Discover the exotic beach of Elafonisi, visit a unique cave and famous monasteryBook Now
Crete is an island with many hidden treasures that come in various forms. Many tourists come to see the incredible beaches and unforgettable scenery that the Cretan mountains have to offer, but it is also an island steeped in tradition and rich with religious heritage.
Cretan tradition is like a heart-beat that runs through every man, woman, and child who live here and we hope, by taking you on this tour, it will give you a taste of Cretan inheritance and history as well as visiting the breath-taking beach of Elafonisi.
This tour will take you to the famous cave of St. John the Hermit, in Marathokefala, where a 15th Century temple can be found and is believed to be the hiding place during the frequent visits from shepherd and farmers.
After this short stop, we will continue our journey towards the beautiful Elafonisi Beach. On the mountain-side, just 6km from Elafonisi lies a stunning whitewashed monastery. This monastery is also known as the “Golden Step Monastery” as one of the steps is believed to be made of solid gold, only those who are sin-free are believed to see it. The view from the monastery is tranquil and serene and we will stop here for 30 minutes to take in the scenery and history before heading to the breath-taking beach of Elafonisi.
Once arriving at Elafonisi, you will have 3-4 hours to relax on the beach, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The turquoise waters and pink shoreline of Elafonisi Beach is a memory to treasure but the diverse island of Elafonisi is only a short distance through the shallows and is a MUST-SEE for all nature lovers. Protected for conservation, it provides a natural refuge for many different species of sea birds and turtles along with many cedar trees and flora which makes for breath-taking scenery and a view to never forget.
Your Hotel/ Accomodation
Between 8:00 am to 9:00 am
Approximately 6:00 pm
Ιn the beautiful mountainside of Kolymbari, is the famous historic cave of Agios Ioannis (the Hermit or Xenos). Saint John is said to have lived/hid in this cave while he toured Crete and essentially founding the rich ascetic tradition of the island. Inside the cave, a temple from the 15th century and foundations of old cells dating back to the 17th – 18th centuries can be found. In Pre-Christian times this cave was believed to have been used as a place of worship for the gods. A marble alter and a marble child’s head are now kept in the Museum of the Parish but we once found here in the cave. In the time of the Saint, 16th century farmers and shepherds would enter the cave, forcing the Saint to hide in the crypt (this area was only discovered a few years ago). Along with the old cells and a small temple there is also a small fountain which is believed to cure all diseases and sicknesses. When Saint John was hiding, he prayed and stuck his stick into the rock causing a crack and giving us this sanctification as proclaimed by the Christian church.
The cave of Saint John was also a place of Greek teaching during the Ottoman Rule within a Secret Room within the cave.
The Chrysoskalitissa Monastery stands high on a cliff only 6km from the beach of Elafonisi. Although there are no written testimonies to give an indication of when the pilgrimage to the sacred Chrysoskalitissa started, tradition says that the image of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was seen in the niche of a cave in the rocks and a Christian temple was constructed. Before Chrysoskalitissa was built, there was another church in its place in the name of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa is dedicated to the Holy Trinity and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the image of which is said to have been made 1,000 years ago.
There are more than 90 steps dug into the rock leading up to the Monastery, according to religious tradition, one of these steps is made of solid gold but is only visible by the sinless. This is where the monastery’s name comes from. The Monastery has had many uses over the years most prominently provided shelter for many soldiers, fighters and others who belonged to the English Spy’s throughout the German Occupation in the Second World War. Shortly after the war ended, life returned to normal at the monastery. Today, life continues uninterrupted by the active monks who offer their services and keep this sacred pilgrimage alive. It is a beautiful site rich with history and is a MUST-SEE on your journey to Elafonisi.
Elafonisi is at the south-eastern tip of Crete and it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire island. The crystal-clear waters of this lagoon are surrounded by pink sand that gives this beach its reputation to be a unique and unforgettable experience. Elafonisi is one of the few beaches in the world where pink sand can be found and it’s this that makes it such a popular destination with people from all over the world.
A short walk through the shallow turquoise waters will take you to the island of Elafonisi. And it’s here you will find many species of plants and wildlife that add to the raw nature and unparalleled beauty of this incredible place. To add to its beauty and wonder, this area is also a refuge for the protected Careta Careta Turtles and is now included into NATURAs protection and conservation work.
Price per group (1-3):
Price per group (4-6):
Price per group (7-9):
Elafonisi Beach umbrella and 2 chairs for rent 9€
Upon request, we can arrange your lunch break for you and suggest a traditional “taverna” nearby, in order to experience the traditional Cretan cuisine
Upon request, changes to the itinerary may be made providing mileage and time limits are not exceeded.