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Full-Day Boat Trip to Balos Beach and Gramvousa Island from Chania

by Crete Locals

  • Posted 11 months ago

Recently, we embarked on a full-day trip from Chania to these enchanting destinations – Balos Beach and Gramvousa Island, and it was an experience that included discovering a new island where we could swim in crystal-clear waters, and capture breathtaking views from the historic Gramvousa fortress. Where the rest of the afternoon we spent chilling in the Balos Lagoon swimming taking a sun bath, and making lots of pictures and videos. We’re excited to share our journey with you, and a step-by-step guide to help you plan your own unforgettable adventure. So, if you’re ready to explore the azure waters, vibrant marine life, and breathtaking views of Balos Beach and Gramvousa Island, keep reading. 

NOTE: Please note this blog was written in 2023, with the new measures in place, boats will no longer dock directly at Balos. Instead, they will anchor approximately 100 meters from the coast, allowing passengers to enjoy swimming for about 1.5 hours. Some tours may offer a small boat for passengers to disembark directly onto the beach.

NOTE: Please note this blog was written in 2023, with the new measures in place, boats will no longer dock directly at Balos. Instead, they will anchor approximately 100 meters from the coast, allowing passengers to enjoy swimming for about 1.5 hours. Some tours may offer a small boat for passengers to disembark directly onto the beach.

Departure from Chania to Kissamos Port by bus

Bus Station in Chania city

Start your journey early in the morning by taking a bus or driving to Kissamos Port, which is about 25 km west of Chania. Kissamos Port is where you hop on a boat and start your journey to the magnificent Gramvousa Island and Balos Lagoon Beach.

In order to find out all the important information about the trip, we visited the main bus station in Chania a day before to inquire about the details. We found out that the departure from Chania is at 08:30, 11:00, and 15:30, and we need to take the boat at 10:45. This is the only time you can do so (at least for the May month). At the bus station, they were selling this as a full package – you buy the bus round trip and the boat vouchers that you need to exchange for tickets at the counter at Kissamos Port. It cost us 80 euros for two people (the price for the bus ticket from Chania and the ferry ticket).

You can also check the route information here https://www.e-ktel.com/en/

So the next day we took the 8:30 bus and in about one hour we were there. The not-so-convenient part is that you must wait another hour before the boat departs, but I suppose it’s worth the wait. Another option would be to rent the car for the period of your stay and be more flexible with the timing.

You can buy boat tickets separately, at the Kissamos Port or online in advance. The price for the boat ticket is around 29 euros per person.

The boat departure from Kissamos Port

Boat from Kissamos Port to Balos beach and Gramvousa Island

At 10:45 the boat takes you, firstly, to Gramvousa Island. It’s about 1 hour and a half ride with lots of breathtaking views. The boat is equipped with all the necessary amenities such as toilets, but also they have a bar and restaurant. In case you forget to take water with you, you’ll be able to buy it on the boat. They also have sodas, beers, and food like souflaki. A can of beer costs around 2 euros, whereas a pint of draft one is around 5. There are seats both inside and outside. Most people of course prefer outside on the top deck so you could enjoy the views.

 

Arrival on Gramvousa Island

Gramvousa Island

On arrival on the island, you have about 1 hour and a half of free time to explore the surroundings.

One option is to do a little hike to the Venetian fortress located on top of the cliff – it’s an old fort that dates back to 1579 and is a great place for taking panoramic shots. It’s a 10-15 min hike to the top, so it’s not that bad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqYC4cClnwg&ab_channel=CreteLocals

Another option would be just to stay on the beach and take a swim in the crystal-clear waters. The bay features a rusty shipwreck that has become a landmark of the area. It serves as an interesting destination for spear-fishermen and provides an ideal subject for those who enjoy photographing shipwrecks.

The views here are stunning and they make a great backdrop for your photos.

From Gramvousa Island to Balos Beach

Balos Beach

After visiting Gramvousa Island, the boat will head towards Balos Beach, where you will have a 2.5-hour break. It usually takes about 30 minutes to reach Balos Beach. As soon as you arrive at Balos, you’ll be mesmerized by its beauty – the crystal clear water and dazzling white and pink sand beach make for an unforgettable holiday destination. You can swim in the shallow waters around the lagoon, which are warm and cosy even on cold days. More detailed info about this beach you can find here: Balos Beach and Lagoon.

We spent the rest of our day sunbathing, swimming and making lots of pictures.

balos
balos
pink sand balos beach
Pink sand at Balos Beach

From Balos Beach back to Port of Kissamos

At around 16:00, the boat departed from Balos Beach and started its journey back to Kissamos Port. Make sure you don’t miss it! The ride was quite pleasant as we could see the beautiful sun setting over the horizon. We spent some time talking with other passengers on board while enjoying a few drinks from the bar. The staff were very friendly and made sure everyone had an enjoyable experience on their way back home. As we arrived at Kissamos Port at around 17:00, it felt like no time had passed since our departure in the morning – despite having explored two gorgeous places! It was truly a memorable day trip that will stay with us for years to come!

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, our full-day adventure to Balos Beach and Gramvousa Island from Chania was an experience that we would never forget. From the crystal clear waters of the lagoon at Balos Beach to the breathtaking views from the historic fortress on top of Gramvousa Island, it was truly a unique journey filled with stunning sights and unforgettable memories.

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