Balos Beach

Balos Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Crete. Famous for its turquoise waters, Balos beach is considered one of the most iconic sights in Greece. Balos Beach is actually a lagoon located on the northwestern side of Chania on the island of Crete, in the region of Kissamos. One of the most photographed beaches in all of Crete, Balos Beach really exudes a unique beauty. Besides its scenic view, Balso beach and its surrounding area are home to several plants and flowers. Many of these natural wonders are endemic to the area. There are plenty of interesting birds to watch for in the area, such as the Eleonora falcons and bearded vultures. The whole region is a protected Natura 2000 area. Balos beach has shallow waters ideal for small children. The sand is mostly soft and the bottom part of the beach is quite muddy, which sometimes produces an unpleasant smell, especially at low tide. The beach sits at the bottom of the Platiskinos Mountains. Balos beach is protected on the far side by a rocky reef, which is why the water is always calm. Despite its remoteness, visitors cannot resist the charm of Balos Beach. Balos beach has a mild,mid with dry, hot summer. Its warmest month has an average temperature of more than 22 degrees Celsius. During those months, Balos beach water temperature does not drop below  20 °C, and is suitable for nice swimming.

Several boat tours are available on Balos Beach, visitors have a wide variety to choose from. Some companies offer private boat tours also, but at a higher price. Visitors who opt to rent a vehicle may select from the car rental services in the area. There are no facilities available at Balos Beach, because of its remoteness. There are no tall buildings in sight and only a few hotels nearby the area. During the high season, the beach tends to be crowded with tourists from around the world. It is no wonder that Balos beach is among the tourist guide’s favourite topics. The tourism industry in Greece, especially on the island of Crete, has become the fastest tourism market in Greece. It has recorded a 60% growth in the past six years. Crete is well known to have its long tradition and history, especially in culture. It is considered very safe for tourists from around the globe. There are many great places to visit in Crete, and one of them is Balos Beach. A thousand tourists visit Balos Beach yearly. Oftentimes, the beach is always crowded during the high season of summer.

Couple at Balos Beach

What is Balos Beach?

Balos Beach is a stunning beach and is one of the most iconic sights on the island of Crete. Despite being rather difficult to access, Balos is still overcrowded in Summer. Balos beach is well known for its turquoise water and pink-coloured sands. Visitors describe Balos Beach as one of the best beaches in the world. Balos beach has shallow waters perfect for kids and small children. The sand at Balos Beach is mostly soft and the bottom part of the beach is quite muddy, which sometimes produces an unpleasant smell, especially at low tide. The beach sits at the bottom of the Platiskinos Mountains. Balos beach is not only one of the loveliest beaches on the entire globe, but it is an essential natural habitat with its rare flora and fauna. Balos beach appears to be quite untouched and pristine. In ancient times, the peninsula was named Korykus or Kimaros. The Balos Lagoon of Balosor Balso Beach is between the island and the coast of Crete. North of Balos, at the Korykon cape, are the ruins of the little ancient Roman city of Agnion, with the temple of the god Apollo. There was once a tiny city located in the area of Balos, called Corycus, referred to by Ptolemy. The remains of the city were still evident to a traveller from Florence in the 15th century. There are still remains of a small Roman village, Agnio, at the top of the cape. The most interesting among the ruins are located on the islet of Imeri Gramvousa. In that area, the Venetians built a fort to safeguard the island from invaders during the late 15th century.  The fortress was eventually seized by Cretans in 1825, during the War of Independence. The fortress was held, but the Cretans did not manage to expand to the western part of Crete. Isolated, they turned to piracy. The organised island of pirates, together with their families, built a school, and a church, Panagia i Kleftrina which means “dedicated to the wives of the Klepths”. In 1828, pirate ships were demolished, and the British controlled the island.

Where is Balos Beach located?

Balos Beach is actually a lagoon located on the northwestern side of Chania on the island of Crete, in the region of Kissamos. Balos beach is situated 51 km out of Chania. It would take around an hour and 15 minutes to get there. Depending on weather, visitors will drive a car or board a ferry at Kissamos port. The Kissamos port is 41 km from Chania, and the travel time will take just over 45 minutes. The coordinates of Balos Beach are 35.583572 latitudes and its longitude is 23.587561. Visitors must drive or get a bus to get to Kissamos port in order to ride a ferry going to the Balos beach. One will need to spend a whole day to maximise the experience. Driving to Balos beach is possible, but is not highly recommended. The road that leads to Balos Beach is a dirt road, and there are big rocks flicking up along the path. The road leads to the top of the mountain and visitors will need to climb down to get to the beach. When leaving, climbing back up again is necessary.

How does the Balos Beach Map look?

The Balos beach map shows the location of Balos beach in Crete. Opposite the beach is the rocky island called Gramvousa. On top of the island is a steep Venetian castle with a view of the region and the sea. The vast car park area and the single beach bar are visible on the Balos beach map. The Chapel of All Saints is evident near the site and the Tigani Balos beach viewpoint.

Below is the image of the Balos Beach map.

Balos beach map

What are the facilities in Balos Beach?

There are not many facilities at Balos Beach. Visitors must pack all their necessities when visiting Balos Beach. Essentials like food, water, beach hat, and sunscreen to make one’s stay comfortable. There is however a bar at the beach that serves limited and small portions of food. Visitors, taking the ferry trip to Balos Beach, will have access to facilities available on board. The ferry offers a wide selection of food, including snacks and drinks. The bar is open throughout the ship, and they offer a wide variety of traditional Cretan food. Greek dishes like souvlaki, Greek salad, pizzas, and other toasted sandwiches are also being served. Visitors may rent an umbrella on the ferry before disembarking. There are available sunbeds at Balos beach, so don’t forget to bring along some cash in case one might need to rent some.

When is the best time to visit Balos Beach?

The best time to visit Balos beach is during summer. However, if visitors want to avoid larger crowds, do not go to the beach in July and August. The perfect time to enjoy the beach is during the early morning and late afternoon. The boats can get quite full during the high season and visitors will need to wait in lines to get on the boat. Thousands of visitors visit Balos Beach, especially during summer. The place can get crowded even in the parking area. However, anytime is the best time in Balos Beach. Visiting Balos Beach during the low season of October to April will still have warm temperatures at the beach. Beachgoers are advised to bring along their own food during the high season because there is only a single taverna selling snacks within the area.

Balos beach in Crete

How was the preservation of Balos Beach?

Balos Beach is a stunning beach that can be found in the western part of Greek. Balos beach is a protected Natura 2000 area. Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas on the entire planet. It provides a haven for Europe’s most protected and valued species and habitats. There are numerous fascinating flowers and plants in the area, many of which are endemic. Several birds may be seen at the beach, including Eleonora falcons and bearded vultures. Balos beach is truly a wonder of nature and should be protected and preserved properly.

Goat on top of Balos

How do you get to Balos beach?

Balos Beach is accessible in three ways. The first and simplest way is by ferry boat from Kissamos. The ferry ride will give visitors the chance to have a glimpse of the coast of the Gramvousa peninsula. The ferry will let passengers swim on the beach of the Imeri Gramvousa islet. The second option, which is highly recommend NOT using, is by car . Visitors will have to drive on the dirt road, starting from Kaliviani and moving along the Cape of Gramvousa. Visitors have the option to drive their personal car or a rented one. Each visitor will have to pay a small portion of 1 euro, intended for the safekeeping of the area and preservation of the road. The road ends after 10 km at a vast car park, beside a canteen. From there, visitors will need to walk down the 1 km path heading to the beach. A short hike will be needed to approach the beach. However, driving is quite challenging going to Balos Beach. Balos Beach’s location is a bit remote, the road leading there has several potholes and is quite dusty. Travel time via car is slow due to the rough road. Off-road vehicles are suitable for a trip to Balos Beach, but insurance is not covering damages when the vehicle is driven off-road. The third and most exciting route is trekking. It would take around three hours from Kaliviani to cross the wild landscape of Gramvousa and the range of Paltyskinos.

Road to Balos is bad

What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?

Listed below are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete.

  • Insurance: Car rental insurance is important, as it protects a passenger against the cost of damage when renting a car. Crete car rental includes insurance for collision damage waiver and a driver’s credit or debit card is required as a guarantee.
  • Driver’s age: The legal age requirement when driving in Crete is 18 years old. The driver must have a valid driving licence and essential documents like an ID or passport.
  • Driver’s gender: Both women and men can drive in Crete. As long as the driver is of the legal age of 18, driving is permitted in Crete, regardless of gender.
  • Car type: Travelling with groups or family members requires a much bigger car. Car rental companies in Crete offer a variety of cars to choose from. Selecting a smaller car is best when driving in Crete. The reason for that is that some Greek roads are narrow. The car type is one big factor in how to choose the right car to rent in Crete.
  • Documents needed for renting a car: One important document needed for renting a vehicle is a valid driving licence. However, a credit or debit card may also be presented, including a passport or an ID card.

How much does a car rental in Crete cost?

Crete is best travelled using a rented vehicle. Tourists may quickly get to Crete’s top destinations using a rented car. Crete car rental costs vary depending on the number of persons, itinerary, car type, destination, and duration. The average cost of renting a car in Crete is around €30 to €40 per day. A car rented for a whole week will cost an average of €250. Renting a vehicle for the weekend will cost around €78. Crete car rental rates differ depending on the car type. Car rental companies offer a variety of cars depending on customers’ liking. Most car rental shops in Crete offer an online booking system, whenever customers want to book a car. Simply follow the process and instantly book a vehicle on their website. Before availing of a rental car service in Crete, make sure to check and secure all the requirements needed.

Explore Crete with a Car rental from €29 per day

How much does it cost to get to Balos Beach?

To get to Balos Beach, one must pay €1 for the entry fee. There is a car park area right above Balos Beach. The parking fee is €2 per hour. There is a single bar available at the beach of Balos, and in the high season food is almost always sold out. It is best to bring food and drinks when visiting Balos beach. The ferry tickets cost €27 for passengers over 13 years old. For passengers between the ages of 3 and 12, the ferry ticket costs €13. Children below 2 years old are free of charge.

Balos Lagoon in Crete

Where to stay near Balos Beach?

There are only a few hotels where to stay near Balos beach. Most hotels are far from the beach, mainly because of the isolated nature of the area. One of the few hotels in the area near Balos Beach is the Kaliviani Traditional Hotel. The Kaliviani Traditional Hotel is a traditional guest house situated at the tip of Cape Gramvousa, in the local village of Kaliviani, near where the road to Balos starts. The Kaliviani Traditional Hotel provides basic and comfortable accommodations to its guests. A stay in the hotel will give one a nice view of the bay of Kissamos Gulf. The hotel is 9 km from Balos Beach. Another hotel near Balos Beach is named Balos Beach too. Balos Beach is a 3-star hotel located 9 km from Balos Beach. The hotel provides accommodations like a fitness room, a bar, and a swimming pool. The hotel has a modern vibe and self-catering accommodation. Among the Hotels near Balos Beach is the Seaside Villa Balos. The villa is located in Kissamos, a few metres from the local beaches along Kissamos Bay. The place has been recently renovated and is a perfect villa for a family with kids or larger groups.  Seaside Villas Balos has a seating and dining area, a patio with a view of the sea, a fully-equipped kitchen, and three bedrooms. Seaside Villas Balos is 1.9 km from the port of Kissamos.

What are the nearby attractions in Balos Beach?

Listed below are the nearby attractions in Balos Beach:

  • Kissamos: Kissamos is a seaside town and municipality in the western part of the island of Crete. The town of Kissamos is sometimes called Kastelli. The town presents the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, rich historical heritage, and a touch of traditional Cretan lifestyle. One of the famous attractions of Kissamos is the Balos beach.
  • Falassarna Beach: Considered to be one of the top beaches in Crete is Falassarna beach. The beach of Falassarna receives numerous awards for its unique beauty. Its long sandy beach is enjoyed by many tourists. The sunset at Falassarna beach is impressive and one of the most beautiful in Greece.
  • Sfinari Beach: Located 60 km west of Chania city and 30 km south of Kissamos is Sfinari Beach. Sfinari beach is frequented by visitors seeking remoteness. It is a peaceful place with a sandy beach and pebbles in the area. Visitors who love to stay in a quiet area must definitely visit Sfinari Beach. The beach is ideal for activities such as snorkelling, especially when the sea is calm.
  • Platanakia Beach: Located 61 km southwest of Chania city and 31 km south of Kissamos is Platanakia Beach. Platanakia beach is a tiny cove, shielded by cliffs, and is often secluded. The beach is stoney in most areas and sandy in other areas. The Platanakia beach is shaped in the exit of the gorge of Kambos.
  • Polyrinia:  Polyrinia is a small town in the Kissamos area, in the northwest of Chania prefecture. Polyrinia is situated on a hill, dominating the surrounding area. The village of Polyrinia is known for its traditional atmosphere and for the ruins of the acropolis of the same name. The archaeological site of Polyrrhenia is a must-visit place when in Crete.

Is Balos beach Sandy?

Yes, Balos Beach is a sandy beach. Balos Beach is one of the two pink beaches of Crete. The stunning Balos Beach has turquoise-coloured water and pink-coloured sand. Balos beach has pinkish sand due to an oyster-like microorganism called Benthic Foraminifera. The shells of these sea animals are pink or red. When these sea animals die, their shells are washed up in the sand and mixed with it.

Balos Beach

Are children permitted at the Balos Beach?

Yes, children are permitted at Balos Beach. Balos beach is absolutely one of the best beaches in Crete for toddlers and young kids. It is a recommended beach for the family. Balos has shallow waters and is oftentimes calm, which is ideal for children. Parents of small children will need not worry because the waters of Balos beach are shallow.  Balos beach has warm waters most of the time. To fully enjoy the rest of Balos Beach, it is recommended to go there during the early morning or the late afternoon. Anyone may enjoy the majestic view and the pristine turquoise-coloured water of Balos beach.

Balos beach at Sunset

Harry Anapliotis
Travel Writer and Developer
Harry Anapliotis is a travel writer and developer at Rental Center Crete - Car hire.
Rental Center Crete - Car Hire
Car rental Company
Rental Center Crete - Car Hire is a car rental Company offering services in Crete Island, since 1975.