SPECIAL FEATURED BEACH REPORT by Sunlover
Elafonissi is situated in the southwest corner of Crete at the end of a winding road through the mountainous centre of the island. There are no large towns nearby and few places to stay so its remoteness adds to the expected tranquillity of the place. However despite this, don't be surprised to find that a considerable number of other people have made the journey in search of the same thing. When we visited it towards the end of the season in late September we were at first disappointed to find that it was still quite busy and even had several tour buses in the car park.
The main beach is a broad stretch of clean, golden sand covered by neat rows of sun beds and colourful umbrellas with a few small cafes situated to the rear of the beach. "No chance of an all over tan here", my wife said to me, but we decided to explore anyway and walked past the sun bed attendants, each of whom assured us that theirs were by far the best to be had. The most unusual aspect of the beach is that you can wade out to what could best be described as a desert island which is separated from the main beach by about 50 metres of shallow sea so we followed a few like minded souls and waded through the warm water. Once there we might have been a thousand miles from the organised sunbathing area a short paddle away. The centre of the island consists mainly of low dunes covered in flowering plants and bushes none of which we were familiar with, but if you keep to the edge of the sea, it's broken up into numerous little bays separated by low, rocky outcrops. The sand is fine and generally golden but if you look carefully it's speckled with red where grains from the Libyan desert have blown across the hundred miles or so of Mediterranean to Crete.
There were fewer people here but all seemed to be clothed to a certain extent except for one or two girls who'd discarded their bikini tops, so we'd resigned ourselves to having to remain at least partly clothed too. However after a few minutes walk we passed a couple lying at the top of the beach, the man in swimming shorts but his female companion nude, albeit on her front partially hidden beside him. Suitably encouraged, we walked on a little way and came across two more naked girls more openly wading out for a swim together although again unusually their male companions were wearing shorts. "Strange", we thought, "maybe it's a female only nude beach."
The next bay was completely deserted and, as we were by then tired of walking and the sea looked so inviting, we decided to strip off anyway and go for a swim to cool off, although I have to admit that we cautiously spread our beach towels discretely in the dunes as we had heard that occasionally the Greek police will arrest unsuspecting nudists who aren't on one of the designated beaches. However we needn't have worried for as soon as we'd stretched out in the sun, first one couple walked by then stopped and looked round uncertainly as we'd done before shedding their clothes, to be followed by another couple who did the same. Eventually our little bay was playing host to several nude sun lovers either lying on the soft sand or swimming naked in the lagoon formed by the rocks on either side. A few clothed people continued to walk by and eye the scenery all afternoon but it was never busy and the peace and natural beauty of our desert island more than overcame the occasional sightseer.
After a few hours of bliss, and as the sun sank past its zenith, a cold beer beckoned and we reluctantly put what few clothes we had bought with us back on, smiled and said goodbye to the couple who'd been sunbathing nude a few yards away down the beach and walked back to the land of the clothed. We'd thoroughly recommend Elafonissi even though it's not a designated nudist beach and you will have to tolerate a few voyeurs. As we've already said though, the sheer beauty and tranquillity of the place if you can get away from the crowds, the warm water and clean sand makes it well worth a visit. The main drawback might be that it will probably be overly busy in the high season.
Submitted by Sunlover, (October 2005)