We rate Balos as the best beach in Greece because it ticks all the right boxes. The sand is expansive, soft, with white and pink hues. The invigorating sea, the rugged landscape, and the isolation will make your visit a unique experience.
Reaching Balos beach requires an act of pilgrimage, as be fitting for such a spectacular landscape.
We rate Balos as the best beach in Greece because it ticks all the right boxes. The sand is expansive, soft, and white with pink hues, while the water is crystal clear and inviting to swim in it.
But most of all, it has this unique, rugged, and unspoiled beauty owed to its relative isolation. Swimming at Balos beach is not just a day in the sun. It’s an experience to be remembered.
- Our Overall Rating: 5/5
- Our Rating of What the Water Feels Like: 5/5
- Beach Berm: Soft sand
- Seafloor: Soft sand
- Access: Boat (Accessible by boat only)
- Amenities: None, bring your own parasol, drinking water, and food. The day-cruise boats do serve food and snacks, and a shack with a “taverna” sign springs up at times (as is a “donkey taxi” station by enterprising locals).
- RV / Camper Accessibility: Site is unsuitable for RV parking
- Water Sports: No water sports available on the beach
- Snorkeling: Not a good snorkeling site
Notes: Balos is our top rated beach in Greece. It is truly worth traveling around the world to be there.
The expansive sand beach berm and the turquoise sea water engulf the senses in a warm feeling of isolation.
The imposing “Tigani” rock anchors the sandy bars and contrasts sharply with the soft sand to complete the landscape.
One of the most exciting parts of the beach are the shallow pools of sea water trapped in the sand. They are at most 20 cm deep and by mid-day they are heated enough by the sun rays to make you feel as laying in a hot tub.
Best Time to Visit Balos Beach
The sunshine and the beach are open all summer long, so any time is good . We would probably advise getting there in late May, the entire month of June or September because you will be exposed to the sun for most of the day.
July and August are also good options, but you would be better off carrying extra sunscreen and water because the sun rays are relentless during this time.
Getting to Balos
You can drive to Balos via very rough dirt road, or you can go on a day-cruise with a boat from Kissamos.
If you drive, be aware that at the end of the road, you still have to park and walk a goat path down (and later back up) the mountain.
The small cruise boats don’t offer many luxuries, and they do pack as many passengers in as they can every morning. But the sailing next to a very rugged Cretan coast is very pleasant, and making a stop at Gramvousa island and its imposing castle before reaching Balos beach is an extra bonus.
The boats don’t offer many luxuries besides a rudimentary bar that sells water, pop, beer, and snacks. However, 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 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 It is a rewarding trip, but as we departed late in the afternoon to sail back to Kissamos, we could not help but imagine how beautiful the beach would be late in the afternoon after all the boats and crowds departed.
Next time we plan to rent a rugged jeep and drive to the Balos just so we can watch the sun set from the beach.
Where to Stay
You will find the nearest accommodations on Kissamos town, Trahilos, or Kaliviani villages.
Don’t be fooled by hotels that have the word “Balos” in their name because they are not any closer to the beach than the aforementioned places.
The boats for Ballos leave very early in the morning, so if your hotel is much farther (like in Chania town which is about one hour away from Kissamos) you would need to rise very early and drive to the harbor.
Where/What to Eat
The day-cruise boats do offer lunch (grilled souvlaki on our trip), snacks, and drinks, but you might want to bring your own water because you will go through a lot in the summer heat during the long day of sun exposure.
Reports of a make-shift taverna have reached our ears, but in our visit there was no such thing. Either we were lucky enough to be there before such entrepreneurial ventures reached it, or it’s a seasonal affair. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with your own water supply at a bare minimum.
Click here to see Balos beach on the map and to get directions