And my top pick for the most beautiful beach in the world:
The Balos Lagoon!
Situated at the most northwestern tip of Crete, at the end of the Gramvousa peninsula, is an exquisite piece of paradise.
The drive to Balos from Kissamos is only a little less than 10 miles but it takes about 45 minutes in a car. The immensely rocky, uneven road provides some of the most stunning seaside views, especially with the morning sun rising from the east.
It costs 1 Euro per car to park at Balos. What I didn’t know before getting to the parking lot was that getting to the Lagoon required a hike down (and of course, back up) the mountain. In the Cretan summer heat of over 100 degrees, this can be very tiring. I suggest wearing the right shoes and bringing along some water.
There is a path leading from the parking lot heading into the mountains but, the destination isn’t in sight as of yet.
After exiting out from between the mountains, the destination can finally be seen, supplying a true breathtaking view.
This is where the trek down begins to look intimidating!
But with the right mindset, it’s doable and it’s so, very worth it!
Once reaching the bottom, pristine transparent waters complemented with pink sand can be seen.
Of all the places I’ve been in the world, I have never been as awe-struck as I was when I reached the Balos Lagoon.
After enjoying a full day in the sun, it was inevitably time to make the trek back up the mountain. We stopped at the concession stand on our way up to grab some fresh waters for the hike.
The path is uneven and sometimes steep, but I didn’t give in to using the donkey riders!
I also wasn’t ashamed of stopping to catch my breath and grab a drink of water on the way up, mainly because I was able to get some great snaps of the landscape.
Finally, we reached the top and were greeted by some friendly little goats.
When visiting the Balos Lagoon, make the hike earlier in the morning than later. We began at about 9 a.m., allowing us to have better choices for spots to spend the day on the beach near the shore.
Ferries will show up beginning at 11 a.m. and on for a couple of hours. The beach becomes overly packed during these times, so I would suggest making the drive to Balos independently if you’re able to. Once a ferry leaves along with over half of the beach, you almost feel like you have the beach to yourself.