In the southern Peloponnese, there is a place plucked from a dream: Elafonisos, an exotic island of just 19 sq km, like one long stretch of paradise. Once here, you can forget about the rest of the world. The only thing you’ll need is a sarong, a sun hat and sunscreen, because life here (day and night) happens on the beach – on the pure white sand, in the translucent turquoise water, in the shade of the cedars and under the clear blue sky and the bright sun. Your imagination dances along the infinite horizon and, like just about everyone that comes here for a beach holiday, you will want to stay forever … a castaway on Elafonisos.
What to do on Elafonisos
As soon as you cross the Strait of Elafonisos, with its shallow water, you enter another world. Here, you don’t need trendy accessories or a stylish appearance. A few sarongs, a couple of T-shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, a sun hat and a snorkelling mask will do. The exotic beach of Simos, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, awaits you. Two majestic bays serve up fine white sand and emerald water, and a rare cedar forest that spreads out along the sand dunes.
The great outdoors
Back in the day, Megalos (Large) Simos was a naturalist beach and campers lived here entirely, well, naturally. In the last few years, the picture has changed. Now, just a few metres from the sea, you can spend your holidays at the organised camping ground, which combines the purity of nature with modern comforts.
A leisurely stroll
A stroll along the coastal road consists of a stop for seafood and a glass (or two) of ouzo at the port, while you watch the fishing boats bob gently in the calm water. It is ideal for relaxation and convivial conversation. The village is just what’s needed to complete the image you’ve created of a holiday in Greece. Then at the end of a perfect day, filled with idyllic imagery and exotic beaches, you’ll savour the sights and sounds of a truly authentic Greece!
Tastes of the sea
As a true ‘fish island’, Elafonisos has a cuisine that is a glorious symbiosis of freshly caught seafood, locally grown produce and lovingly adapted recipes. Enjoy a taste of the sea with a backdrop of the endless blue horizon.
Hidden gems of Elafonisos
The beach on Kato Nisi
Elafonisos aspires to surprise you: A second beach, just as beautiful as Simos, is located on Kato Nisi (the Lower Island). There you will find the old church of The Virgin Mary, looking out at the sea.
Ahoy there, matey!
This island used to be a base for pirates and buccaneers in the 16th and 17th centuries, since the Strait of Elafonisos was on a strategic shipping route. Today it is a primary passage for ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and dozens of boats cross it daily.
A sunken city in the southern Peloponnese
To add a little extra depth to your delight, an ancient underwater settlement awaits you on Elafonisos. It’s called Pavlo Petri and is situated between Pounta and the Pavlopetri islet. The water has kept much of the structure of this sunken marvel intact – buildings, roads and squares are all still in evidence. There’s even a cemetery with 60 graves to the northeastern of the city! Research is ongoing to try to shed yet more light on this rare archaeological find.