Balos Beach

Beach name: Balos (or Ballos) Beach
Location: Chania Crete
Our rating: 5/5 about
Our rating is based on our actual visit to the beach.
Visitors rating:

Click the stars to rate it

5 = Superb! Best we visited. Worth going far out of our way to swim there again
4 = Very good. We would go out of our way to swim there again
3 = Good. We would choose it for swimming among other beaches if we were in the area
2 = Average. We could go for swimming again if we happened to be in the area
1 = Just OK. The beach was fine for swimming and sunbathing one time
0 = Disappointing. We will not return to this beach

Note that these are our simple (and unscientific) observations based on our subjective experience during our visit

Balos beach, Chania, Crete
Balos beach
Chania, Crete
  • Beach berm:
  • Seafloor:
  • Water rating: 5/5 about
  • Access:
    Poor = Accessible by car, poor road, plus a long walk or climb
    Boat = Accessible by boat only

    Reaching Balos beach requires an act of pilgrimage, as it is fitting for such a fine landscape.

    You can drive to it via a very rough dirt road that would beat up your car. I drove part of the road myself in a 4x4 Subaru, and realized that the advice I got the day before was spot on. Locals in Kissamos had told me to drive a car through that road only if it were a "rental" because it is a very difficulty terrain. It was taking too long to drive in first and rarely, second gear that I decided to spare my car the aggravation very early on the trip. I've spoken with visitors who drove the whole way to Balos beach and they confirmed that it was difficult trip. At the end of the road, you still have to park and walk a goat path down (and later back up) the mountain.

    Alternately, and most presently, you can take a day-cruise from Kissamos. The small cruise boats don't offer many luxuries, and do pack as many passengers in as they can every morning, but the ride is very pleasant, sailing next to a very rugged coast, and making a stop at Gramvousa island before they reach Balos beach.

    The boats don't offer many luxuries besides a rudimentary bar that sells water, pop, beer, and snacks, but setting up a charcoal grill aft to prepare souvlaki for our lunch, and launching an inflatable slide off the side of the boat to let us splash in the deep blue waters when we stopped at Gramvousa more than made up for the Spartan accommodations on board.

    The only drawbacks about taking a boat to Balos, is that the ticket cost us 27 euro per person, and that you have to leave the beach when the boat leaves. It was a rewarding trip, but I could not help but think how beautiful the beach would be late in the afternoon after all the boats and crowds departed. Next time I'll rent a rugged jeep and drive to the Balos just so we can watch the sun set from the beach.
  • Amenities:
    NONE, bring your own drinking water and food, and don't forget to bring a parasol along. Without a shade, the sun can be relentless, and downright dangerous in the summer.
  • RV / Camper Accessibility:
    Site is unsuitable for RV driving or parking. There is really no way to get there with an RV. Park it at the port in Kissamos for the day and take the cruise to Gramvousa and Balos.
  • Snorkeling:
    Good snorkeling site
  • Notes:
    Balos (or Ballos) is one of the best beaches of Greece. In fact, in our top-ten best beaches of Greece, Balos is rated number one!

    That's how much we liked it. It offers spectacular scenery with the large rocky hill in the middle and the vast expanse of white sand that surrounds it. The shallow pools of sea water trapped in the sand are warm enough in the middle of the day to feel like your are gasking in hot springs, contrasting sharply with the constantly cool waters of the sea beyond the sand.

    Despite the crowds, it still feels like you have reached the end of the world. The landscape combines the raw power of hard rock, the chilly touch of the sea, and the vast proportions of the universe. Balos keeps your senses relaxed and yet alert. Absorbed in vastness, you feel powerful because you can decipher the world at a glance, and yet vulnerable because you are engulfed in the powerful proportions of isolation in paradise.

    We could not recommend Balos enough. We took the cruise with our two daughters and we all had an unforgeable family day together cruising on a boat, climbing to the rugged castle of Gramvousa that was the safe harbor of pirates for a long time, sliding down the inflatable water slide off the side of the boat, and of course, enjoying the beautiful sand and waters of Balos beach.

5 = the sea water was some the best for swimming. We would go way out of our way to swim there again
4 = sea water was excellent and inviting for swimming. We would go out of our way to swim there again
3 = very nice and clean sea. We would go swimming there again if we were in the area
2 = nice sea, we had a nice swim but we did not notice anything special about the water
1 = the sea water was not very inviting at the time we visited. We did more sunbathing than swimming
0 = the water did not seem suitable for swimming

Note that these are our simple (and unscientific) observations based on our subjective experience during our visit. We enjoy the water when it is crystal clear, and cool instead of warm. We don' like visible floating particles of any kind or algae settled on the beach.

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