A rich weekend in Elafonisos

If you think that the reason to make the trip to Elafonisos is just to visit and swim at the award-winning and multi-photographed beach of Simos, then you are wrong! Elafonisos, undoubtedly, is one of the places in Laconia (and Greece in general) that one could describe as a “paradise on earth”. With dream beaches being its trademark, the island is a destination for summer “castaways” who want to enjoy their holidays in an unpretentious and extremely relaxed place.
Its heavenly beaches are among the most famous in the country, while the ecosystem of Elafonisos is so special that it is protected from human activity as a Natura 2000 site. Although it will take you about 4 hours to reach the port of Pounda in the Peloponnese, from where the boats depart for Elafonisos, it is the ideal suggestion for a three-day trip full of beaches, relaxation and good food.
The whole island has an area of 18 square kilometers, 4 small settlements in total and about 750 permanent residents. On the northern tip of the island is Chora, a scattered settlement with traditional and a few more modern houses with beautiful courtyards, well-kept alleys, some accommodation, while the coastal road is full of cafes and taverns. The other three settlements of the island – Kapari just after the port settlement, Lefki with the famous beach of Simos and Kato Nisi with the wonderful beach of Panagia – are even smaller.

From the coffee to the first dive

The journey from Pounta to the port of Elafonisos takes just 9 minutes. Already from the short route, looking at the seabed from the boat, you understand that here the colors of the sea are no joke. You take your first walk in the small harbor and have a good coffee on the left side of the harbor in the shop «Stin Akri». Overlooking the sea you will taste waffles, crepes, pancakes and fresh juices.

From there it’s time for the first dive of the day. Head down south to the beach of Simos: White fine sand, turquoise waters and high sand dunes at the back. The unique beauty of the landscape, the endemic flora and the rare sand dunes are some of the reasons why Elafonisos was included in the European Natura 2000 network as a protected area. The long beach is always busy and it is worth seeing it early in the morning.


A dip in the sea naturally whets the appetite. You return to the port for fresh fish and seafood at the tavern «Antonis». The distances in Elafonisos are short and it will take you no more than 10 minutes to reach the tavern from Simos beach. Next to the sea the tavern serves whatever the catch of the day has brought out, shrimps, squid, grilled octopus and delicious seafood risotto. Another excellent choice, in a great location, above the beautiful beach of Panagia, is the tavern «The islands of Virgin Mary».here you will taste fresh fish and seafood, as well as delicious stews such as delicious rooster in wine sauce.

Afternoon coffee and evening drink

A few meters down from the fish tavern of «Antonis», you will sit in the «Belle Epoque» for coffee. A café right next to the sea from which you can look out over the blue and relax. If your appetite is for dessert then you will go to «Tramonto», where you will taste fresh and satisfying desserts such as red velvet cake, brioche served with praline, ice cream, grated biscuit and strawberries and crepes with ice roll.
In the evening the date is given at «Mare Nostrum». Well-made cocktails, chill out music and feet dipping in the cool sand, since it is located right in front of Kontogoni beach, near the harbor.

The hidden secrets of the island

Elafonisos has six hiking trails and three cycling routes, despite its small size. So if you are a lover of exploration and adventure, you can see the island inch by inch, discovering its best hidden secrets, such as the cave of Simos, which legend says gave birth to the entire island. The cave is located above the homonymous beach and requires a short climb of about 20 minutes. The view, however, will be rewarding. All of the island’s routes are mapped and included in the Elafonisos topoGuide app.
The most important attraction of Elafonisos, however, is none other than the submerged ancient settlement at Pavlopetri. It is located in the underwater area between the beautiful beach of Pounda and the islet of Pavlopetri, northeast of Elafonisos. It is a unique state of its kind, as its design is still intact today. It is one of the oldest submerged polities in the world and includes intact floor plans of building complexes, streets and courtyards. A mask and a pair of flippers are all you need to get a taste of the magic of an ancient sunken city that is said to have inspired the myth of lost Atlantis.

Where to stay

Stylish and modern rooms with all the amenities are available at the «Double Bay Beach Hotel» and it has the privilege of being very close to Simos Beach. The «Element Hotel» is next to the beach of Panagia and has a nice view, while the «Selinopetra Rooms » are close to the port but in a quiet spot.