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An ocean of dunes leads to a crystal sea of delight at one of Europe’s most exotic beaches. A Natura 2000 protected area, Elafonisi stretches across a wild oblong peninsula at the southwesternmost tip of Crete. Sea daffodils dot the seascape while the most transparent waters you’ve ever seen kiss the pink beach sands.

Visitors to Elafonisi beach are sometimes awestruck by the stillness of the place. The shallow waters offshore are a wonder, perfect for families with kids since the depth in most areas does not exceed one meter. Loggerhead sea turtles and other rare animals make Elafonisi their home, and the plants are so priceless it is forbidden to remove them. Even the seashells here are out of reach if you respect the law.

As unbelievable as Elafonisi is, the drive to this remote part of Crete is as astounding. Along the 1.5 hours serpentine drive from Chania town, you will take in a magnificent landscape, the lush green of Elos Village, and the imposing cragginess of Topolia Gorge. Even though Elafonisi is isolated from civilization, there are good services, beach umbrellas, shops, lifeguards, and snack bars onshore.

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