Lagoon Crete Balos Beach how to get there & ultimate guide. This beach is one of the most characteristic and well-known beaches of Crete, but there are some things you should know before going there. For example: how to get there? Is it better to go by boat or by car? How is the dirt road that leads to Balos Lagoon? Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach? Are there bathrooms? Is there a bar?
This post will answer these and other questions related to the Balos lagoon and beach.
Video Crete Balos Beach
Watch the following short video before continuing reading.
This beach is one of the most characteristic and well-known beaches of Crete. You can get to this beach by boat or car, along a long unpaved, bumpy road that allows you to get to a parking lot that is still about twenty minutes from the beach.
The beauty and uniqueness of Balos beach are worth a visit at least. A tip though: if you can go in periods that are not too hot and crowded, you will surely enjoy a much better experience. This is true for all beaches but even more so for Balos beach, given the way you have to reach it.
Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas
In Balos, it is possible to rent deck chairs and umbrellas. Even though Balos is a very popular beach, it is not possible to reserve sun beds and umbrellas. How does it work then? As is customary in Crete, if you find a free place, you simply have to occupy it and the attendant then comes to ask you for payment.
For example, in periods of particular crowding, such as around mid-August, there is a paying agent for each area of umbrellas. On other less frequented beaches, the attendant arrives in the late morning but here, when there is a particular influx of tourists, they are practically always present.
Will I have trouble finding a free umbrella?
Clearly, the answer depends on the period in which you go to Balos. But thinking about the peak seasons, I can tell you that if you arrive early in the morning or around 9 am by car you shouldn’t have any problems finding a free umbrella. If, on the other hand, you arrive by boat from the port of Kissamos, you may have more problems, as the beach may already be quite crowded and the mass arrival of hundreds of people does not facilitate the arduous task of finding a free umbrella.
Fortunately, on the beach of Balos, many people are arriving but also many people go, depending on the departure time of your boat. So with a bit of patience, it is always possible to find a place.
If you come from Kissamos by boat, the alternative is to rent an umbrella on the boat that takes you or to use your staff. Anyway, my opinion is that it is not an optimal solution on days when there is wind.
Rental prices for sunbeds and umbrellas
The prices for renting sun loungers and umbrellas are not indicated on Balos beach. However, in August 2022, the prices were as follows:
- 20 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds in the first row
- 15 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds from the second row onwards.
Are there any bars in Balos?
Yes, there is a small beach bar on Balos. Here is the picture.
However, I recommend that you bring your lunch if possible. In Kissamos supermarkets, they sell the same packaged sandwiches you find on the boat to go to Balos or here at the beach bar.
Balos Beach toilets: Are there toilets at Balos beach?
Balos Beach toilets: are there toilets at Balos beach? Yes, there are toilets in Balos. They are located towards the mountain on the right if you have the sea in front of you and the lagoon behind you. The cost of using the toilet in August 2022 was 1 euro.
How is the seawater in Balos?
On days with little wind, you can really appreciate the beauty of Balos beach with its crystal clear water and its clear seabed that in some places has pink sand.
In Balos, you can keep walking in the water, but the water is always shallow. You have to go quite far from the beach if you want to swim.
Balos how to get there?
How to get to Balos? You can get to Balos either by car or by boat. The two most used ways to get to Balos are:
- by boat service departing from the port of Kissamos
- by car or jeep along the dirt road and continuing on foot along the path that leads to the beach
However, there are other ways to get to Balos:
- By renting a boat
- In JetSky
- Through organized tours
By car or jeep and dirt road
You can get to Balos by car in fact, just outside Kissamos, there is the entrance to the dirt road that takes you to the Balos car park. If you are thinking of choosing this option to go to Balos, I would first like to explain how to get there, how the route is, and I would like to give you some useful tips.
Can I take the dirt road to Balos by car?
Every day there are a lot of cars driving the dirt road to Balos. The dirt road to Balos is not very dangerous if you pay particular attention to the points where there is the overhang, as it is wide enough to pass with two cars without problems.
My advice, however, is to prefer the jeep to the car. This is because it is true that cars can drive on it and as already mentioned there are many cars of all kinds that pass along this road (I also saw a Porsche but I don’t know how it went ..) but the road is bumpy and they have to travel at a very low speed.
Especially if you have a small car unsuitable for certain routes, you can rent the jeep in Kissamos even just for the day you go to Balos. This way, you will not have problems with insurance and you’re safer.
In fact, you can find rental cars in Kissamos that rent jeeps for Balos; it is normal for them that you go to Balos, and they give you full insurance. Other car rentals may discourage you and tell you to prefer the boat to the car to go to Balos.
Is the dirt road to Balos free?
You have to pay 1 euro per person. Towards the beginning of your journey on the dirt road that leads you to Balos you will find the sign where it is written in English and Greek what I report below:
“Welcome to the Gamvousa-Balos peninsula, a protected natural area. We inform you that by the decision of the Municipality of Kissomos, which has been approved by the Region of Crete, a toll of 1 euro per person is required for the purpose of safeguarding and maintaining the place as well as for the disposal of waste from the area. “
How long does it take to travel the dirt road to Balos?
Getting from the port of Kissamos to the car park for Balos takes about 30 minutes by jeep but if you have a car, you have to go slower and it can also take about 40 or 45 minutes.
On the way, you may slow down or have to stop to let goats pass, the real masters of the place!
Parking at Balos Beach
Once you have arrived at the end of the dirt road, you’ll see the car park gate for Balos beach. The parking is large and if you don’t arrive too late, let’s say in the first half of the morning, you should find the place without difficulty.
Parking is not free but the cost is not high as it is around 2 euros for the whole day.
What happens if you can’t find a place in the car park? If the parking is complete, the alternative is to leave the car along the road. In fact, on our return from the beach, when were leaving, there was a long line of parked cars. If you park the car very far away, it is certainly inconvenient, as you have to add the road to the car to the long distance you already have to go on foot.
Balos hiking path to the beach
Did I get to Balos beach once I parked the car? It would be nice but it isn’t! Unfortunately, once you parked your car, you are not yet arrived at Balos beach. The car park is located in a higher position than the beach of Balos, and to reach the beach, you must first walk a path in the middle of almost nowhere in the company of practically only goats and then go down a long flight of steps.
The descent along the steps is wonderful because, first of all, the effort is reduced to a minimum downhill, and then because this path allows you to see the most beautiful view of Balos beach. The unique beauty of Balos beach is, in fact, given by its characteristic of being placed between the lagoon and the sea and of joining the promontory you see in front of you to the mainland.
To fully enjoy and appreciate Balos beach, you must therefore admire this panorama. If you walk the path early in the morning, you will be able to see the almost deserted beach and admire it in all its splendor. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to take some great photos. Not too many though, otherwise now that you get to the beach, you will find all the best sunbeds and umbrellas occupied!
Given the road ahead, I highly recommend you wear sneakers. The descent in this way is simpler and safer, without thinking about the ascent.
It takes about 30 minutes to get from the car park to the beach where there are umbrellas.
As we have seen so far, everything is fine when you go down but the problem is to go back up! It will take you between 30 and 45 minutes to get back up if you don’t stop and rest for too long. In fact, this path requires excellent resistance if done all in one breath.
It is almost impossible to do it all in succession in the summer during the hottest hours of the day. In fact, precisely for this reason, you will find small covered corners and therefore with a little shade made on purpose to rest during the ascent. I recommend you bring some water with you to quench your thirst along the way.
Also at the end of the path, where there is the car park, there is a canopy with benches where you can sit and rest for a while. At the end of the day, almost all of them sit under this canopy, a little tired but satisfied to have arrived.
If you have young children, you must take into consideration that you will probably have to carry them in your arms or on your shoulder for most of an already tiring journey.
Precisely a cause of this problem of the somewhat tiring ascent, many people choose to return to the Balos beach late in the evening. In the summer from Kissamos, you can see the cars returning from Balos even when it’s already dark. Returning late from Balos beach, you can avoid going up the path in the heat, which already gives you a great advantage.
Of course, the choice of time to return from Balos also depends a lot on the period in which you go, if warmer or milder, on your travel program, and on your resistance in the ascent. However, if you take into account the above, you can spend a beautiful day at Balos beach and this will certainly be a day to remember for various reasons.
Balos boat trip from Kissamos
A popular option to reach Balos beach is to embark from Kissamos port on one of the boats that go to Balos.
How to reach the port of Kissamos?
You can reach the port of Kissamos in various ways:
- by bus
- by taxi
- by car
Balos is a very famous beach, so there are several organized tours that depart in the morning from the main towns of Crete and take you to the port of Kissamos and then you can go to Balos. Furthermore, a taxi service is also available at the port of Kissamos.
However, the best option to get to Kissamos port is the car.
In fact, you can arrive by car at the port of Kissamos right near the ticket office and boarding areas. The parking is very large and free.
Boat tickets can be purchased directly at the port or online in advance. You can buy tickets online, for example, on the Cretan Daily Cruises website, or from booking apps such as “Get Your Guide”.
How are the boats for Balos?
The boats to Balos are of different sizes; someone is very big, almost ships. On the boats, among other things, there is usually an umbrella rental service and a real self-service.
If the boat you get on in the morning does not have self-service, they usually make you change boats between one stop and the other around lunchtime so that you can take advantage of the self-service. Lunch is clearly not included in the cost of the ticket.
How long before departure do I have to arrive?
If you already have a ticket, you can arrive 30 minutes before departure but it is advisable to arrive 45 minutes earlier. This way, you can find a good shade seat on the boat.
If you do not have a ticket, it is better if you arrive 45 or 50 minutes before departure so that you can take your tickets calmly and get on the boat.
Is there only one boat departure time?
No, there is more than one boat departure time.
Do the boats go directly to Balos?
The tour with the boats departing from Kissamos does not only include Balos. Depending on the departure time of your boat, you could go first to Gramvousa island and then to Balos or vice versa.
For example, our boat left at 10.15 am from Kissamos port and we didn’t go directly to Balos but we went first to Gramvousa island. Around 1 pm, the boat with the self-service on board came to pick us up and we were able to have lunch on the way between the island of Gramvousa and the beach of Balos.
The boat that left Kissamos at 11 am went first to Balos and then to the island of Gramvousa at around 2 pm.
On Balos beach between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, there is therefore a bit of overcrowding due to those who arrive with one boat and those who have yet to leave with the other. However, this coming and going of passengers allows those arriving with the second boat to find, with a little patience, some free umbrellas, left by those who have to leave.
How long is the stay on Balos beach?
The stay on Balos beach is about a couple of hours. It is true that on the program, the scheduled time on Balos beach is more but you must keep in mind any delays, the time of disembarkation, and the fact that you must leave your position on the beach a little earlier than the departure time. departure so that you have no problems.
By renting a boat
To get to Balos, you can also rent a boat and head directly to the beach. In this case, however, the boat must remain beyond the safety line. In any case, the bottom of the beach is very shallow and you can reach the beach on foot.
Very interesting is the JetSky Safari proposed by “Falassarna Activities” ( https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari ). This Safari departing from Falassarna beach allows you to reach Balos beach as a group on board a jet ski.
The stay at Balos beach is very limited but I think this tour is interesting for those who want to go on a jet ski ride and see Balos beach at the same time.
Various private services take you to Balos beach. For example, always at Falassarna beach, you can find a private transport service that takes you to Balos beach and allows you to stay on the beach for a few hours (https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari).
To get to the beach, you still have to get into the water and walk in the water to the shore.