Balos beach on Crete is probably one of the best looking beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. Located on the Northwest part of Crete you will discover a laguna that is famous for her long white beaches and clear turquoise water. It might even feel like your at some tropical destination when you overview the beach and see Gramvousa in the distance. A visit to one of the best Crete beaches can’t be missed when planning a road trip on Crete.
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How to reach Balos Beach
There are two options to reach Balos and they are both a very different experience.
Organized Boat Trip
The first option to get there, is with an organized boat trip. If you plan a guided trip like this, keep in mind that your stay will be short and that there will be a lot of other people at the same time. For us that wasn’t the kind of experience we were looking for when discovering the exotic beach of Balos bay.
Rent a car
The second option is way more attractive. Crete is the perfect island for a road trip so we prefer renting a car. From Rethymnon it takes around 100km to reach the lagoon of Balos. If you start at Chania the distance is 55km. Both cities are highly recommended to visit during your stay on Crete island.
Once you reach Kissamos you will have to drive off road for 10km along a cliff edge. If you drive slowly it isn’t that impressive but in high season it can be a bit more difficult with more people driving along the cliff.
When you plan to drive to Balos beach ask your car rental service about the insurance for driving off road. Usually it is not a problem but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Hiking your way to the beach
Once you reach the car park at the end of the cliff road, it takes 25 minutes of hiking to get to the beach. Even though the hike isn’t that hard, It is good to wear some decent sneakers. During the hike down you walk along some mountain goats and halfway you can enjoy the stunning view at the Balos viewpoint.
From the viewpoint it is possible to travel down by donkey but we chose to let the donkeys be and walk by ourselves. We did it in a quite relaxing pace and took some photos along the way.
Don’t mind to take some rest during your way back up. It can be quite an exhausting climb while the sun is up. It’s also a good idea to bring some extra water with you. Ooh, and don’t forget to bring something to cover your head.
Discovering Balos beach
Arriving at the beach while there is no one around is such a great experience. The white beaches and clear turquoise water make you feel like your in the middle of an exotic paradise. You can easily spend a full day walking through the shallow waters of Balos while enjoying the surrounding scenery of Tigani and Gramvousa.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is as early as possible. In the afternoon there will be significantly more people around as most guided tours will arrive at Balos from around 10AM. One benefit, the people that come with a boat tour often don’t stay that long.
We visited this place during shoulder season so we can only imagine how crowded it will be during high season. So if your thinking about a trip to Crete, don’t mind skipping high season.
The weather in crete
Late October to April - Not so much going on at the island as it is winter. When going in low season expect rain and low temperature.
May, June, late September and early October - Perfect time with less tourists around. Expect sunny days with good temperature but not as hot as in summer.
July to early September - The busiest period of the year. Expect higher prices and more people around. The weather is absolutely great during this period and so is the Crete nightlife.
The best Crete beaches
Crete is the largest island of Greece and that comes with a coastline of 1,046 km. This results in several beautiful beaches with clear turquoise water.
One of the nicest beaches on Crete is Elafonissi beach on the Southwestern part of the island. This beach stands out for having clear water and a beach made out of pink sand.
Close to Balos in Kissamos you have a large beach named Falassarna beach. This place is perfect for relaxing and has all the facilities you need for a beach day. This location is great if you are in to windsurfing.
Preveli beach is known as a palm beach. It is located 35km South of Rethymnon and 10km east of Plakias. A special thing about Preveli beach is that there is a river that flows directly into the sea. Close to the beach you can find the Preveli monastery.
Where to stay in Crete
Porto Veneziano Hotel - Close to the venetian harbour of Chania but not in the busiest part of town. With a panorama view over the sea and harbour, excellent rooms and quality service this is one of the finest places in Chania.
Ammos suites - An aparthotel that has everything you need. The design of the room looks great and each room has a balcony or sun terrace. They have an outdoor swimming pool and the beach is at 10 meter walking distance. The town center of Rethymnon is located within 800 meters.
Kalypso cretan village resort & spa - If you come mainly to relax this place is amazing. Located between the mountains and directly at sea this hotel provides the most stunning scenes. With facilities like an infinity pool, a private beach where you can dive and a spa this place will help you ease your body and mind.
If you stay at Kalypso it would be wise to rent a car if you want to explore the island.
Abaton Island Resort & Spa - This is one of the finest looking resorts on the island. They offer luxurious guesthouse, suites and villas. The design is inspired by the surroundings and all accommodation options offer either an outdoor terrace, private pool or an outdoor hot tub.
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What do you think of this beach on Crete? Share your thoughts in the comments below!