Part of the mainland until 375 AD, when an earthquake separated it, ELAFÓNISSOS is just 19 square kilometres and gets very busy in the short summer season, when its 700-odd resident population is vastly outnumbered by visitors, mainly Greek. The island’s eponymous town is largely modern, but has plenty of rooms, mostly in the narrow backstreets, plus some good fish tavernas.
One of the island’s two surfaced roads leads 5km southeast to Símos, one of the best beaches in this part of Greece, a large double bay with fine pale sand heaped into dunes and views to Kýthira; a kaïki (boat) leaves from the town to Símos every morning in summer. To the southwest of town is the small, scattered settlement of Káto Nisí, and Panayítsa beach, quieter than Símos but almost as beautiful, with views to the Máni peninsula. There is a petrol station on the Panayítsa road.