The famous Balos Lagoon located approximately 55 km Northwest of ArchonVilla and it is easy to get there by your car as the driving time is no more than 75 minutes.
The Bay of Balos is simply stunning and is one of the mostly photographed beaches in Crete, a very favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. It is famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery.
As usual the popularity brings problems and in this case means that Balos visited by thousands of people during the summer. If you do mind of that, there is a solution to avoid the crowds, but if you don't mind then by all means go to visit Balos, it’s well worth it.
The Bay of Balos offers spectacular scenery with its large rocky hill in the middle and the vast expanse of white sand that surrounds it. Despite the crowds, it still feels like you have reached the end of the world. The landscape combines the raw power of hard rock, the chilly touch of the sea, and the vast proportions of the universe. Balos keeps your senses relaxed and yet alert.
The main attraction of Balos is the beautiful white sandy beach with the clear exotic white, vivid blue and turquoise waters combined with the stunning natural surroundings.
The shallow pools of sea water trapped in the sand are warm enough, ideal for young children, contrasting sharply with the constantly cool waters of the sea beyond the sand which are ideal for snorkeling. In many places the sand has a lovely pinkish color, because of millions of crushed shells. Unfortunately it can be smelly some periods of year, as organic material stays in the lagoon. It's all natural but not always very pleasant.
The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected under the Natura 2000 program. Eleonora falcons, shags and cormorants nest in the caves of the area. Moreover, the area is a shelter for the protected monk seal and the sea turtle caretta caretta.
At the highest point of the island, atop a steep rock, at an altitude of 137 meters, is dominated by the famous castle of Gramvousa, which was built by the Venetians in 1579. The castle played a significant role in the history of the wider area. The panoramic view, the magnificent nature, and the legend of the pirates hidden treasure allures you to visit it, after a 20 minutes hike (it’s essential to wear comfortable shoes).
You may also swim in the area next to the chapel of Agioi Apostoloi. Have in mind that on the island there are about 400 plant varieties. Three of them are particularly interesting, since they cannot be found anywhere else on earth. One variety of daisies, a wild onion and silene.
A walking to the peninsula of Tigani is a “must” for those come on foot as you can walk to the flat top where you will get excellent views of the area and also escape from the crowds (if there are any).You can reach the peninsula either cross through a little bit of water or follow the line of rocks on the south-western side of the lagoon.
To get to Balos Lagoon from ArchonVilla you have to drive northwest of the villa for approximately 75 minutes (55km) until you reach the port of Kissamos.
Here at Kissamos port you can either take the boat cruise or keep driving for 1.5Km more and take a right turn on a small road with a sign to Kaliviani village. Pass through the village then keep following the road heading towards the North. The road will soon turn into a dirt road but contrary to what many say it is perfectly drivable for normal cars if you go slowly and pay attention to stones and pot holes. Keep going on this very scenic dirt road for just under 8 km and you'll get to the end where you can park your car.
From this point follow the path to Balos which is about 20 to 30 minutes easy walking down, capturing magnificent views of the Balos beach that you never, ever forget in your whole life.
The ferries start to arrive at Ballos around 12:30 and begin to departure from 16:30 every 30 minutes. So if you want to avoid the crowd you have to leave the villa very early in the morning or the best option to leave the villa around 1:30 p.m. in order to be at the beach in the late afternoon for a far more romantic bathing.
Make certain you are wearing sunscreen and a hat - there is no shade to protect you from the blazing sun. Take along bottled water, and wear shoes suitable for hiking, a sun umbrella is a very good idea (even if you go by ferry you have to rent one from the boat).
If you choose to go by ferry select the boat with the last departure from Kissamos Port.
Do not underestimate the way back as it is very difficult and requires almost double the time, in relation to the way-down, due to the steep slope.
Do not visit Ballos on August and avoid weekends.