This is a day trip to Elafonissi Beach and Island that takes you on one of my favourite drives on Crete. You will see many different terrains as you head west towards Kastelli-Kissamos and then turn south to head down to the south west corner of the island and the incredibly beautiful beach at Elafonissi.There is stunning scenery along the route which takes you through the hills, passing along the top of the Topolia Gorge.
Half way along the Topolia Gorge we will stop at for breakfast at Agia Sofia. During the breakfast stop there you can walk up the 269 steps to the beautiful cave of Agia Sofia. Inside the cave you will see a tiny Byzantine chapel and some interesting stalagmites and stalagtites. Agia Sofia has been a holy place since Minoan, Neolithic, Roman and Byzantine times. The view from here out over the ravine is wonderful. It is supposed to be lucky if you ring the bell at the entrance to the cave, and all the Greeks do it. A small café here can serve a drink and a light breakfast.
We now pass through the lush chestnut region of Crete and a few quaint traditional villages, until we arrive for a brief visit at Chrissolakilitissa Monastery which is built into the rock and is surrounded by the sea. After the monastery stop we arrive at Elafonissi at around lunchtime. Some people call Elafonissi the Carribean of Crete, or the Cretan Maldives as the water is crystal clear and shallow, and the sand has a pinkish tinge to it. You will spend a few hours on the spacious beach, which has sun-beds and umbrellas, kantinas which have food, drinks and accessories such as disposable cameras, and porta-kabin toilet facilities.
The turquoise water is excellent for snorkelling and you can wade out to the sand islands just off the beach, including Elafonissos island itself. At 15.00 we leave Elafonissi. On the return journey the coach will stop at the pretty village of Potamida in the chestnut region where you can have a drink and a snack.