Balos Lagoon is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. If you haven’t heard about it, take a look at the photo below and you’ll understand why.
Balos is about 56km away from Chania, not so close to the city center but you can easily reach it by land or by sea (you can find all the details below). The Guardian in this 2019 article named Balos as one of the best beaches in Europe while Tripadvisor listed Balos as the 7th best beach in the world! So what’s this all about?
I have seen many beaches in my life: in Sicily, Greece and elsewhere but I haven’t seen anything more beautiful than Balos in Crete. The golden sand, the turquoise waters, and the mountain behind create unique exotic scenery.
It is strange, though, that some other people that have visited didn’t have the same opinion. Why? Because there are two ways to get to Balos: by road or by boat.
HOW TO GET TO BALOS BEACH FROM CHANIA
There are two ways to reach the famous beach. Read all the details below and find out which one is the best for you!
HOW TO GET TO BALOS BY CAR
You can go to Balos by car but keep in mind that you have to drive on a very narrow, dangerous dirt road. Your vehicle can be easily damaged if you aren’t very careful, and you can get a flat fire for nothing. If you rent a car, many companies affirm that your car insurance will not cover you if something happens while you are there. Our rental company told us that if the car breaks in this narrow street, roadside assistance will not be able to reach you there.
The worst thing is that you have to leave the car on the hill and walk down on foot. So once you arrive there, calculate that you will need an additional 20 minutes to reach the beach. The good news is that from the top you have a beautiful view and you can take an incredible photo of this exotic scenery. The bad news is that once you spend the day on the beach, you have to climb that hill to get back to your car.
It doesn’t matter if you are fit or not: walking on that steep hill with 38° degrees can be very challenging. If you suffer from any health issues, I would strongly advise you to skip this option and take the ferry.
HOW TO GET TO BALOS BY BOAT
If you want to avoid this hassle, go for option B and take the ferry. The ferry for Balos Lagoon departs every day from Kissamos port and makes a stop to Gramvousa island. Gramvousa is a tiny inhabited island in north-western Crete that has the most transparent, bluest waters that I have ever seen.
The ferry leaves its passengers for a short period (one hour if I remember correctly), but it’s more than enough to swim around and enjoy these clear waters.
There aren’t any other people around. Only this ferry and private boats and yachts can access this heavenly place.
As you can see from the picture below, Gramvousa has a Venetian castle. If you want you can climb to the top of the castle but please don’t do it with flip-flops! It can be very slippery, especially if you are in a hurry.
I chose to swim and relax instead of going up to the castle. Your time is limited; if you decide to visit the Venetian Castle, you will barely have any time to swim before the ferry leaves again for Balos Lagoon.
Tickets for Balos can be bought on the same day from Kissamos port. In 2020 the prices will probably change, but in 2019, I can say that they were a bit pricey.
27€ for a day cruise, but trust me, it is worth it. If you want to book in advance, take a look at the options below.
♦ EXTRA TIP: take the last ferry, the one that leaves at 12.30. In this way, you can avoid the annoying masses of groups that go in the morning, and you can sit until 17.00 / 18.00 on the beach, where most people are gone.
I know that a lot of people avoid Balos on the excuse that it is too crowded, but I can assure you that there is nothing to worry about. I took these photos during July, around 5 p.m. As you can see, there are not so many people around!
Other useful info: Does Balos beach have sunbeds and umbrellas? Yes, it has, at least, in 2019! If it’s windy – something not so rare for southern Crete – it can be challenging to put up the umbrellas.
Keep in mind that this place is not your everyday beach, that you visit to relax and swim. It’s a unique and unforgettable place that you must see if you go to Crete.
Here’s a map of the area: