Elafonisos is famous for its exotic sand beaches, turquoise sea waters and cedar forest. It is one of the most impressive locations in Laconia. Apart from its rare beauty it forms a natural habitat which, along with the region of Neapoli, is integrated in the European Network of Nature Protection Areas, NATURA. The sand dunes, the shrubs and the Strogili lagoon that host a variety of wild fauna and flora with rare plant and animal organisms, present a great ecological interest.
The sand dunes are dynamic and sensitive habitats hosting rare plant species. In Elafonisos you can find three kinds of sand dunes, the “low moving”, the “white” and the “gray” sand dunes. The ‘low moving” sand dunes host Agatha (Eryngium maritimum), Ammophilous (Ammophila arenara) – a perennial plant that develops roots to a great depth- and the endangered sea lilly (Pancratium maritimum) that has an underground bulb and appears sporadically in groups. As we walk to the inland, the low sand dunes are replaced by the “white” ones that can reach a height of ten meters.
As you go further inland you find the “gray” sand dunes. They consist of sand dunes covered by herbaceous and wood vegetation that assist in the dune’s stabilization while they enrich the ground with organic substances rendering them more firm and dark. The prickly (juniperus oxycedrus), one of the most rare shrub plants of the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas grows here. The Mediterranean shrubs host many fauna species that create their nests in them. At the shrubs of Elafonisos, birds, small mammals and reptiles such as buzzards (buteo buteo) and kestels (falco tinnunculus) seek their food from the ground. Gray sand dunes with shrub Cades can be observed at the Strogili lagoon on the opposite coast. The area is a protected wetland and it plays a significant role in the balance of the ecosystem while it consists of a breeding site and a rest site for many migratory birds. The sea bed of Elafonisos coasts hosts subseas phytocenosis, also known as “poseidonies” that present a great biodiversity.