Balos Lagoon
Multimedia Map Description

How to get

It is rumored that Princess Diana graced Balos Lagoon with her presence during her honeymoon. Whether this is part of Cretan folklore or not, it’s hard to dispute the allure of Balos—such a stunning location that it would likely captivate even royalty. Moreover, statistics reveal a telling trend: one in every three travelers to the Chania region makes it a point to visit this breathtaking lagoon.

About Lagoon

On the western shores of Crete lies a stunning spectacle often deemed the island’s most photographed site. The remote yet renowned Balos Lagoon is celebrated for being where the waters of the Libyan, Ionian, and Aegean seas converge. Its fame is further bolstered by the sea’s mesmerizing hues, ranging from vivid blues to turquoise, painting a breathtaking aquatic tapestry.

Balos Lagoon boasts unique scenery with its pristine white sands tinged with pink hues and shallow waters perfect for children’s safe swimming. The western edge of the lagoon is bordered by the rocky Tigani peninsula, connected to Crete by a slim sandy isthmus, creating a natural harbor where ships anchor. To the north of Tigani lies a cave that served as a refuge for women and children during the revolutionary uprisings of the early 19th century; a tragic site where they were discovered and killed by Turks. A small chapel now stands in Balos as a memorial to these victims. Another point of interest is the remnants of the ancient Roman city of Agnio with its temple ruins dedicated to Apollo, beside which is the chapel of Saint Sozon.

Balos’s natural landscape is fascinating, boasting unique endemic vegetation and rare wildlife, including falcons, cormorants, and lizards found solely in Western Crete. Occasionally, Mediterranean monk seals and the loggerhead turtles known as Caretta-Caretta seek refuge along its lagoon shores. Balos is protected under the Natura 2000 environmental initiative, imposing regulations against littering, smoking, overnight camping, fire setting, rock climbing, and any activities that could harm the local ecosystem.

How to navigate

Balos is a spacious lagoon that can accommodate hundreds of visitors, even during the high season. Beach chairs are scarce and generally available only in the central area from June to August. A nearby café and restroom facilities are available for convenience. The lagoon is segmented into various beaches, including both sandy and rocky areas. Near the rocky sections, the water is deeper, making it suitable for swimming, while the sandy areas are predominantly shallow.

Balos Lagoon, on Crete’s west coast, is 53 km from Chania. Two travel options exist:

  • By car: Travel on the National road past Kolimbari and Kissamos until Kaliviani. Then follow signs to Balos, driving about 10 km on dirt roads. An entrance fee is charged to maintain the lagoon’s ecosystem. From the parking area, a 10–30 minute walk (depending on fitness level) on a designated path leads to the lagoon, offering stunning views that make the journey worthwhile.
  • Cruise ships set sail daily from the port of Kissamos to Balos, with a delightful interlude at Gramvousa Island. Travelers have the opportunity to bask on its sandy shores or explore the historic Venetian fortress for a few hours. The journey then resumes, with a short thirty-minute voyage to the stunning Balos Lagoon. Opting for this maritime route is not only more economical and secure but also far less complex than driving. Plus, the sea voyage to Balos is an experience brimming with breathtaking vistas, and if fortune smiles, one may even catch a glimpse of dolphins.



  • Cruise ships flood Balos Lagoon with visitors during peak hours, making it crowded. Driving there early in the morning offers a peaceful experience.There’s only one snack bar at Balos Lagoon, sometimes closed. Pack some water and snacks.
  • Balos Lagoon lacks shade. Sunscreen and hats are essential.
  • When planning a trip to Balos Lagoon by car, it’s advisable to wear appropriate footwear for the trek down to the beach.
  • Keep in mind that the route to Balos is an unpaved road, which may affect rental car agreements. Discuss conditions with the rental company beforehand to avoid insurance issues in case of vehicle damage. Opting for an SUV is recommended due to the rough terrain.
  • The ideal months to enjoy Balos Lagoon’s serene beauty are May, June, September, and early October, as it’s less crowded. For those traveling a great distance across the island to get to Balos, consider staying overnight in a nearby area, such as the picturesque city of Chania. This not only saves you a lengthy trip on the day of your visit but also gives you the chance to explore one of Greece’s charming cities.