An authentic Greek getaway
January 1, 1970
by Annachiara Stenico
ELAPHONISOS: YOUR DREAM’S DESTINATION
15th of July. 38 Celsius Degrees. It’s a busy Monday morning and you are sitting at your office desk, wondering when your summer holidays will come. And then suddenly you realize that “Summer holidays” means expensive and overcrowded hotels, beaches, restaurants and pretty much everything else. No thanks, right?
Well then, let me tell you about a place. Close your eyes and imagine – actually, don’t, otherwise, you cannot read… But yeah, you got it.
I’m talking about long and white sand beaches, crystal clear sea water, little fishes swimming around you and great (but cheap) typical restaurants, where you can eat feet into the sand… No, I’m not kidding and yes, this place exists for real! And I’ve been there, three years in a row! How lucky, huh?
Well, keep on reading and you’ll be the next one!
GET TO ELAPHONISOS ISLAND
Elaphonisos. This is the name – but you will also find Elaphonisi, Elafonisos etc, so just pick one and it will work. This five-square-kilometers tiny island is located in Greece, or precisely in the Aegean Sea, just under the Peloponnese and it is reachable only thanks to the little blue ferry that goes back and forth every fifteen minutes from Pounta’s coast. There are no airports on the island, so unless you don’t own your personal helicopter, that’s the only way. But you are probably wondering “Okay, thank you, but I live in Germany. How do I get to the coast?” That’s a good point.
Alright, you’ve got two possibilities: by air or by water. And by car of course, but it will take you the whole duration of your holiday probably, so here is what I recommend you from my personal experience.
OPTION 1: fly from anywhere in the world to Athens, and then drive all the way down to the island;
OPTION 2: take one of the huge overnight ferries that set sail almost from any big harbor and dock at Salonicco, and then again drive down to the island.
Pros and cons:
- Flying by plane is undoubtedly faster than the ferry;
- But then you need a car anyway, and having your own instead of the wheeled-boxes they rent you at the airport is way better – say, dad and bro, respectively 190 and 185 cm height;
- Yes, 30 hours on a boat could be a bit boring, but when you have your own night cabin and a good book, time goes pretty fast – and to be kept in mind, you can drive your own car once disembarked (that means you can bring whatever you want aboard, grandma and surfboard included).
‘SOGNO GRECO’ AND GREEK SALAD: YES, PLEASE
Sleep, eat (and repeat) like a local. That will be your one goal for the whole duration of the holiday.
Counting not even 100 inhabitants during winter but more than 4000 among locals and tourists in summer, on Elaphonisos you’ll find a huge offer (like, really huge) of accommodations, among hotels, B&B, apartments, shared houses and flats, cottages, camping and many more, that you can choose according to price, location, facilities, and availability. And your own preferences, of course. If you’re asking me, “Sogno Greco” is one of the best in town: beautifully furnished ‘greek style’ apartments, central position, lovely personnel and very good value for money. Thumbs up.
Personally, I would recommend you any of those family-run, cozy small hotels, with a beach view balcony and the old lady who doesn’t speak a word of English, but who gives you warm homemade biscuits and fresh figs every morning. I know, I’m spoiled. You’ll find out by yourself, but if there’s a thing that does not miss on the island is the kindness: everyone is extremely welcoming and wants to make you feel at home, they really make an effort to satisfy all your needs.
Now, talking about important stuff. RESTAURANTS.
If you are true holiday aficionados, you know a holiday could not be called ‘holiday’ if you don’t gain at least 3 kilos in two weeks. That’s the rule. And trust me, it won’t be difficult on Elaphonisos. At every corner – literally – of the streets, there is a typical Greek cuisine restaurant, which offers you everything and more: from beautifully cooked fish to the classic tasty meat skewers and so on. Just to make you drool a bit, here are some “must- try” you really… must try: babaganoush and tzatziki, edamame beans and Greek salad, grilled octopus and fried sardines, lobster pasta and moussaka. 101% satisfaction granted.
SIMOS & LIMNITSIA BEACH: ALL DAY EVERY DAY
Didn’t I mention the beaches yet, did I? Well, you know when you keep the best part of your dessert for the end? That was exactly my aim.
Just have a look here.
This is Simos Beach and yes, the water is as you see it. No filters, no tricks.
Park your car (or your bike) next to Simos Bar and just follow the wooden path that leads to the beach. You can choose to rent an umbrella and some beach chairs for the day -which will cost you the price of an iced coffee- or if you prefer some more privacy, there is a two-kilometers long beach where you can place your stuff and be free. Easy peasy.
Beach #2. This is Limnitsia. And that’s me, hello! The story is repetitive folks, same blue water, same white sand. How boring, huh? There is a car park here too and an equipped area for umbrellas and chairs, but also some shade under the bushes to place your lazy self for the whole day. Oh, and bring your diver’s mask because it’s plenty of fishes and beautiful shells.
Okay, by this point, I’m sure you are googling some plane tickets to get here. Hehe, I know you, my friends.
Let me tell you then, that the best periods to book your holidays here are two: from the end of May to mid-June and from the end of August to the whole month of September. Hot and sunny but not overcrowded, no rain or thunderstorms but warm water. And furthermore prices are dropped because of the low season and it is definitely easier to find an accommodation.
Great fish, great sea, few people. Win-win!
So, both if you have an adventurer spirit or a… lazy adventurer one, you won’t be disappointed by Elaphonisos. It is the perfect holiday destination for everyone: couples, families, groups of friends or retirees, lone travelers, and nature lovers.
Give it a try!