Elafonisos is situated off the south - eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Looking toward the east across the bay of Vatika is the main seaside town of Neapolis. On the south side of Elafonisos is the island of Kythera.
In ancient times, Elafonisos was not an island but a peninsula named "ONOU GNATHOS". At the time this peninsula had the shape of a donkey's jaw, if we take into account what "Pausanias" has written. He writes that the town of Elafonisos was once where the tiny rock islet of Pavlopetri is now. Around Pavlopetri one can still see ancient roads and foundations of houses that were once there, but are underwater now. The same can be seen on the south - west part of Elafonisos at "Nisia tis Panagias" (Island of the Virgin Mary) near a small islet named "Kasela". Today, Elafonisos name is derived from Dr Iakovos Stamoulis and Elias Kroupis. The island was rich in game. Pausania's writes that there were many wild animals there. Much of the animal population was owned by "Artemida". In particular small bodies deers that were red in color. Moreover, the famous sculpture of the goddess "Artemida" who holds a small bodied deer, which can be seen at the Louvre museum. The sculpture was found in the immediate area of Elafonisos.
According to 15th century British maps, Elafonisos was named "CERVI" (Chervi), and the island of Kythera was named "Cerigo" (Tserigo). Local people still call Kythera "Cerigo". Locals never called Elafonisos "Cervi" because at the time the island was not occupied by people. Lastly, the village on the mainland before boarding the ferry boat to coma across to the island is named Viglafia, this village still keeps its original name. Vigla - elafia. "Vigla" means a high lookout point and "elafia" means deers. This is where people could observe the whole expanse of land in the area.