How to get to Elafonisi beach

How to get to Elafonisi beach

Elafonisi Beach, nestled in the southwest of Chania, stands out as a gem in Crete. Many rank it among the world’s top beaches. It’s celebrated for its pink sand, turquoise waters, and vast sandy shores, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Crete. In this article, we’ll explore how to get to Elafonisi Beach. We will delve into various transportation options such as cars, buses, taxis, hiking routes, and of course, boat tours. Armed with local tips, you’ll be able to choose your perfect mode of transport to this remarkable beach.


Transportation Options to Elafonisi Beach

There are four main ways to visit Elafonisi Beach when in Crete. By car (whether it’s your own, a rental, a taxi, or a private van), by bus, by boat from Chania Ports and Paleochora (either private or semi-private), or through a combination of these transportation methods with hiking.

Let’s dive into each method in detail in the following sections! If you’ve already decided on your preferred mode of transport, feel free to jump directly to the section you’re interested in from our table of contents!

Driving to Elafonisi beach

Located at the southwestern tip of Crete, Elafonisi is quite a distance from most major cities. It’s quite the trek, even from Chania! Planning to visit from Heraklion, Rethymnon, or Sitia? Brace for a day-long adventure, morning to night.

If you’re far, like near Heraklion, Sitia, or Lasithi, why not stay overnight somewhere in the Chania region? You can also see Chania’s Old Port. To skip the long drive, consider a taxi or private transfer.

Starting near Chania? Mix it up with exploring Chania’s other renowned or hidden beaches, or a drive through Chania’s villages.


elafonisi pink beach_Crete_by boat_seazetheday

Estimated Travel Distances

Check out the table below for routes, distances, and travel times from different Crete spots. We’ve compiled both the faster route and an alternative route that offers scenic views close to Falasarna and the west coast. The driving times are estimated to reflect the quickest possible journey without traffic and a longer duration, considering potential summer traffic slowdowns.

Starting Location

Road Distance Driving Time   Google Maps Route Alternative Route


70 km 1h 20m -2h View Map 

View Map 

Kolymvari 50 km 1h 10m – 1h 45m View Map

View Map 


40 km 55m – 1h 20m View Map

View Map 


55 km 1h 10m -1h 30m View Map

View Map 


180 km 2h 15m – 2h 50m View Map

View Map 


210 km 3h 15m -4h View Map

View Map 

Agios Nikolas (Elounda)

290 km 4h – 5h View Map

View Map 


350 km 4h 45m View Map

View Map 

Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.


Road Map: The Fastest Route from Chania to Elafonisi Beach.

Parking Adjustments 2024

The new parking rules that started in 2023 are still in place for 2024. Cars can no longer drive up to Elafonisi Beach directly. You’ll find two designated parking spots nearby.

Parking Option

Distance to Beach (Walking) Time to Walk Price Per Day Google Maps Location Amenities
Elafonisi Mega Place 650 meters ~8-10 minutes 5 euros Check location


Lafonisi Parking

850 meters ~12-15 minutes 5 euros Check location


Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.

How to Reach the Beach

  • From these parking areas, there’s a pathway leading to the beach, about 600-800 meters away. It’s an easy walk that gets you ready for a relaxing time on the beach.

Special Exceptions

  • Emergency services, like ambulances and fire trucks, have direct access to the beach in case they’re needed.
  • There are plans to use electric vehicles to help visitors with mobility issues get to the beach easily and in comfort. But, this hasn’t started yet. Right now, people with disabilities and families with little kids can go in with their cars. Things may change, and we’ll share news as soon as we have it, especially about what happens when the beach season begins.

Walking Path from Elafonisi Parking Area to the Main Beach

Getting to Elafonisi with the Public Bus

Traveling to Elafonisi from Chania is conveniently possible via public buses. Departing from Chania’s main public bus station (open in google maps), the buses set off promptly at 9:00 AM daily and embark on the return journey from Elafonisi at 4:00 PM.

The trip duration is slightly over two hours. Therefore, if you’re coming from locations other than Chania, it’s crucial to ensure you arrive at the bus station well in time to catch the bus to Elafonisi.

To avoid any delays, you might want to check the public bus timetables in advance or opt for a taxi service to reach the bus station punctually. For detailed information on arranging taxi services, kindly refer to the taxi service section within our blog.

Moreover, for those positioned nearer to Elafonisi, skipping the trip to Chania’s bus station could be a practical option:

By visiting, you can discover if there’s a bus stop closer to your location that offers a more direct journey to Elafonisi. Just type the address of your hotel, villa, or apartment, and you will see the closest bus stop and if it goes to Elafonisi.

This alternative is especially beneficial for travelers stationed between Chania and Elafonisi. Nevertheless, it remains essential to double-check all pertinent information and arrive early, ensuring you don’t miss the bus.

For the most accurate departure and return times, please refer to the official Chania public bus website, as changes may occur. Additionally, be aware that bus services to Elafonisi are not available year-round. It’s also useful to call the information line for up-to-date details.

The pink color of Elafonisi’s sand, created by Foraminifera shellfish shells, is most visible in specific spots near the waterline. While not the entire beach is pink, these areas offer a unique and changing view with the sunlight.

Adjusted Bus Timetable for Elafonisi and Inter-City Connections


Start Time Duration Estimated Arrival Price (€)


Heraklion to Chania

05:30 AM 2h 45m 08:15 AM 16 Early service, allows for connection to Elafonisi bus
Rethymno to Chania* 07:00 AM 1h 15m 08:15 AM 7

Timed for connecting with Elafonisi bus (weekdays*)

Chania to Elafonisi

09:00 AM 2h 11:00 AM 15 Direct service, operates in peak season
Elafonisi to Chania 04:00 PM 2h 06:00 PM 15

Return service, direct

Chania to Rethymno

07:30 PM 1h 15m 08:45 PM 7.10 Convenient for returning day-trippers from Rethymno
Chania to Heraklion 07:30 PM 2h 40m 10:10 PM 16

Suitable for travelers based in Heraklion 

Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.

Important Notes (as of February 2024):

  • Schedule Verification: Always check the latest bus schedules on the official KTEL websites before finalizing your travel plans.
  • Heraklion to Chania: For this route, online ticket booking is available at KTEL Heraklion-Lasithi S.A..
  • Other Routes & Elafonisi Services: For booking inter-city routes and trips to Elafonisi, use KTEL Chania-Rethymno S.A. for online ticket purchases.
  • Rethymno to Chania Weekend Service*: The current start time on weekends from Rethymno to Chania is 8:00 AM, making it challenging to catch the 9:00 AM bus to Elafonisi. Please consult the website closer to your travel date for the most accurate timing.
  • Advance Booking: It’s advisable to book your tickets ahead of time, particularly in the tourist high season, to secure your seat.
  • Weekend and Holiday Schedules: Be aware that service times may vary on weekends and holidays compared to regular weekday schedules.


Hassle-Free Guided Bus Tours

For those seeking a more relaxed journey without the hassle of arranging transportation, several tourist operators offer guided bus transfers from Chania to Elafonisi. After thorough research and considering customer feedback, we recommend exploring options on Viator and GetYourGuide. These platforms feature a variety of guided bus tours, each with detailed itineraries and reviews to help you make an informed decision. We strongly advise reviewing these to ensure the tour meets your expectations and needs before booking.

To assist you further, here are links to the top-rated guided bus tours from various starting points:

From Chania:

From Rethymno:

From Heraklion:

Private Van Transfers and Taxi Services to Elafonisi

For travelers looking for a special touch, especially small groups or families, there’s a good choice. Private van tours are offered from Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion.

The best part is the convenience. They can pick you up right from where you’re staying, like a hotel, villa, or apartment. So, if you’re not in the city center, it’s okay.

Moving on to other options, taxi services are also available. These are great for one-way trips or going and coming back. To help you with planning, we have some average prices for these services.

Keep in mind, the cost can change. It depends on how fancy the van is and how many people are with you. Taxi prices also vary if you’re going just one way or returning.

In short, whether you go for a private van tour or use a taxi service, both make getting from your place to your destination easier. This way, you can enjoy your trip to Elafonisi without any hassle.

Private Van & Taxi Rates 2024

Service Type

From Location To Elafonisi Price Range for 1-4 Price Range for 5-8

Private Van Tour

Chania Round-Trip $350 – $500 $500 – $750
Rethymno Round-Trip $500 – $750

$600 – $850

Heraklion Round-Trip $600 – $850 $750 – $1200
Taxi (One Way) Chania One-Way $100 – $120

$150 – $180

Rethymno One-Way $170 – $190 $220 – $250
Heraklion One-Way $220 – $250

$280 – $320

Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.

  • Research Date: Conducted in February 2024.
  • Destination: Transportation pricing to Elafonisi from Chania, Rethymno, and Heraklion.
  • Data Sources: Includes information from local service providers, international companies with online pricing, and standard taxi rates from reputable pages for Rethymno and Heraklion, enhanced by insights from our partners.
  • Pricing: Reflects average market rates for 2024, serving as a comprehensive guide for travelers.
  • Note: Prices are subject to change and may vary over time, reflecting current market conditions.

Useful Links – References

Local Taxi Rates:

International Providers:

Private Tours by Local Providers:

Please Note: The links provided above are for your reference and convenience. While we strive to offer helpful and reliable resources, please be aware that we are not directly affiliated with these service providers and, as such, cannot guarantee the quality or accuracy of the services offered. We recommend conducting your own research and reading reviews to ensure that you make well-informed decisions best suited to your travel needs and preferences.


Hiking & Trail Routes to Elafonisi beach

First off, if you’re someone who enjoys the beauty of nature and likes to stay active during vacations, takingthe trail from Krios to Elafonisi(This route is part of the E4 European long distance path) is a fantastic choice. Now, this isn’t just about reaching a beach; it’s about uncovering hidden gems along the way. You’ll be walking on a variety of terrains – think rocks, sand, and amidst beautifully fragrant wild plants.

Discoveries Along the Way

As you journey, you’ll come across some truly serene beaches, like Viena and Kedrodasos, not to mention a few secret bays that are off the radar for most. In total, the path stretches about 9.5 km (one way) and will take you roughly 4 hours. So, it’s challenging but absolutely worth the adventure!

Kedrodasos Beach, a hidden gem surrounded by a cedar forest, is a stunning beach you’ll encounter on the trail from Krios to Elafonisi.

What to Bring

Remember, good walking-trail shoes are key. They’ll make your walk comfortable and enjoyable. Also, don’t forget to pack plenty of water, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the sun. After all, staying hydrated and protected is crucial.

Navigating Your Way to Krios beach

Starting at Krios Beach

To get going, you can drive straight to Krios (open in google maps), where the trail starts. Keep in mind, if you take your car, you’ll need to loop back to pick it up. So, planning ahead is essential.

For those with a passion for walking and seeking to extend their adventure, the trail can begin from Palaiochora. This initial segment adds another 9km, translating to approximately 2 to 2.5 hours of walking, and takes you along a route close to the sea. It’s important to be mindful of sun exposure, as this part of the path offers little to no shade.


This photo is a Google Maps screenshot illustrating the direct route from Chania to Krios.

A Quick Taxi Ride from Palaiochora

Alternatively, you could start your journey from Palaiochora (open location in google maps), a charming fishing village. From there, a quick taxi ride (we’re talking about 20 minutes) will get you to Krios Beach, ready to start your hike.

Check out: local taxi service in Palaiochora

Navigating Your Way Back

Boating Back in Style

After enjoying your hike, why not return via boat? Chat with local boat tour companies beforehand to arrange your ride back to Palaiochora. It’s a great way to ensure you have a set plan for your return. Just make sure to align your hiking time with the boat schedule, or book a boat that fits your end time.

Local Boat Transfer Options:

  1. Palaiochora discover
  2. Paleochora boat trip

Please Note: The boat transfer options are for informational purposes only. We recommend checking recent reviews to select the service that suits your needs.


This photo displays the map of the E4 European path stretching from Elafonisi to Krios, highlighting the route adventurers are to follow. Please keep an eye out for the distinctive black and yellow marks along the way to guide your journey.

The Taxi Option

Lastly, for a hassle-free journey, you might consider taking a taxi both to Krios to start your hike and then from Elafonisi for your return. This approach ensures a smooth trip to and from your hiking adventure, offering the easiest and most straightforward option, even though it might cost a bit more.



Mode of Transport Distance Estimated Time Estimated Cost
Chania to Krios Taxi 80 km 1h 30min – 1h 45min

€120 – €140 (approximately)

Krios to Elafonisi

Hiking 9.1 km 4 – 5  hours Free
Elafonisi to Chania Taxi 73 km 1h 30min – 1h 45min

€100 – €120 (up to 4 people)

Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.

  • The table details the route Chania – Krios – Elafonisi – Chania, highlighting taxi transfers ideal for hikers.
  • The estimated prices are based on data collected from reputable internet pages as of February 2024.
  • For more detailed information, including the latest rates and a broader range of transportation options, we encourage you to visit the section Private Van Transfers and Taxi Services to Elafonisi on our website. This section offers useful links and pricing information for services from various destinations.


Savor Every Moment

Throughout your hike, take the opportunity to really soak in the surroundings. Whether it’s pausing to snap photos, observing local wildlife, or simply enjoying the scenic views, each moment adds to the richness of your experience. Remember, the journey itself is just as important as the destination.


The photo depicts the Krios-Elafonisi trail map from, featuring a clickable detailed route with key waypoints and terrain information.


Getting to Elafonisi by Boat

If you’re seeking a fun ride, think splashes under the sun and diving into clear waters. Imagine seeing Elafonisi’s stunning landscapes from the sea. Yes, a boat trip is your ideal summer journey! Picture it: exploring hidden spots along the coast, lounging in the sunlight, enjoying a cool beer, and snorkeling in gorgeous waters.

Moreover, traveling to Elafonisi by boat  guarantees relaxation, exploration, and plenty of joy. This adventure truly embodies the spirit of summer.

Now, let’s dive into how to get to Elafonisi by boat. We’ll discuss departure ports, types of boats, average prices, travel times, and what else you can see on your way there.


From Palaiochora to Elafonisi by Boat

This option is perfect for those vacationing near Palaiochora, or planning a day trip in the area exploring secret beaches and visiting Elafonisi Beach. Two companies offer both private and shared tours on motorboats. The journey from Palaiochora to Elafonisi is about 17 nautical miles. This translates to roughly 45 minutes of cruising. You can opt for a half-day tour (4-5 hours) or a full-day adventure to explore the surroundings.

During your trip, you’ll encounter stunning spots like Vienna and Kedrodasos. However, it’s crucial to check the weather forecast (check weather here) before setting out. The area is known for its strong winds on certain days. We strongly advise against renting a boat without an experienced skipper. The route to Elafonisi has reefs and shallow waters that require careful navigation. Typically, boats depart from the marina of Palaiochora (google maps location) and also from the local dock.


From Chania to Elafonisi by Boat

For those seeking luxury and adventure, a private boat trip from Chania to Elafonisi is a fantastic option. This one-day journey showcases Crete’s stunning beaches, combining exploration with breathtaking views. It’s an experience that transcends the ordinary, offering a deep dive into the region’s beauty in just one extraordinary day.


Why Choose a Private Boat Trip from Chania to Elafonisi?

  1. Skip the Crowds: No need to worry about traffic or finding a parking spot. And, you get to avoid crowded beaches too!
  2. Chill and Enjoy: Relax on the boat, soak in the sun, and enjoy amazing views. There’s plenty of time for walks and sunbathing in peace.
  3. Tasty Treats: When you’re back on the boat, enjoy delicious homemade Cretan snacks and drinks. It’s a great way to cool down and taste something local.
  4. See More Beaches: On your way to Elafonisi, you’ll pass by stunning spots like Balos and Gramvousa, plus some secret beaches only accessible by boat.
  5. Swift and Thrilling: With a speedboat, fast cruising becomes both an efficient beach-hopping experience and an adventure. The dual-engine design ensures a reliable and safe journey, making safety a top priority without compromising the excitement.

*Unique Advantage: If you’re only here for a short while but want to see as much as possible, this boat trip is golden. Covering over 110 nautical miles, it’s the best way to check out Chania’s stunning seascapes all in one day. Perfect for those who want to pack in a ton of beauty without spending days doing it.



Options, Prices, and Comparisons

Below is a comprehensive table that details boat options, departure ports, boat capacities and the respective prices for these exclusive journeys to Elafonisi beach.

Departure Port

Boat Options Capacity Price Per Boat

Chania Old Port

Yachts Up to 10

€3500 – €4500

Cabin Motorboats Up to 6

€2200 – €2700


Up to 8 €1600 – €1800
Kolymvari Cabin Motorboats Up to 6

€2200 – €2700


Up to 8 €1600 – €1800
Kissamos RIBs Up to 8

€1500 – €1700

Mobile Viewing Tip: Scroll horizontally to view all table details.

*Prices are indicative and averaged based on the 2024 current rates in Chania. They may vary depending on boat selection and included extras. All prices are provided as a guide and reflect the current averages for various boat options.


Open deck RIBs and cabin motorboats are the perfect solution for your private cruise to Elafonisi.


Departure Port

Suggested Trip Duration Total Travel Distance

Chania Old Port






Kissamos 7-9h


Final Thoughts

Elafonisi Beach, renowned globally for its pristine beauty, is a must-visit destination on Crete, Greece. We’ve detailed every possible way to reach this slice of paradise, catering to every traveler’s needs. Whether you’re considering factors like your starting point, budget, group size, age, or if you’re traveling with children, we’ve outlined all transportation options for a hassle-free decision-making process.

For those inclined towards a private boat experience, consider SEAze the Day as your guide to Elafonisi. Our local expertise and countless journeys to this beach mean we’re equipped with insider tips, know the hidden gems along the coast, and can tailor the perfect itinerary for you, ensuring a trip where your only task is to enjoy.

And as we bid you farewell, remember: the journey to Elafonisi is not just about reaching a destination, it’s about creating memories that last a lifetime.

Safe travels and may your days be as SEAzing as Elafonisi itself!


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Our suggested Private Boat Tour to Elafonisi