Attractions & Activities
The area of Elafonisi is a paradise for hikers, featuring some of the most scenic route in the E4 trail that crosses Crete. The best routes are from Elafonisi to Kedrodasos and from Kedrodasos to Krios Lake. As parts of the trail are through rugged coastline, you should wear appropriate shoes.
The area of Elafonisi beach is perfect for wind surfing and kite surfing, and attracts many water sports enthusiasts every year. In the Elafonisi area there is a wind surfing and a kite surfing school, where you can take classes and rent equipment.
Voulolimni is another picturesque natural lake-like lagoon located close to Chrisoskalitissa Monastery, in a distance of 1 km north of Aspri Limni. It is in fact one of the finest salt-water natural pools in Greece, and a rocky beach that also offers seclusion.
Aspri Limni (meaning “white lake” in Greek) is another superb beach in a distance of 5 km north from Elafonisi, and very close to Chrisoskalitissa Monastery. It is a fine beach with clear blue water, white sand, and scattered rocks, that lie among marvelous palm trees and cedar trees. Its characteristic name comes from the fact that the rocks in the beach form a natural lake-like lagoon that is very scenic and protected from the winds. As it is less frequented than the other beaches in the area (including, of course the amazing Elafonisi beach), it is a good choice for visitors who want more seclusion.
In a distance of about 2 km east from Elafonisi Beach & Island (through the E4 hiking trail), and also protected by Natura 2000, is the amazing beach of Kedrodasos (meaning “cedar grove” in Greek). The beautiful, centuries-old cedar trees, form the perfect backdrop for this exquisite beach with the crystal-clear, azure water, and the wonderful white sand. If you like hiking, and swimming in pristine beaches, the area of Kedrodasos may very well be an experience of a lifetime.
Located just a few kilometres from Elafonisi beach, Chrisoskalitissa is a picturesque monastery with a timeless charm. The monastery is built on a hill overlooking the rugged coastline of the area, providing great view to the southwestern sea of Crete.
The long name “Chrisoskalitissa” is in Greek the short composite word for “Virgin of the Golden Stair”. According to the legend, when the Ottomans conquered Crete, the nuns hid the golden treasures of the monastery underneath a stair in the long staircase in its entrance, to protect them from the invading army. The “golden stair”, as it was called, gave its name to the monastery.
The monastery features excellent, centuries-old architecture, and is one of the landmarks of Southwest Crete. It is also a historic monastery, as its name has been associated with the Cretan struggle for independence through the centuries.
When visiting the small church inside the monastery, don’t forget to admire the hagiography of “Kimisis tis Theotokou” (“Assumption of Mary”), as it is estimated that it was created 1.000 years ago.