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The peninsula of Gramvoussa is much more frequented, because of the emblematic beach of Balos. The place is incredible in April-May, in October, or in winter, left to its wild nature. In the high season, tour boats take turns from Kissamos (you can book your tour here) with a stopover at the fortress of Gramvoussa. I advise you to spend a morning there. The access to the beach requires off-road driving. Below, you will find all the information of how to get to Balos beach.
How to get to Balos beach from Chania?
There are three ways to get to the beach and lagoon of Balos from Chania. The first option is by boat (group or private tours). The second is by car/motorcycle and hiking, and the third is from the port of Kissamos by 4×4 transfer.
Boat tours in Balos usually last 2-3 hours on the beach and also include a stop on the island of Gramvousa. By choosing this option, you will spend the day.
Although you can swim in the Balos lagoon, you won’t be able to enjoy the epic views from above unless you hike up and down against the tourists for about 40 minutes. Another downside to the Balos boat tour is that it arrives at the beach around noon, when many other visitors who took the boat earlier in the day are already settled, and the place can get very crowded. If you want to learn more about boat tours, check out the tours offered on GetYourGuide.
By car / motorcycle
If you prefer to drive yourself like we did, then you should plan to start your day early. I recommend that you arrive in Balos before 10am (preferably before 9am). Take time into account, as the drive from Chania to Balos is approximately 1.5 hours.
From Chania, you will have to drive towards Kissamos. Once you have passed through Kissamos and the port of Kavonisi, you will reach the village of Kaliviani. After crossing the narrow roads of this small village, you will arrive at the dirt road that is the official entrance to the road to Balos. Here you will find an entrance post where visitors have to pay a fee of €1 per person to enter the peninsula (cash only).
Once at the entrance of balos
After the entrance post, you will start your journey along the dirt road which, despite many comments on the internet, is not as bad as it seems. If you go early in the day, you may only encounter a few other drivers, and you may have to stop to let a few goats cross the street, but the road is wide enough to pass safely. This part of the trip takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
Once you arrive at the parking lot, you will have to walk down to Balos (this takes approximately 30 minutes). The hike is easy, despite the uneven, rocky path. After a few minutes, you will arrive at the viewpoint, where you will have the most impressive panorama of the lagoon and the beach. Take some time to soak in this magnificent view before continuing to the beach, where you’ll have to walk on the white, powdery sand for the last part of the hike. Afterwards, all you have to do is relax and enjoy your time swimming in the ocean or cooling off in the lagoon.
Keep in mind that later you will have to hike in the opposite direction on the way to the car, which can be more difficult and exhausting.
By 4×4 transfer
If you don’t want to spend a day at sea with several tourists, and you don’t have a car, the option is the transfer by 4×4 from the port of kissamos. You can find the information here – 4×4 Low Cost Bus Transfer to Balos – Strata Tours.
Facilities on the beach and lagoon of Balos
You will find beach chairs and umbrella rental service for about €15, depending on the season. On site there is a small shop that sells drinks and snacks. There are also toilets, for which there is a charge.
I hope you found this guide to Balos beach useful! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
See also my article about Northwestern Crete.