Balos beach, Kissamos, Chania

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Author: Giannis Foudoulakis
Balos Beach in Kissamos, Chania, West Crete

Balos is a beautiful lagoon at the northwest side of Gramvousa peninsula 53 km west from the city of Chania. A single glance is enough for someone to understand that this is not just a beach but one of nature's finest masterpieces. Balos has been the theme of countless postcards, photos and tourist guide covers and it has been adored by the thousands of tourists that arrive here every year.

There are two ways to get to Balos. One is to embark on one of the boats that make everyday cruises starting from the port of Kissamos. Prices are generally high, yet you will have the chance to see the rugged coastline of Gramvousa peninsula, dive into the turquoise waters of Imeri Gramvousa Island and visit its fortress. Another way to get to Balos is by car and that involves a little hiking as well. The first thing you have to do is to drive to Kalyviani village. A dirt road starts from the center of the village and after 8 km it ends at the parking area that serves the beach. Getting to Balos is relatively easy and there are many signs after Kissamos that will lead you there. Note that in order to drive to the beach you will have to pay a municipal fee of € 1 per person. At the parking lot you will also see a canteen, as well as the entrance of the path that leads to the beach. Hiking should take you approximately 20 minutes and the path is safe and easy even for young children. Ascending back might give you a hard time but it is certainly worth the effort.

The thin white sand turns the shallow and warm waters of the lagoon to all shades of blue and turquoise. At the beach you will find sun beds, umbrellas and a canteen from where you may buy water or a snack. If possible, try not to get here at weekends or at the peak of the tourist season if you want to avoid crowds. In any other case, try to arrive early if you want to grab a couple of sun beds. Same as the rest of Gramvousa peninsula, Balos is listed as a Natura 2000 protected area, so please take nothing and leave nothing behind. If you stay at the beach until late in the afternoon, then take no hurry to leave; walk higher up the path and enjoy one of the most breathtaking sunsets you have ever seen.

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