the shore. Other not disappointing beaches are the sandy Chamochelo, and Lefki, a white, rocky beach protected from the wind- which can flow strong generally in Elafonisos.
Being such a small and remote place, the island, beside the immense natural beauty obviously, does not offer many activities: on the road towards Simos beach there is the only club of Elafonisos, the Akrotiri summer Club, where you can also enjoy drinks, cocktails, and Greek spirits while admiring the sea and the Laconia mountains in distance. The little fishermen village next to the port is where to go to enjoy a healthy dose of fresh fish and typical Greek dishes: along the road by the harbor you’ll find plenty of tavernas and restaurants offering mostly the same menu and plates of the day, according to what was brought back by the fishermen -who will likely dock next to you as you eat your meal.
Inhabited since the Neolithic Age, the earthquake of 375 AD, transformed it from a peninsula to an island. Legend has it that it has been an essential refuge for pirates, thanks to its perfect geographical position and its long sandy coasts. Until 1893, the Strait of Elafonisos was the only maritime route between eastern and western Greece.
Cover picture credits © Fabio Jardelino
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