Balos beach Chania

Cruise in Gramvousa and Balos by Ferry

    Both Gramvousa – also known as the island of pirates – as well as the Lagoon of Balos are two places that are definitely worth a visit with your family if you are in the western part of Crete. You’ll be overwhelmed by the wild natural beauty, the exotic scenery, and crystal clear water.

    How can you visit Balos and Gramvousa?

    There are several ways you can visit Balos and Gramvousa.

    • You can either take a big ferry or
    • Drive & Hike or
    • Rent a private sailing boat for a Family Sailing trip to Balos

    Take the Ferry

    If you are interested in going to Balos-Gramvousa by ferry, bear in mind that the cruise ship (ferry) departs from the port in Kissamos and after an hour, it arrives at the small island of Gramvousa for a stop of about 2 hours.

    In Gramvousa, you can swim at the small beach or hike up the donkey track to the remains of the 16th-century Venetian castle from where there are stunning views. The walk takes you to a height of 137mts and good footwear is recommended. If you want to take it easy you can stay on board and enjoy a picnic lunch or purchase food from the restaurant.

    The next stop is the lagoon of Balos, a 15 minutes sail from Gramvousa, where expectations will be exceeded when you see the Mediterranean in its full splendor with pink sand and calm water with so many different shades of blue and green.

    Drive & Hike

    You can rent a car and drive to the Balos Beach. You must leave the car in the parking lot & hike down a total of 2.4 km (1.5 miles) of hiking. It is probably the most scenic way, however, the most tiring.

    By Private Sailing Boat

    We highly recommend that you visit Balos and Gramvousa by private boat and enjoy a full day with the family: Family Sailing in Balos-Grambousa

    Ask for info!

    Families should know


    • The ship departs daily from the port of Kissamos which is a drive of about 40 minutes west of Chania city
    • Disembarkation at Balos is done with smaller boats
    • If you want to walk up to the castle don’t wear sandals or flip-flops
    • Don’t forget to take a hat and sunscreen for everyone
    • The ferry may be fairly crowded and feel for mass tourism, but fortunately, there is enough space for everyone at the lagoon
    • You can book the ferry tickets at CRETAN DAILY CRUISES
    • During the cruise, there is an audio tour in several languages
    • You can buy food and drink on the ferry
    Address: Kasteli Kissamou - Gramvousa-Balos, Chania, Crete, Greece

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    Kids will love

    • The sea shells they’ll find in the sand
    • The inflatable slide board on the ship from where you can plunge straight into the sea
    • The legend of the hidden pirate treasure in the castle of Gramvousa

    Parents will love

    • The path between steep cliffs and coves
    • The view from the Venetian castle in Gramvousas
    map Explore the map

    Best season to visit

    • summer
    • autumn
    • winter
    • spring
    • All
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    • Onboard the boat you have several choices of food and drinks. We found the staff to be very polite. We also loved the background music.

    • I could never imagine that such a stunning place exists in such close proximity to Chania. Our kids were really upset when we left Balos.


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