Elafonisos (Elafonissos) is a small inhabited island very close to the south part of Peloponnese
. The place is known for its azure blue water and the popular Simos
beach which is present in almost all top rankings of Greek beaches. Many people come to the island for a one-day trip but there are also hotels and studios to stay. One should not confuse it with another island of the same name which is near the shore of Crete
In the past Elafonisos used to be a peninsula and the ancient town of Pavlopetri connected it with the mainland. About 1000 B.C. Pavlopetri was submerged into the sea after an earthquake and thus the island of Elafonisos appeared. Today Pavlopetri is considered the oldest submerged ancient town as it dates back to 5 000 years ago. Although the ruins are close to the shore, they are under the sea and not visible. From the ferry, on the way to Elafonisos, one can spot some traces of a road at the bottom of the sea which lead to the ruins.
It takes only 25-30 min to get to Elafonisos by ferry which departs from the port of Pounta, Lakonia. The ferry travels every day and every one or few hours (depending on the season). Elafonisos also has its own ferry which connects it with Pounta every day so you have many options to travel in different hours. Both ferries take cars as well. Elafonisos spreads on 20 square kilometers and distances are close, it is easy to travel around it.
The island has one main village with the same name and one more smaller settlement called Kato Nisi. Elafonisos village has a port where the ferries arrive and a small promenade with seafront tavernas and cafes. The village beach, Kontogoni, is small but protected from wind and it has fine sand. Kato Nisi is really small and hard to be called a village but it also has some hotels and rooms to rent around its beach called Panagia
. Elafonisos is often exposed to winds and it has kite surf school. Kite surfing is possible in the north part of the island during summer, and in the south part (Simos) during winter.
The famous Simos beach with the huge sandy dunes lies in the southeast coast of Elafonisos, 5 km away from the village. Just before you reach Simos, you will find the tiny and quiet beach of Lefki
, with the same color of the sea. The second largest beach of Elafonisos is Panagia beach in Kato Nisi and the small Kalogeros is next to Elafonisos village.