Bay of Balos in Crete. Description, photo, coordinates.

Bay of Balos in Crete. Greece

Balos – a place where the three seas meet, and almost never storms. This is one of the many (still) a beautiful corner of the world untouched by civilization.

Amazingly beautiful place is the meeting point of the three seas: the Aegean, the Ionian and the Libyan. Although there are no clear boundaries between the seas, it is considered that these three seas meet here. In addition, it is clearly visible that the color of the water in different parts of the bay of Balos strikingly different.

Where is Balos Bay

This unique area can be found on the west coast of Crete in the region of Kissamos, in the northern part of the peninsula Gramvousa, 10 km north of Kaliviani settlement. The cove lies between the main part of Crete and Tigani Island. Although Tigani is considered part of the Gramvousa Peninsula.

Bay of Balos. Crete

Bay of Balos. View from high above.

What is Balos

When it comes to Balos, you should know that the place can actually be divided into Balos Lagoon and Balos Beach, which together cover an area of about half a square kilometer. The size of Balos is about 500 meters by 1 kilometer.

Bay of Balos in Crete

Balos Beach

The superb sandy beach of Balos is just north of Balos Lagoon. It is one of the most famous beaches of Crete. But it has no modern tourist attractions. There are no jet skis or “banana boats”. It is practically a “wild” beach, preserving its original form as much as possible. White coral sand with small pink flecks are sure to please you.

The only reminder of the tourists is the presence here beach umbrellas, deck chairs, well as the tourists themselves of course. In recent times, sometimes trays with food and drinks began to appear.

Beach Balos

Balos Beach

Lagoon Balos

Lagoon is a shallow bank south of the beach. This is a real “paddling pool” for kids. The depth of the lagoon is shallow, so the water temperature is more than comfortable.

The variety of shades of blue is an interesting feature of the water in Balos Bay. Add to this the striking transparency of the water, and you get another real piece of paradise on our planet.

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The geographic location of the bay has contributed to the fact that it is almost never stormy. Even if the sea in the area is rough, Balos Bay is a safe place to hang out.

There is a small disadvantage of the lagoon in that its shallow waters contribute to the growth of some micro-organisms, causing the occasional unpleasant smell.

Bay of Balos

Balos Lagoon

Be that as it may, both the beach and the lagoon are inseparable from each other. Therefore, it is not necessary to make any distinction between them.

Note another interesting bay Navagio on the Greek island of Zakynthos. But you can get there only by sea.

How to get there

Tourists usually get to Balos by two ways.

The first route is overland. It starts from Kaliviani and goes to the parking lot 1 kilometer from the beach. If you go by car, you should remember that the dirt road is not quite good. It is about 8 kilometers long. At the end of the road there is a parking lot at an altitude of about 100 meters above sea level. There is also a small store. To get to the beach, head west. The path, a kilometer long, ends with a stone staircase built in 1999.

The second route is the sea route, from the town of Kissamos. Typically, a visit to Balos Bay is part of a tour of the “pirate islands. But remember, you will only have 1 hour to visit Balos.

If you do not like the crowds of tourists, it is better to avoid visiting the beach in July and August. To experience the full splendor of Balos Bay, go there in the morning, before the ferry arrives from Kisamos.

Balos Lagoon in Crete – the meeting point of the three seas

If you are going to Greece to the island of Crete, be sure to visit the confluence of three seas – the Bay of Balos, without it explore the beauty of Crete is incomplete. Bay of Balos attracts tourists with the clearest beaches of the unique lagoon, pristine nature and postcard views, worthy of the cover of National Geographic. We’ve gathered for you all the information you need to visit this paradise.

Bay of Balos

Where is the Bay

The location of this unique lagoon in Greece is on the island of Crete. Balos Bay lies on the west coast of the narrow, blade-like peninsula of Gramvousa, stretching northwards from the western tip of Crete. The closest settlements are the village of Kaliviani and the town of Kissamos, on the bay of the same name on the northwest coast of the island. The distance to the nearest large town of Chania is around 50km.

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Bay features

From the west bay of Balos is bordered by Tigani. It is a rocky ridge, the top of which is about 120 m high. At the entrance of the bay is an uninhabited rocky island Imeri Gramvousa. These natural barriers protect the bay from winds and storm waves, the sea here is mostly calm.

The shore and the bottom of the bay are covered with white sand

The shore and the bottom of the bay are covered in white sand with small particles of shells, giving the beach a pinkish color. The water in the bay strikes with a wealth of colors, replacing each other. Here you can count up to 17 different shades of blue and green, making the lagoon Balos in the photo looks very picturesque. This is one of the most beautiful places not only in Crete, but in the whole of Greece.

Such an unusual color of the water is due to the fact that near the bay is the boundary of the three seas: the Aegean, Libyan and Ionian. The waters of different temperature and chemical composition, mixing together, reflect the blue of the sky in different ways, creating a unique game of colors of the water surface.

But the main feature that makes the beach unique is the lagoon of Balos, which is located in the coastal part of the bay. Cape Tigani in Crete, which separates the bay, is connected with the peninsula by two sandy spits. Between the two spits a shallow lagoon is formed, a unique natural pool, protected from the elements. In one of the spits there is a channel that connects the lagoon with the sea at high tide.

Bay of Balos in Crete

Due to its shallow depth, the transparent water of the lagoon warms up well, and the natural isolation from sea waves ensures a constant calm in its water area. In combination with the clean white sand of the beach, this makes the lagoon an ideal place for bathing children. Adults can have lots of fun on the beach at this natural pool and if you want, you can find deep places for swimming.

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Rest in the lagoon

To preserve the natural uniqueness and purity of the bay of Balos, she was given the status of reserve. The entire surrounding area, including beaches, is under the protection of environmental organizations, so the beach infrastructure is very modest.

Beach Balos in Crete

The beach of Balos in Crete offers only the rental of sun loungers and umbrellas, which are scarce at times of tourist influx. There is no natural shade on the beach, so it is advisable to bring an umbrella. On the coast there is only a small cafe near the parking lot, to which the beach to go uphill at least 2 km.

Balos beach offers no entertainment, but it does not need it. People come here to enjoy swimming in the warm azure waters of the lagoon, remembering and photographing the pristine beauty of exotic nature. This is the best vacation for relaxation and peace.

Swimming at Balos beach

Lovers of excursions in the bay is also something to do. You can walk around the Cape Tigani and see the chapel of St. Nicholas. Climbing to the upper observation deck, you can admire the picturesque panorama of the bay from a bird’s-eye view and take great pictures.

The Venetian Fortress

On Imeri Gramvousa island, tourists have the chance to see an old Venetian fortress as well as ruins of buildings erected in the 18th and 19th centuries by Cretan pirates and rebels against the Turkish invaders.

How to get there by sea

Port Kisamos

The port of Kissamos is the starting point for the ferry to Balos Bay, located 3.5 km from the homonymous settlement. Even closer to the port is the village of Trahilos (0,5 km), so if you want to get to the port on your own, buy a ticket to Trahilos. From Chania you can get to Trahilos by bus, travel time is about 1 hour and the ticket price is about €6-7.

If you plan to get to Trahilos on your own, you’ll have to take into consideration that the boats sail only during the season and only in the morning, starting at 10 o’clock. Tickets start at €27 and take approximately one hour. Usually the boat trip includes a tour of the island Imeri Gramvousa.

Balos Lagoon Excursion

The best way to visit the lagoon Balos in Crete, Greece, is to book a trip with a tour operator. The trip includes:

  • Transportation by bus from the hotel to the port of Kisamos;
  • Voyage to Balos;
  • sightseeing program;
  • beach vacation;
  • Return by sea to the port of Kisamos;
  • Bus transfer to your hotel.
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This excursion usually lasts a full day. The cost will depend on the location of your stay, tour operator rates, and the tour program. The minimum price is from € 50. In the cities of Cyprus, too distant from Kisamos (Heraklion and beyond), such excursions are not offered.

You can rent a boat

For wealthy people there is an opportunity to rent a boat and go to the Bay of Balos (Greece) without reference to the schedule of sea voyages. It will cost from € 150 to rent a boat. For lovers of privacy is a great opportunity to visit the bay before the arrival of tourists who arrive by boat. Among the disadvantages of the trip by sea is the lack of spectacular views of the bay, which opens when approaching it from the mountain. But once you arrive at the beach, you can climb up to the observation deck of Cape Tigani and catch up.

How to get there by land

The way to Balos Lagoon on Crete by land, as well as by sea, starts from the town of Kissamos or from the neighboring village of Trahilos. If you go out of season or in the afternoon, the overland trip is the only way to get to the lagoon, apart from the expensive boat rental. The road to the bay goes through the small village of Kaliviani.


The final stop in this case is the parking lot above Balos, from which you have to walk another 2 km down to the beach. Near the parking lot is the only cafe on the territory of the reserve. You can reach the parking lot by renting a car or ordering a cab, but not every driver will agree to go there. Besides in the second case you are likely to come back on foot, and it is about 12 km down the hill. Another option is to book an individual tour by car through a travel agency, which will not be cheap.

Signpost at the cafe

The road to Balos is not long – about 12 km, but it is unpaved and leads uphill, so the trip takes at least half an hour. The driver is asked to be very careful, because if the rented car is damaged on dirt road, it won’t be considered insured.

The ride from the beach back to the parking lot is uphill and locals often offer mules and donkeys for a lift starting at €2.

The prices on the page are for March 2019.

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Helpful tips

Don't forget your sunscreen

  1. If your goal is photos of beautiful views, you need to go up to the observation deck before 10 am. Later in the day, the position of the sun will not allow for high quality photos. Boats start running from 10.00, so you have to go to the bay of Balos (Crete) for photos by car or by renting a boat.
  2. When you go on holiday don’t forget the sunscreen, umbrella, drinks, hats, food and anything else you might need. You won’t be able to buy anything on the lagoon beach. Some of the food and drinks you can buy only at the café in the parking lot or at the boat buffet on the trip by sea.
  3. When planning a trip by car to Balos (Crete), it is recommended to rent an off-road vehicle, because there is a risk to damage the bottom of a normal car and to puncture the tires with sharp stones.
  4. On dirt road do not drive more than 15-20 km/hour, do not stay close to the rocks, there are many recent rocks with sharp edges. The width of the dirt track is wide enough for two cars to easily pass each other.
  5. The parking area above the bay is small and may be empty by midday, so it is advisable to arrive early in the morning to avoid leaving your car on the road.

Balos Bay is one of the amazing places of our planet, if you are lucky enough to vacation in western Crete, do not miss the opportunity to visit this exotic lagoon.

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