So often I had heard about the magical sandy beaches of Elafonissos island. Last year we had the chance to make a family road trip through part of the Peloponnese and to visit this magnificent place famed for its sandy coast. Elafonissos has amazing tropical beaches and is very suitable for families with young kids. Here is our experience!
Elafonissos island with kids will be a relaxing holiday. Because Elafonissos island is very small, just 19 square kilometers, on the Southern Eastern tip of the Peloponnese. The distance from the mainland is only 570 meters! In recent years I have been avoiding islands that involve long ferry boat trips with the children and I have only been visiting the ones near Athens. The hassle the big ferry boats, the travel time etc was not very child-friendly to me. But the journey to Elafonissos was different: the ferry boat (there are two of them and to continually go back and forth to the island) was small and it was easy to get on and off with the car.
The price of the ferry boat tickets was 12 Euro in total (4 persons including a large car!) and the journey across takes only 10 minutes. And what a journey it was!
Here you can find up to date ferry boat schedules and prices
Turquoise water, white beaches, clear blue sky. The island was connected with the mainland in ancient times and the sandy isthmus in between Elafonissos and the Peloponnese is very shallow. That is why the water has an amazing turquoise color.
Due to it’s size, Elafonissos is great for families with young children: the distances on the island are small. The port, village, shops and beaches are all nearby. The roads to the beaches are safe to drive and it is easy to find your way around, the sandy beaches have shallow seas and the island overall attracts the more relaxed crowd. All the beaches on Elafonissos island have a tropical look. The two most famous beaches are Simos beach and Kato Nissi beach. They are considered one of the best beaches in Greece. They have soft fine with sand and turquoise clear water changing colors depending of the time of the day.
Both beaches are absolutely perfect for children because of it’s very fine and clean sand, it’s shallow clear water and the lack of loud and busy beach bars. There are beach chairs and umbrella’s on both beaches but there are no showers and no bathroom facilities. At some parts of these stretched-out beaches are lifeguards during the summer months.
Simos beach (pictured above) is located on the south side of the island, a 10 minutes drive from the port. There is plenty of parking space between the sand dunes (here below) and the cedar trees.
We choose the part called Paradise beach. To reach the actual beach, we had to walk a long trail through the sand, impossible for strollers and it may prove a bit difficult for the little ones in the summer heat. We paid 8 Euro for 2 stretchers and a large umbrella. There was some personnel delivering drinks and snacks from the nearby beach bar. In the afternoon the sea at Simos beach got pretty wild. The children loved to play in the waves.
The second famous beach on Elafonissos island, the beach at Kato Nisi, was easier to access as it had a parking right next to the beach. Locals told me that the sea is always calm here, there are no waves.
Where to eat in Elafonissos island with Kids
Although Elafonissos is small, there are plenty of taverns, cafes and ice cream shops – all located in the port or village that is also called Elafonissos. The area is closed for cars in the evening and we were able to make long strolls down the little shops and restaurants. Many children were riding their bicycles at the car free zone at night. There is a little church – the church of Agion Spyridon- it is build on a tiny island and connected with a narrow bridge to the village. The children loved the ducks in the port and there was a small playground. I liked the many taverns with their tables on the beach. While we were still eating – with our feet in the sand – the children were playing next to us.
Elafonissos island has a large fishing fleet and there is plenty of fresh fish available on the island. We ate at the tavern ‘O Ntagiantas’, famous for it’s fresh seafood with saganaki shrimps, fish soup and lobster spaghetti. The fish and lobster were on display right in front of our tables and being prepared on a grill outside. We also ate at : ‘Gyrofolia’, a grill and souvlaki restaurant. Their tables are on the beach of Elafonissi port and their menu is small but delicious. I am not a fan of souvlaki shops and I don’t like the sight of the gyros meat out in the open. But this place was something else. I don’t think I have ever seen a cleaner and more appealing souvlaki place in Greece before.
Leaving Elafonissos was as easy as arriving. Although we left the island on one of the busiest Sunday’s of August, there were no waiting lines. The ferryboat came right away and within 15 minutes we were back at the mainland and on our way to our next destination. Elafonissos island with kids is easy and relaxing!
Where to stay in Elafonissos island with kids
Kato Nisi Apartments
We did not make a booking in advance, and we arrived on the island without a plan in the middle of August. It was difficult to find something available until we heard about a free family room at Kato Nisi. We arrived late in the evening and did not have much time to look around. But the next day I woke up from a good and quiet sleep and I drank my coffee outside at the small sitting outside. There I met with the owners who welcomed us with home-made cake while my daughters made friends with the other kids in the fenced garden.
The plain but clean Kato Nisi apartments are situated near the Panagitsa area and on a 5 minutes drive away from the village and port. Simos beach is 10 minutes away. The famous beach of Kato Nisi is 5 minutes away by foot. We walked this road with our children. There is not much traffic but there is no side walk. There are 3 apartments: 2 quadruple and 1 triple. The quadruple rooms have a fireplace as well. As I mentioned before, we actually stayed in the triple room with 4 people. If you are a family of 3 + and baby (baby cots are available), even the triple room is large enough for one or two days. The rooms consist of 2 sleeping rooms, a small but fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom and plenty of storage space. The rooms have 2 entrance doors; one in the front via the garden, and one in the back. Ideal for a family with kids!
The garden of Kato Nisi apartments is full of exotic cactuses, plants and flowers, figs and basil. There is a big table for games, toys and sitting corners. There is also a mini-market on the grounds. Not only do they have the very essentials for families: nappies, wet wipes, milk and other children-necessities, they also sell fresh bread, fresh pies, their own produced olive oil, marmalade, and other local products with very good prices.
Kato Nisis apartments are basic self-catering family run rooms in a friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. They are an affordable solution for families in Elafonissos island with kids