Elafonisi (Deer Island) in Greece - Atlas Obscura

Elafonisi (Deer Island)

Inachori, Greece

A small island with shimmering pink sands, home to loggerhead turtles and rare plants.  

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Elafonissi is a nature reserve on the southwest coast of Crete, in the Chania region. The sand shimmers a beautiful pink color thanks to millions of crushed shells, coral, and other pigmented microorganisms.

The waters are shallow enough to wade out to the other islands and explore. There are a few tavernas and beach umbrellas near the car park, but there is plenty of space to wander off and be secluded. Also on the island is a plaque found at its highest point. The plaque honors the women and children massacred by Ottoman soldiers during the Greek War of Independence. 

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to get to Elafonissi is to rent a car. But you can also take the public bus (only in high season), a coach, or even a boat (from Palaiochora).

Be aware that is it forbidden to take any sand from the beach.

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