Balos lagoon can be found on the north-west corner of Crete and approximately 15-18 Km from the town of Kissamos, which is around 30 min drive on a dirt road. The lagoon is between the peninsula of Gramvousa and cape Tigani.
This lagoon is unique in Crete and in general in Greece and it is an experience that everyone should have in their lifetime. You will see a lot of photographs and videos and hear stories about it, but until you see it and experience it for yourself you cannot fully understand the magic of Balos.
The panoramic view of the top of the mountain or the crystal clear water in the lagoon. Swim in the deep waters or lay in the extensive shallow water having you back in the water and your chest in the sun. Words can never fully describe this experience, so don’t waste any time and plan your trip to Balos.
Gramvousa is an island that has a Venetian fortress built on its highest point. This castle attracts a lot of visitors every year both for the history of the castle and for the brilliant view from the top. This island is accessible via boat. The boat starts in the local Kissamos port where you can also book your tickets. The trip to Gramvousa takes about 1 hour. On the boat, you can enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee. On the way, you can also observe the shoreline where you will see a cave that was used as an ancient shipyard, called Tarssanas.
Once you arrive at the island you can either enjoy the beach or hike to the top and visit the castle and enjoy the view. The boat will give you around 2 hours in Gramvousa before you need to re-embark on the boat to go to Balos. The hike up to the mountain can be a bit rough and takes around 20 min or so to go up and another 20 down so having a set of the right set of shoes along can help.
Gramvousa is only accessible via boat (Cruise) which also ends up at Balos lagoon. Look at cruise info for more details.
The port is only 3.5 Km from the centre of Kissamos.
Also on your way back you can always make a stop in the small village of Kaliviani and sample some of the local foods in the taverns found there.
The most popular approach is the cruise to visit both places and if time allows it some will take a driver on another day to enjoy the view from the mountain. See map directions.
Note: Once you reach Balos parking you will have to hike down the mountain to get to the beach. This is the only way to see the magnificent view but you can’t go to Gramvousa island. The road is a dirt road – caution is advised.
Booking tickets a day before is best.
Sunblock required for all excursions.
Carry a bottle of water with you.
Eat light due to the sun and walk uphill in Gramvousa.
Take the cruise to visit both places and on another day take a drive to enjoy the view of Balos from the mountain.