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Elafonissi lifts top award

Elafonisi beach Crete

West crete beach ranks among best in world.

One of the most attractive beaches to be found in Western Crete has now been ranked among the world's top twenty most beautiful beaches by a leading international travel website.

The astonishing white sands at Elafonisi are also ranked fifth best in Europe in a similar survey of holidaymakers' choice of 'best beaches'.

The tiny uninhabited islet of Elafonisi sits 200 metres off the west coast of Crete and visiting holidaymakers can wade across sandbanks that link it to the main island.

The warm, shallow waters rarely reach more than a metre in depth during the summer and the wild coast is not just outstandingly beautiful it also begs to be explored with its deep dunes, hidden coves and large rock pools.

This part of Crete is not only a wealth of rare flora and fauna, with some species native only to this area, but it is also a breeding ground for rare turtles and one of the last resting places for migrating birds heading for Africa.

Elafonisi is also home to several coral reefs and the water alongside the huge beach of white sand at Elafonisi will often take on a pink hue from the shoals of coral. the sand too is tinted pink from the thousands of scattered sea shell fragments.

At more than 70 kilometres from the west Crete capital of Chania the beach was once much too remote for regular visitors but new the paving of a new road and some heavy promotion by travel firms has turned it into one of the top attractions of western Crete.

Nowadays the chances of finding a remote spot on the sands are pretty slim as hundreds of visitors arrive daily by bus, boat and car. It days as a near deserted paradise beach are long over.

The latest ranking on the best beaches in the world by Tripadvisor will almost certainly result in even more visitors this year. Those that do visit will certainly find a magical place but they are unlikely to get the sights to themselves.

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