MyCretaCab > Chania > Balos
Excursion to Balos

Distance from Heraklion: 191 km

Distance from Chania: 56 km

Best time to visit: Summer, ideally before the arrival or after the departure of the boats.

Amenities: Food, water, beach umbrellas

Features: Shallow and warm sea, wildlife refuge, Natura protected area.

Balos beach and the islet of Gramvousa are located at the northwestern tip of Crete, 56 km northwest of the city of Chania.

Balos is the exotic lagoon-like white powdery beach cradled between the rugged Gramvousa peninsula and Cape Tigani. It is considered to be a blue paradise and a wonder of nature, since the hallmark of the lagoon is the distinctive jade-green color of its waters combined with the fine pinkish sand and the crushed shell fossils. The sea is quite shallow and warm, an ideal destination for small children while, beyond the rocks, the waters are deeper and a bit cooler.

Balos is undoubtedly one of the most famous and photographed landscapes of Crete, a favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. Apart from its exotic beauty, Balos is one of the most important hydro-biotopes of great ecological value. A wide variety of rare plants and animals are unique in this part of the world. Specifically, about 400 species of plants have been recorded, 25 of which endemic to Crete and 3 are steno-endemic. An important feature of the lagoon is the seasonal fluctuating level of the water, as well as its salinity.

Furthermore, Balos hosts a large number of birds, while the caves of the surrounding area nest Eleonora’s falcons, European shags and great cormorants. The protected Mediterranean seal finds refuge in Balos, while the caretta-caretta turtle visits the shores of the cape to feed and lay its eggs. All of the above make the lagoon of Balos a wetland of rare natural beauty with enormous ecological value. For years, the place has been integrated in the Natura 2000 program and, like many other parts of Crete, is a strictly protected area.

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