THE MOST POPULAR BEACH

No matter what you hear about blue waters, pink and white sand, the enchanting scenery of Crete, about clear waters and exotic colours, it will not even begin to describe what you will actually face when you come to the beach of Elafonisi in Kissamos. The water of the sea is of every hue of blue. In several spots where the wave breaks the sand has a special pink hue, a unique characteristic of this unusual beach.

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Elafonisi is not just an island of seductive beauty. The island, a pole of attraction for hundreds of thousands of tourists from every corner of the world, has another particularity, as you can get to it…on foot. Elafonisi is located on south-westernmost end of Chania in Crete and it has a very distinct beach of unique colours and beauty.

Responsible for the pink sand are the broken shells, and in particular the microscopic crustacean that complete their life cycle and die, leaving behind their bright red shells that stay in the water and are crushed in the sand, giving the beach this unique characteristic that is a point of reference for the whole of Crete.

A few words about the history of area:

At the highest point of the island there is an inscription honouring the memory of a tragic event. More specifically, on Easter Sunday on April 24, 1824, several hundred Greeks, mainly women and children were slaughtered in Elafonisi by Ottoman soldiers. To escape the advancing Turkish-Ottoman forces, forty armed men had taken refuge to the island together with women, children and elderly men, where they waited for the boat that would transport them to the Ionian Islands. The Ottoman soldiers had decided to camp on the beach across Elafonisi. One of their horses crossed the shallow waters that separate the island from main Crete and the people hiding there were discovered. According to several sources there were between 640 to 850 people on the island, most of whom were slaughtered, and the remaining survivors were sold in the slave markets of Egypt.

The shipwreck of Imperatrix:

A large wooden cross honours the memory of a shipwreck that happened on the 22nd of February 1907. It was an Österreichischer Lloyd passenger steam boat, known by the name of Imperatrix. Due to strong north western winds, 38 people lost their lives in a life boat while attempting to reach the shore. They were all buried on the island. The Imperatrix is still at the bottom of the sea in front of the rocks of the island and it was the reason a lighthouse was erected on a hill of the island.

The lighthouse was destroyed during the World War II by the German occupying forces.

Every summer, the Lafonisi Run takes place (as part of the activities with the name of Lafonisia) which is the only run in Greece that finishes…in the sea. You can find more information about the Lafonisi Run on the events calendar.

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