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Balos Lagoon

Balos is a worldwide well-known lagoon with exotic beach white sand and clean crystal clear turquoise water. It is probably one of Crete’s most famous sights and one of the most exotic destinations.The famous lagoon is located 56Km northwest of Chania and 17Km northwest of Kissamos.  

The lagoon is formed by the proximity between the Gramvousa peninsula and Cape Tigani, a big square mass of land located right in front of Balos Beach. The natural beauty of Balos comprises a great variety of rare plants and animals which are unique in this part of the world. More specifically, about 400 species of plants have been registered, 25 of which are indigenous in Crete and 3 of which are indigenous only in the area of Balos. A significant distinctiveness of the lagoon is the seasonal fluctuation of the sea level and its salinity.

Opposite Balos Lagoon there are two small islands, Gramvousa and wild Gramvousa, the first is quite small and rocky, the other is much larger and features a castle built by the Venetians in 1584 and was used first by the Venecians and later from locals at the revolutions against the Turks. If you go there it s a must visiting the castle for its history but for the view as well. From the castle the view is really amazing!

In addition, Balos beach accommodates a great number of birds which are fed and bred in the area or shortly migrate here, as this place is a way stop during migration period. The caves of the area serve as nests for peregrine falcons, shags and cormorants. Balos is also a preserve for the protected Mediterranean seal and Caretta-Caretta sea turtle which visits the coast to feed itself and lay its eggs.

All above render the lagoon of Balos a nature reserve of great ecological value and rare natural beauty. It has been claimed a Natura 2000 site for years and it is a strictly protected area, such as a lot of other places in Crete.

There are three ways to get to Balos. By boat from the port of Kissamos (only in season) that will take you to the island of Gramvousa too, or by car but the last 8 kilometers is dirt road and if your car is not a 4x4 "all road" then will suffer. Also you need to walk about 30 min to reach the lagoon because the parking is on the hill but the view from there is amazing. However, the most exciting way to access Balos is by trekking for three hours from Kaliviani, crossing the rough and dry landscape of Gramvousa and the range of Platyskinos.

Balos tends to be overcrowded in summer. So if you do not like crowds, you’d better avoid to visit the beach in July and August or try to arrive very early in the morning.