Balos and Elafonisi – Crete’s Most Stunning Beaches

I decided I wanted to travel to Crete just by chance, watching some pictures on my colleague’s monitor. Among the many beautiful photos one in particular drew my attention.

‘Are these the Caribbeans?’

‘No – she said – here I was in Balos, on Crete.’

Balos, Crete, Greece

Balos is located in the north-west part of Greece’s largest island, and it is not a destination suited to lazy people.

If you arrive from Chania, as we did, you need to continue towards Kissamos and then follow the directions to Kaliviani (keep your eyes wide open!), an enchanting village definitely worth a stop.

Already at this point of my journey I felt a warm feeling of inner peace which accompanied me for the rest of the day.

Balos, Crete, Greece

From Kaliviani I have to continue for about ten kilometres on a rough path, until you reach a parking lot where you can leave the car. Entering this stretch costs one euro per person and there is no strict need for a 4X4 vehicle, but holes and random stones require the highest attention behind the wheel.

Once you have parked the car you can continue walking for about one and a half kilometres. The first 200 metres will trick you into thinking it will be an easy trip, but the following steep slope will obliterate such illusion.

Balos, Crete, Greece

Since we were going downwards at this point, I soon realized that the back trip would be even tougher, but the amazing landscape around us repaid us for any effort. Like the curtains on a stage, the sight opened gradually while we passed the mountain, expressing all its wild spectacularity.

The beach we reached and the close Gramvousa Island – which can be reached walking during low tide – form a charming lagoon with irresistible colours. On the small bays you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, but they usually run out quite quickly.

Gramvousa Island - Balos, Crete, Greece

Like moving from one postcard to another, we arrived in Elafonisi. The trip to get here was a bit longer since this island is located close to the south-west corner of Crete.

Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

From Balos you can get there in about two hours and a half. Reaching the beach has been easier, though, since there were no slopes. You arrive, you leave the car in the large parking lot, you have a coffee in the bar while shooting a few panoramic pictures, and then you can walk for hours from one natural pool to the other.

Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

I suggest you arrive to the furthest corner, walking barefooted in the water for the whole stretch, to enjoy the one I consider the most beautiful beach in Crete.

Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

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