Elafonissi & Chrisoskalitissa

elafonissi - the exotic lagoon

An amazing beach and captivating landscape; this idyllic lagoon with the pink sand and the green-blue waters is visited by thousands of tourists every summer. And not in vain since it truly is a dreamlike destination. The water here is so shallow that you can walk to the opposite isle.

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The Lagoon of Elafonissi

There is nothing here to remind you that in April 24, 1824 Imbraim's soldiers slaughtered 40 fighters and 600 women and children, except for a marble slab on the top of the island.

On the way to ParadiseShades of GreenMore Shades of GreenJunipers
Pink SandShades of PinkShallow WatersFlowers in the sand
Path in ElafonissiPool in ElafonissiTomb in ElafonissiSand Art in Elafonissi

Elafonissi is located on the extreme southwest corner of Crete and the island is 100 m from the coastline. There are sun beds and umbrellas on the beach and a couple of canteens.

Elafonissi Colors

The best time to visit is after 4 in the afternoon when the excursion buses have left. A well developed asphalted road leads almost directly to the beach.

On the way to Elafonissi, perched on a rock is the impressively located Monastery of Chrisoskalitissa, which was built relatively recently (in the 19th century); a beautiful building with an amazing view.Legend has is that one of its 90 steps is of pure gold.

However, only one with a pure heart is able to see it.

The MonasteryStairway to HeavenThe DoorThe Chapel

Like many monasteries on the south coast, Chrisoskalitissa was also a place of refuge for allied soldiers who were evacuated from there to Egypt during the Second World War.

… I recalled Our Lady of Chrisoskalitissa, a Cretan monastery suspended high above the Libyan Sea.

What a day that was, what a tender spring sun and how the sea shone and washed against Barbary.

And the spry, stumpy abbot with a forked white beard and a moustache twirled like a fighter’s was full of merriment.

His mind sparkled. He took us around and showed monks’ graves in the cemetery.

Dug into the rock, above the sea.

When the sea was stormy, it sprayed the black wooden crosses, and all the names that had been carved on them had been worn away.

I did not like promenading among the graves, and made as if to go back.

The abbot seized me by the arm, squeezed it; it was painful. "Come on, my young gallant," he said to me, "don’t be afraid.

They say man is the animal that ponders death.

No, I tell you.

Man is the animal that ponders immortality.

Come and see!"

He stood before a grave, empty.

"Here is yours, don’t be afraid, you lot, come nearer.

It’s still empty, but it won’t be for long."

He cackled.

He had hewn it out of the rock with a pickaxe and had even prepared the tombstone.

"Look at what I’ve carved on it," he shouted at us, "Bend down, then, don’t be afraid, I tell you, and read it."

He knelt down, brushed the dirt off the carved letters, and read out: "Hey, I’m not afraid of you, Death!"

He looked at us, and even his ears shook with laughter. "Why should I be afraid of the rascal? He’s just a mule, I’ll climb on his back and he will take me to God."

(Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco)