Globally known for its enthralling natural beauty and dreamy appearance, the lagoon known as Balos Beach is located on the northwestern side of Chania on the island of Crete.
Balos lagoon is formed between Cape Gramvousa and the small Cape Tigani and below the mountain range of Platiskinos.
The beach captures your heart twice over: once with a dreamy view, and then, from up close, as a magical swimming spot. Considering this place is a must-go during your stay in Crete, I thought I’d share everything you should know before visiting – from transportation information and nearby activities in Balos beach to hotel recommendations near the lagoon if you’d like to spend more than a day in this magical place.
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- Everything You Need to Know About Balos Beach
Everything You Need to Know About Balos Beach
Amenities at Balos Beach
Balos beach is a small sand isthmus, that connects Crete mainland to Tigani Island. The south of the beach is the shallow lagoon with turquoise waters, on the north side instead lays a beautiful blue-water bay which is ideal for kids too as it is quite shallow and calm.
The beach has some loungers and umbrellas with plenty of them available at 10:30 am. Past that time the beach gets a bit crowded, so I suggest that you bring your own beach umbrella.
There are toilets only about 100m from the main beach. There is also a shower and changing rooms. There is also a beach bar at the beach, but you should bring some food and water for the day with you as the bar sells only a few sandwiches that typically are sold out by 1:30-2 pm.
If you decide to arrive by car there is a parking lot above the beach.
How to get to Balos Beach
It might be a small journey to get to the beach, but the view and the turquoise waters will make the trip worth it. However, wear some proper shoes if you need to walk to the parking lot.
You have three options available to get to the beach.
Getting to Balos Beach by boat from Kissamos port
The easiest and most fun way to get to the beach is by boat. Boat cruises leave early in the morning from the port of Kissamos, which is around 3km from the small town of Kissamos. Food and drinks are provided on the boat too.
The biggest difference between getting a boat trip and driving to the beach by yourself is that by taking the boat you don’t have flexible hours as you do by driving, and the time in Balos beach is limited to usually 3 hours.
However, with the boat, you will also visit Gramvousa island where you will have a 2 hours stay.
Boat cruise tickets usually cost €25 per person. You will leave from Kissamos port and arrive at Gamvousa island, where you can stay for 2 hours. In Gamvousa, you can go swimming and you can go hiking as well.
Then the boat will depart for Balos beach, where you can relax at the pink sandy beach, swim in the warm aqua waters, and admire the magnificent view (3 hours stay).
If you easily get seasick pick a day with no wind if you want to go by boat.
Click Here to Book Your Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa From Kissamos Port.
From Chania: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour (the boat ticket is not included in the price).
From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay (the boat ticket is not included in the price).
From Heraklion: Full-Day Gramvousa and Balos Tour (the boat ticket is not included in the price).
Getting to Balos Beach by car
You can easily find the best route for Balos on Google based on where you stay. However, it’s not an easy route to reach by car, as the last 8km are on a challenging road, mostly unpaved with a lot of rocks around.
If you have a rented car, I suggest you check the contract first, as most car rental companies do not approve of going to Balos -so you will be basically on your own without any insurance. A good option is to rent a 4x 4 car.
If you’re traveling with kids, driving is a good option still but keep in mind the steep descent to the beach and the hike back to the parking area later in the day.
There is a parking space right above the Balos beach, around 25 minutes walking from the beach. Due to the place’s publicity, it might be difficult to find an empty parking slot especially during the summertime and high season in July and August, so I suggest you get there by 10 am to secure your spot.
The charging price is €2 per hour. Also, don’t forget your sneakers because the road up to the parking lot might be challenging with flip-flops.
I recommend booking a car through Discover Cars where you can compare all rental car agencies’ prices, and you can cancel or modify your booking for free. They also guarantee the best price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
By KTEL bus (Association of Bus Operators)
There is also a bus option available for your transportation to Chania town if you’re staying outside Chania. Once you arrive at Chania town, you can take the KTEL to Kissamos port, which is about a 1h and 10min route.
The ticket prices vary from €3 to €6. To go to Balos though, there’s no bus service available due to its difficult road, but you can take a taxi on-demand for €5 to €7 (7min route). You can check the KTEL timetable here.
Personally, I have been to Balos beach by car and boat and I loved the flexibility the car gave us. We were at the beach before anyone arrived and left when it started to get busy.
Weather at Balos Beach
Most of the summer in Greece is sunny and warm, so it is most likely to be sunny and possibly hot in Balos too. It’s rare to see waves on the beachside, and impossible in the lagoon.
There is also a great probability that the weather will be windy but not too much. I personally recommend you check a website 2-3 days prior to your trip to catch the best weather possible.
If the wind goes over 30-40km/h (wind speed/knots), or there are wind gusts of 50-60km/h (knots), then it’s better to postpone the trip for another day. There is usually no cancellation fee 24hrs prior to your booked date.
You can check this website for weather conditions and updates for your trip.
Tips for your visit to Balos Beach
TAKE THE FIRST BOAT. Try to catch the first boat leaving from Kissamos port at 10:20 am; You will have fewer people around and a higher chance of finding sunbeds and a parking slot.
BRING YOUR OWN FOOD. There is a bar at the beach but the quality is low and the portions are small, so carry some food with you. There are a few restaurants at the Kissamos pier but I would suggest you visit them only for a cup of coffee. Buy some food from a place close to your hotel or from Chania town. If you’re driving to Balos, you will pass by some bakeries in Kissamos.
BRING SOME CASH. There is a parking fee to pay and a fee for the sunbeds at Balos beach. Take some extra cash if you’re planning on ordering something from the beach bar.
Where to stay near Balos Beach
A trip to Balos beach is a must, but if you’re not keen on a 4-5 hour trip from Herakleion for example, you can book an overnight stay in Kissamos so you will be easily able to take the boat from the bay to Balos. You can check different deals for a hotel stay here.
FAQ About Balos Beach in Crete
Balos Beach is located in the western part of Crete. It is 52 km northwest of the town of Chania and 1km away from the town of Kissamos.
You can get to Balos beach by car or by boat. The boat leaves from the port of Kissamos. Alternatively, if you choose to drive to Balos beach a 4X4 or a high car is highly recommended as the road leading to the beach is in bad condition.