Bridging the gap between the wild Gramvousa Peninsula and the idyllic Cape Tigani, Balos Beach is a startlingly blue lagoon, framed by jagged sea cliffs and pristine pink and white sand beaches. A pocket of paradise, Balos Beach is one of Crete’s most photographed natural beaches.
The best way to experience the natural beauty of Balos Beach, is on a boat trip, which affords stunning views of the lagoon and the Mediterranean Sea. A typical full-day tour begins at Rethymnon, Georgioupolis, Kolymbari, or Chania. Continue on to discover the caves around Kissamos Bay, the beautiful beaches of Gramvousa Island, and Imeri Gramvousa fortress, before diving in to swim in the lagoon’s turquoise waters.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Between April and October, visitor facilities include restrooms, a beach café, and sun beds.
- Visitors arriving by road are required to pay a small entrance fee to enter the Balos Reserve and parking area.
How to Get There
Balos Beach is located along the Gramvousa Peninsula on the northwest coast of Crete, around 35 miles (56 kilometers) from Chania and 11 miles (17 kilometers) from Kissamos. Daily ferries run from Kissamos port to Balos, but it’s also possible to arrive by 4WD, following a dirt road from Kaliviani along Cape Gramvousa.
When to Get There
Summer is the most popular time to visit Balos Beach, though the small beach can get crowded—especially in July and August. For peace and quiet, make an early start and arrive before the crowds descend upon the lagoon.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at the Balos Lagoon
The Balos Lagoon is a Natura 2000 reserve, where monk seals and loggerhead sea turtles might be spotted. It’s a prime spot for swimming and snorkeling, and scuba diving—another popular activity around the lagoon—includes the possibility of exploring the underwater wreckage of an English landing craft.