When you decide to visit Greece, Crete should be on your list of must-see islands. With its stunning beauty, amazing beaches and a myriad of activities, it will be the perfect place for your next vacation. Balos lies 60 km north-west of Chania Town, and it’s among the best beaches in Greece. Should you decide to make a pit stop precisely on this beach, here’s what you can expect to see, do and where would be the best for you to stay and eat on Crete while visiting Balos Beach.
When you look from the hills above the beach, Balos will get a lovely shape of a lagoon. From exotic white sand to soft seabeds, and crystal water, this Greek beach will leave you in awe. The impressive colour palette of the water, mixed in with the pure beauty of the unique landscapes, makes Balos one of those beaches that feel like true heaven on Earth. A stunningly beautiful scenery, with views of Tigani and Gramvousa in the distance, will paint the marvellous picture of an unforgettable summer retreat. Across the beach, you’ll spot a rocky island – Gramvoussa. On top of the island lies a fascinating Venetian castle, with a gorgeous view of the region and the sea. Regardless of being situated in the northwest of Crete, Balos Beach still has the ambience of a tropical paradise in the middle of the Caribbean. For those staying in Chania, you should know that Balos is 56km away, which is a little over an hour of driving. However, being one of the favourite beaches among travellers worldwide, it’s definitely worth the drive. The best time to visit is from July till early September if you love to spend time tanning in the sun and soaking up all the wonders of the sea. Balos beach lacks facilities, so you’ll need to come there prepared with food and water, alongside everything else you’ll need for a day at the beach.
Crete is made for road trips. All of you born explorers out there, rent a car to be able to see every little corner of the island. It will make reaching Balos beach and other interesting locations much quicker and easier. The journey to the Beach will be very convenient as the roads on the island are in excellent conditions. However, when you reach the last 10 kilometres, right when you get to Kissamos, there will be loads of off-road trails and steep cliff edges.
Hike to Balos Beach
If you’re visiting the beach from Chania, you’ll obviously take the car to the majority of the road. However, once you reach the car park, you can take a moderate 25-minute hike down to the beach. That is a perfect option for everyone who loves to walk and enjoy fascinating viewpoints. On your way to do beach, you’ll encounter hordes of friendly-looking mountain goats, and a stall that offers donkey rides down to the beach. Why not go on one and have a full-on island experience. We suggest you wear decent sneakers and bring extra drinking water. It will be summer after all, and the last thing you need is to dehydrate mid your adventure.
Go on a guided tour
If you’re travelling to Crete for the first time and you’re not confident enough about self-driving, then you can always look up guided tours. From full-day trips to organized boat trips, and combinations of both there’s a variety of tours that will offer you a great trip to Balos beach. Unlike having to drive on your own and going through the hassle of worrying whether you’ll go the wrong way, with a guided tour, you’ll save a short hike down – plus you won’t have to drive all the way back after an afternoon of swimming and relaxing.
Thing to Do
Visit the Castle of Gramvoussa
You cannot come to Balos beach without visiting the monumental fortification that lies right across the beach. On the western side of Crete, you’ll find the remote island of Gramvoussa. It’s home to one of the most impressive castles in Greece. The Castle of Gramvoussa dates from Medieval times, and it’s a lovely representation of history still saved for the modern ages. This castle was constructed in 1579 by the Venetians, who had conquered Crete. The irregular shape of the castle with walls and ramparts from three sides makes this piece of architecture a true fascination for visitors around the world. You won’t be able to approach it from the north because of its unapproachable rocks. However, once you reach it from the accessible side, inside the castle walls, you’ll see underground cisterns, ruined buildings, a church dedicated to the Annunciation of Virgin and powder storage that was later used as a mosque. Be prepared for a steep rocky road up to the castle. Gear up and get ready to see some of the most astounding views in all of Greece. The view to the Aegean Sea will leave you breathless from up above.
Where to Stay
Crete has some of the most comfortable and welcoming accommodations. When you decide to make Balos beach your focus you can stay at Adelais hotel. This lovely establishment boasts 2 outdoor pools, a restaurant, and 2 pool bars. Perfect for both single travellers and families with kids. The accommodation features a lovely garden, and you can choose between the pool or side sea view rooms. All the rooms at Adelais feature comfortable beds, a bathroom, an air-conditioning system, and come with a satellite TV. You’ll also have a restaurant at your disposal and not worry about breakfast. With a variety of Greek dishes, salads, fruits and sweets in buffet style, you’ll be able to start your day healthy. The option of a buffet breakfast will be especially convenient for families with children. A pool bar will serve refreshing beverages when you choose to unwind there. Kids will have their own area in a paddling pool and playground. All public areas around Adelais are equipped with free Wi-Fi, and you can unwind on the sunbeds and under the umbrellas by the pool.
Antilia is another amazing suggestion when it comes to accommodation in Crete. The moment you reach the facility you’ll be impressed by its unique architecture and extensive gardens. Not to mention the awe-inspiring views of the turquoise blue waters of the Aegean Sea. At Antila apartments, you’ll get the chance to stay in one of 20 high-quality apartments, which are sectioned into three small individual units. All units are set up on a hillside only 250m from the main road. Rooms are fully equipped with an air conditioning system, a kitchenette and kitchenware, a safe, refrigerator, a hair dryer and free internet. At a large panoramic terrace, visitors will be able to splash in a swimming pool.
What and Where to Eat
Are you looking to try traditional Greek recipes in an intimate and relaxed dining atmosphere? At Grambousa Restaurant, you’ll get all that and much more. A true vacation experience that offers something different to every visitor who sets foot in this lovely establishment. While you wait to be seated, you can enjoy the fruit buffet with a variety of local sweets. It is free of charge with no limits. At Grambousa you can enjoy snails, an assortment of kalisounia, sardines, piglet chops, honey lamb in filo and gemista. No matter the choice of food you make, you’ll enjoy every bite as the food is prepared with love and attention to detail.
Kaliviani fish & Meat Taverna
For another amazing Greek food experience, head down to a small family-run restaurant – Kaliviani fish & Meat Taverna. When you wish to feel at home and taste the good old meals our nanas used to make, this is the perfect place for you. The baked feta starter and local lamb main course will leave your palate dancing in sweet pleasure. Kaliviani fish & Meat Taverna is a real culinary gem that you must visit if you want to make the most of your culinary experience in Greece. From fried zucchini and aubergine with feta to spicy cheese and saganaki you can have everything you’ve ever wanted to try from Greek cuisine. How about a real Greek salad? Or lamb cooked in a lemon sauce? All that plus fried calamari and so many other delicious meals are waiting for you at Kalivani fish & Meat Taverna.
A trip to Crete will be truly unforgettable. If you decide to go to Balos beach, make sure you follow our guidelines for the ultimate Greek vacation you’ll want to repeat at least once more in your lifetime.