Starting from the cities of Chania or Kissamos, we recommend you to rent a car and make a delightful day trip towards the exotic beach of Elafonisi and the unique Kedrodasos beach.
From the main motorway follow the road to the village “Kaloudiana” and head south through a magical route. You will pass the picturesque hamlets “Potamida” and “Voulgaro” and you will reach the traditional village “Topolia”, which is built amphitheatrically on a verdant hill with abundant running waters.
From here and for a distance of about 1.5 km begins the “Topoliano” Gorge, which has steep, towering walls and lush vegetation, while forming an impressive road tunnel. After the tunnel, at the right of the road, there is the Saint Sofia’s Cave with a small homonymous chapel, rich decoration with stalactites and stalagmites, and archaeological interest because shells of Neolithic era were found.
The exit of the gorge is near the hamlet “Koutsomatados”, and the next village that you meet is the picturesque village “Elos”, which is built inside the chestnut trees and the plantain trees, and have a lot of springs with running water. It is a village that produces chestnuts, where its chestnuts are famous for their delicacy. Here you have a rest and drink a beverage or eat something in one of many traditional taverns with Cretan cuisine or local specialties.
Continuing your trip south, you can visit, a few kilometers before your final destination, the “Monastery of Panagia Chrisoskalitissa”. It is built on a rock with boundless sea view and has a form of fortress. A small fishing village of the Middle Minoan period has been found on the beach near to the monastery.
After the monastery, about two kilometers away, if you take the earth-road to the left you will head to amazing “Kedrodasos” beach. It is a beach that is filled with juniper trees and dunes that remind tropical beaches. These small twisted junipers belong to the species Juniperus oxycedrus and Juniperus phoenicea.
Kedrodasos Beach has white fine sand and blue-green waters, while the roots of cedar trees, which appear from sand movements on the coast, make the landscape look idyllic and odd. The beach is protected by the Natura 2000 Protection Network, and as protected area you should show special attention and respect to the environment.
It is famous for free camping because is secluded, without facilities and for this reason you should keep it clean. The area is ideal for funs of windsurfing and kite surfing, as it usually has wind and low ripple, but there are no organized water sports facilities so you must bring yours equipment. In addition you must not use cedar wood for kindling or everything else because cedars grow exceptionally slow and need a lot of decades to regrow.
Instead of taking the earth-road left to “Kedrodasos”, you can go straight to the exotic beach of “Elafonisi”. “Elafonisi” is a small island that can be reached by walking, as it is very close to the shores and the waters are quite shallow, especially during the summer.
The area gives a magical image, since the existing islets with very fine sand, which in some places become pink due to the many broken small and thin shells, and the lagoon formed with the turquoise shallow and warm waters, are the main features of it.
It is a Natura protected area. At the sand dunes of the area there are a lot of rare species of plants, like cedar trees. It is also a natural refuge for many species of sea birds and a breeding place for the protected Caretta – Caretta sea turtle. So you should be very careful with the environment of the area and is strictly forbidden to remove any plants, animals, shells and sand from there.
The “Elafonisi” beach is fully organized with sun beds and umbrellas, showers, locker rooms, lifeguard service, coffee-refreshment, toilets. There are a few rooms for rent, and the camping is forbidden.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit, with a rental vehicle, the truly especial Elafonisi beach and unique Kedrodasos beach, when you will be in Chania region.