Guide to Balos lagoon

If you’re keen on uncovering Balos Beach, you’ll surely be welcomed by one of the most charming landscapes Crete has to offer. Think exotic white-sanded beaches, shallow turquoise waters, and an incredibly picturesque backdrop, formed by Tigani and Gramvousa in the distance. Although situated in the very northwest of Crete, between Kissamos and Gramvousa, Balos Beach feels like a tropical paradise in the midst of the Caribbean sea. For that reason alone, it is considered one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, and therefore an absolute must-see on any Crete trip. If you’re preparing for a day trip to Balos Beach (which I think you should), look no further, this traveller guide includes everything you need to know, from how to get there, what to pack, and the best guided tours & boat trips – plus essential travel information.


Balos Beach is a stunningly picturesque stretch of beach (arguably the best in Crete), situated in the very northwest of Crete, poised between Kissamos and Gramvousa. Although Balos Beach is pretty remote, 191km of Heraklion, 116km of Rethymno, and 56km of Chania, it is clearly one of the favourite Crete beaches for travelers from all over the world.


Crete makes the perfect island for a banging road trip, and if you’re keen on exploring every corner of the island, renting a car is easily the best thing you could do. If you’re planning to do so, you’ll have all the freedom to visit Balos Beach as early as possible – plus it’s significantly easier to explore other interesting places on Crete. The journey itself is pretty straightforward, as the roads on the island are in excellent condition. However, do keep in mind that the last 10 kilometers, starting at Kissamos, are off-road and bring you along a steep cliff edge. If you drive slowly and conscious, it isn’t a big deal, yet it can be a bit challenging during the high season, when significantly more people visit Balos Beach by car. That said, when planning to drive to Balos Beach with a rental car, check if you’re insurance is covering off-road driving. In most cases, this isn’t a problem, yet it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Once you reach the car park, and are ready to go, take a moderate 25-minute hike down, before arriving at the beach. Along the way, you’ll pass several fascinating viewpoints, hordes of friendly-looking mountain goats, and a stall that offers donkey rides down to the beach. If you’re following this blog a bit longer, you probably already know that I aim to travel in the most ethical way possible. For that reason, I would sincerely discourage using animals as form as transport. We ourselves, did the hike at a slow pace, resulting in an excellent experience, with plenty of time to take some photos along the way, and I would highly encourage you to do the same! Although the hike isn’t the most challenging, it is good to wear decent sneakers and bring extra drinking water (preferably a reusable water bottle). Additionally, I would recommend bringing something to cover your head from the sizzling Mediterranean sun.


Following your journey, it is finally time to set foot on the incredibly appealing sands of Balos Beach, and trust me, arriving at the beach with no other being around is truly a mesmerizing experience. Think exotic white sand, shallow turquoise waters, and stunningly beautiful scenery, with views of Tigani and Gramvousa in the distance. Be prepared to be left in awe by the impressive colour palette of the water, and the pure beauty of the unique landscapes that surround you.


Balos Beach is at its absolute best in the early morning, when the exotic white-sanded beach is not yet flooded with travelers and locals alike. Alternatively, the afternoon is great for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing, so make sure you bring a good book and some snacks. Do bear in mind that it will be significantly busier than in the morning, as tourists from guided tours and boat trips will set foot on the coastline of Balos. The good news though, they often stay for a short amount of time, resulting in an almost empty beach afterwards.