Balos beach or Balos lagoon
Balos beach (or Balos lagoon) is located at the north western end of Chania.
You can reach the lagoon in two ways:
By road: Follow the dirt road (recommended with bicycle, about 1 hour) from village Kaliviani for 11 km and from there, where the road ends, you need only a few minutes on foot to go down to the beach. Your descent is facilitated by stone steps with large landings where you may rest and admire the superb view of the lagoon lying in front of you.
By the sea: The second option is to take one of the small boats that depart from the port of Kissamos every day (Cruise to Gramvousa & Balos) and after an hour’s journey you reach the magnificent lagoon. During the trip you may admire the impressive wilderness with steep rocky hills and hidden coves with sandy beaches while the small boats pass by the coasts. The phenomenon of the rise of the land is also quite noticeable. With this cruise you visit also the island of Gramvousa.
The lagoon of Balos is worldwide well-known for its turquoise clear waters, its wild beauty and the magnificent landscape which gives the visitor the feeling of being in a South Seas lagoon.
The natural beauty of Balos beach comprises a great variety of rare plants and animals which are unique in this part of the world. More specifically, about 400 species of plants have been registered, 25 of which are indigenous in Crete and 3 of which are indigenous only in the area of Balos. A significant distinctiveness of the lagoon is the seasonal fluctuation of the sea level and its salinity.
In addition, Balos beach accommodates a great number of birds which are fed and bred in the area or shortly migrate here, as this place is a way stop during migration period. The caves of the area serve as nests for peregrine falcons, shags and cormorants. Balos is also a preserve for the protected Mediterranean seal and Caretta-Caretta sea turtle which visits the coast to feed itself and lay its eggs.
All above render the lagoon of Balos a nature reserve of great ecological value and rare natural beauty. It has been claimed a Natura 2000 site for years and it is a strictly protected area, such as a lot of other places in Crete.