Guide To Visiting Balos Lagoon in Crete
The famous Balos Lagoon is a must see if you are visiting the island of Crete. Between the turquoise water, white sand and even some pink sand, this beach is definitely a slice of heaven. Though this beach is not the easiest to get to, you will not be disappointed in making the trek to this natural beauty!
Getting to this beach was an adventure, literally. For our day trip, we rented a car in Chania then made the drive to Balos. When we decided to make the trek there were a few things we did not know at the time. Firstly, you need some euros to pay to get in, and secondly, part of the drive is on an unpaved road. Apparently, you are taking a huge risk if you drive a rental car on an unpaved road, and you can be liable should anything happen to the car. Though our car was fine and we did not end up paying anything extra while returning the car, I highly advise against renting a car and driving to Balos. Also the drive on the 8km dirt road was kind of scary. You have to take it really slow since the road is on a cliff and there are goats along the way.
If you are visiting from May through October, I would actually recommend taking a boat from Kissamos Port. You can leave in the morning and return in the evening without having to worry about potentially damaging a rental car on the unpaved road. I probably would have done this if I had more time in Crete and honestly, what is better than taking a boat to a perfect Greek beach?
There is a parking lot at the end of the dirt road and also a vendor selling cretan honey (yum!) Grab your stuff and start your hike down to the beach. Try so wear some sturdy shoes since it is a bit tedious to walk down in flip flops. It takes about 30 minutes to get down if you take it slow like we did. You can also pay to take a donkey down, and I kind of wish I used that option since it was so hot! There is not any shade on this hike, so you definitely want to be prepared with water and sunblock. Though the hike down is long and tiring, the views of the lagoon are incredible. Don't forget to grab your camera to get some great shots!
Find a spot on the soft sand and take in the beautiful view. The water is warm, clear and not very deep, so you can walk out pretty far without getting your hair wet. The lagoon is really big and did not feel crowded because of that, though I am sure on a weekend it would probably be a lot more busy. During my visit I only got to spend about an hour in the water, but it was a truly relaxing experience and I enjoyed every second of it. If you are spending more than a few hours here, I would suggest bringing food and drinks since it will be hot and you will be tired and hungry from the hike to the beach, especially during summer. Also, you will need energy to hike back up to your car eventually.
I think this beach is truly unique, I have not seen or been to any other beaches like this. This may very well be one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and also the world in my opinion. If you find yourself on the island of Crete, you should definitely make some time to visit beautiful Balos!