0.6 miles

Route Type



Added by Andreas Brokalakis

The turquoise lagoon of Balos in Western Crete

The lagoon of Balos is located on the northwestern end of Crete and it is probably one of the most famous beaches in Crete. Famous for its turquoise waters and an impressive surrounding landscape that includes mountains and small islands, it is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

The lagoon may be approached in two different ways. The easiest is by ferry from Kissamos port, however since there is no adventure in that one, I would suggest the combination of car and rather short but highly rewarding hike to the lagoon. A dirt road starts from Kaliviani village and takes you to a parking area above the lagoon, where you can park your car or motorbike. The dirt road is approximately 10km long. It should be noted that depending on the rains during winter time and the traffic, the condition of the road may not be very good and hence an SUV type of car is preferable (also note that a lot of car rentals will not allow you to go to Balos if you rent a normal car). A small fee for the preservation of the landscape has to be paid.

From the parking area, the trail is clear and cannot be missed. It is about 1km long and it consists of many steps. The view above the lagoon is magnificent and captivating. However bear in mind that the return is from the same path and therefore can be tiring because of the inclination. You will need approximately half an hour to descend to the lagoon and a bit longer on the way back. The trail is super easy, so therefore you can safely do it with children and the sandy beach and shallow waters of the lagoon offer a good family experience.

There are some caveats that you need to consider before planning your visit to the lagoon. First of all, since it is a trail that you need to descend/ascend, it is highly recommended not to wear flip-flops but hiking or simply athletic shoes. Once in the lagoon, there are no shops or other facilities (though during the most popular months, it is possible that someone will have setup something in the beach), so remember to bring water and some snacks with you. And of course, especially in the very hot months of June to August, a hat and proper sun protection is of utter importance to protect yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that the place is very popular to tourists and therefore in the months of July and August, thousands of people may be in the lagoon (most of them arriving by ferry). This creates a rather unpleasant experience. So, if you really want to enjoy the place consider to plan your visit during spring time or early autumn (the photos that I added were shot in February). If this is not possible, then an alternative would be to visit the place early in the morning, before the ferries arrive.

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