And my top pick for the most beautiful beach in the world goes to this gem, The Balos Lagoon.
Situated in the Gramvousa peninsula at the most northwestern tip of Crete sits an exquisite piece of paradise, a place where every traveler should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Here’s the Breathtaking Balos Lagoon:
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 that hugs the edge of the sea provides some of the most stunning views, especially with the morning sun rising from the east. Be careful if you’re driving here in your rental car; the large rocks could damage the underbody. Also, watch out for billygoats! Their home to free range are these cliffs so they tend to block the road at times. Don’t worry, though, they’re super friendly. The charge to park at Balos is 1 Euro, which helps the locals maintain this area as a tourist spot.
If you don’t want to drive to Balos, ferries make daily trips to the lagoon from the port of Kissamos. Try the Cretan Daily Cruises company, with 3 separate departure times for cruises around Gramvousa and to Balos.
Finding the Lagoon
What I didn’t know before getting to Balos was that reaching the Lagoon actually requires a hike down (and of course, back up) the mountain. In the Cretan summer heat, this can be very tiring. I suggest wearing the right shoes and bringing along some water for the trip.
There’s a gravel pathway leading from the parking lot and heading across the plain through the cliffs. After about a 5-10 minute walk, the destination can finally be seen, supplying a stellar view.
Making the Trek Down
This is where the hike begins to look intimidating! I’ll be honest, I got to this edge and looked down, looked back at my husband and asked if we should even try it, just knowing we’d have to eventually come back up. Of course we had to go, I just had a little moment of hesitation.
We begin the walk down, staggering around loose rocks and trying not to break an ankle. After about 10 minutes, we finally reach the sand at the bottom and my goodness was it worth it.
The most rewarding part of the entire hike down is what you’re greeted with when you make it. Pink sand, and in more concentrates than at Elafonisi, dominate the shores, with transparent teal waters sloshing up in the sand.
While there are some beach chairs and umbrellas to rent around the lagoon, we brought our own and found a prime spot near the shore. There is also a concession stand that opens early, offering a wide range of sandwiches, snacks and refreshments.
As you can imagine, the first thing I wanted to do after we found a spot was tear my shorts off and run into the water; the most refreshing thing I could’ve asked for after that hike!
Making the Trek Back Up
After enjoying a full day in the sun, it was inevitably time to make the trek back up the mountain. We literally were putting off leaving all day and had to pep-talk ourselves before we left to head up. To my surprise, it really wasn’t that bad though. We stopped at the concession stand on our way 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.
At the top, we were greeted by some friendly guys seemingly wanting some attention!
Quick-Tips on Visiting the Balos Lagoon:
- Make the hike earlier in the morning rather 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., packing the beach. Be sure to stake your spot as the beach becomes quite cramped.
- Bring shoes with grip and an adequate amount of water for the hike
- Bring your own beach umbrella so you don’t have to pay for one
- Bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks
Like This Post? Pin It!
Shop My Beach Must-Have’s!
*Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, I could receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.