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Elafonissos

An Island in the Peloponessos

Beach in Elafonissos

One of the least known of the Greek islands is Elafonissos, located in the Lakonikos Kolpos.

Where?

The Lakonikos Kolpos or the Bay of Laconia is between the two eastern tips of the Peloponessos, just north of the island of Kythira. To get to Elafonissos you drive to the town of Neapolis, then go back a few kilometers to the village of Vingliafa where there are two small ferries which go back and forth continuously to the island. The island was a peninsula in ancient times and the sandy isthmus which separates it from the Peloponessos is only a few feet underwater which is why the sea has the remarkably alluring color that makes you want to leap off the ferry boat on the 10 minute journey there.

Elafonissos island does not have the spectacular beauty of its island cousins in the Cyclades chain. But it is surrounded by the most beautiful turquoise seas and has some of the finest and longest sandy beaches in Greece. The port town may remind you of a smaller more Spartan version of Aegina, with a line of seafood tavernas and a few rooms to rent and summer houses. Many Athenians who have yachts and cabin cruisers come here on weekends for barbounia and because of that prices are a little higher than what you will pay in a beach taverna somewhere in the Peloponessos.

Simos beach may be the best beach in Greece with soft white sand and clean blue water. One of the few beaches in Greece where camping is allowed. Well maybe it is not allowed but people do it anyway, pitching their tents among the dunes and trees and giving the area a sort of hippy or gypsy feeling to it. All the beaches on Elefonissos have a tropical look and feel to them and the cantinas play as much latin as Greek music. Besides the beaches there is not much to see on the island and besides being on the beach there is not much to do besides eat and drink. But the snorkeling is terrific, the barbounia at Psarotaverna Ntagiantas were delicious and I even allowed myself a glass of ouzo before our drive to Gythion.

You can find rooms in the town though in my opinion it is also the kind of place that is nice to visit as a day trip from Gythion or Monemvasia with your rental car. Unless of course you are a budget-conscious back-packer looking for somewhere to hopefully pitch your tent for free. (You didn't hear it from me). If you are driving around the Peloponessos this is certainly worth the time to visit for a day, especially if you have kids. For an economical hotel in a quiet but central location see the inexpensive Estella Studios or check Booking.com's Elafonissos Pages

The town of Neapolis to the south is not spectacular and you won't even find it in the guidebooks with the exception of David Willet's Peloponessos Guide, and he had nothing nice to say about it. But I thought it was a place that I would return to and get more familiar with. It had a lively port area, where most people catch the ferry to Kythira, a number of non-touristy and inexpensive ouzeries and fish restaurants and an unspoiled atmosphere. It is not quaint nor is it charming or photogenic. It is the kind of place where after a few ouzos everybody is your friend.

Elafonissos and Neapolis are around 5 hours drive from Athens, an hour from Monemvasia and a little over an hour from Gythion. Elafonissos or Elafonissis should not be confused with the island of the same name off the southwest coast of Crete.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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See more of Matt's Greece Photos

Helpful Travel Information

You can click to search hotels in Elefonissos or you can click to search hotels in nearby Neapolis
For more 
Hotels in the Peloponessos see www.hotelsofgreece.com/peloponessos or contact Fantasy Travel at www.fantasytravelofgreece.com or use Booking.com's Peloponessos Hotel Search
The best way to get to Elefonisos is by rental car or by taxi though there are buses to Neapolis where there is a ferry that goes to and from the island of Kythera and
Crete.
For transfers by
taxi from Athens see www.greecetravel.com/taxi
For
car rentals see www.greektravel.com/swift

Return to Peloponessos Guide