Elafonisi is a sandy beach with blue – green waters, located on a distance of about 80 km from the city of Chania. There is a small islet in front of the beach with the same name. The islet is connected to the beach by a shallow reef that allows crossing when the sea is calm. In a certain light the sand has a pink glow caused by a coral. According to a legend, this colour comes from the blood of all the victims of the bloodbath of 1824. At Easter time 1824, 600 mainly older men, women and children had taken refuge on the islet of Elafonisi, protected by 40 armed men, waiting for any passing boats to evacuate them to Greece. The Turks found their hiding place and slaughtered them all. The only thing that reminds this today is a marble slab on the top of the islet.
The wider district of Elafonisi is of special enviromental interest and it is characterised as a "NATURA" area. Here can be found a few endangered species. For the moment two plans of "LIFE" are running. The area is very important to ornithologists since it is the last stop for migrating birds on their way from Europe to Africa. Pinniped Seals and Loggerhead Sea turtles call this part of the world home.
Nearby Elafonisi (in a distance of 5 km), there is the monastery of Panagia Chrysoskalitissa, that the legend has it, only the man without sins is able to see the golden step on the stair of 100 steps.The beach is ideal for scuba diving and sparefishing as well as watersports. There, one can find some mini markets and tavernas. Even if the natural beauty attracts abundant visitors the region does not allocate developed tourist facilities. Elafonisi is one of the most popular beaches in Crete.