🏨 Gramvousa and Balos Full Day Tour from Chania Activity - Travel Guide

Gramvousa and Balos Full Day Tour from Chania

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From $40.05

70 reviews   (3.63)

Price varies by group size

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Pricing Info: Per Person


Departs: Crete, Crete

Ticket Type: Mobile or paper ticket accepted

Free cancellation

Up to 24 hours in advance.

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After we pick you up from various locations around Chania we will drive through West Crete until we reach the Kissamos port.
After approximately 1 hour, the boat arrives at the port of Gramvousa. On top of a steep rock on the highest point of the island, lays the Venetian castle built during the late 16th century.
You will have plenty of time to explore the island and swim in its coast before we board the boat that will take us to the Balos lagoon. Fantastic azure waters fill the lagoon creating an rare amalgamation of serenity and ild natural beauty.
At around 16:30 we will board the boat back to the port of Kissamos and eventually return by bus to the designated spots you were picked up from.

What's Included

Pick up/Drop off with air-conditioned luxury bus from select spots in Chania

Pre-Recorded Instructions on board

What's Not Included

Boat tickets to Gramvousa and Balos (19 euros per person)

Customary tips to your driver

Municipality fee (1 euro for adults, free for children)

Personal expenses, extra beverages or meals

Traveler Information

  • INFANT: Age: 0 - 4
  • CHILD: Age: 5 - 12
  • YOUTH: Age: 13 - 17
  • ADULT: Age: 18 - 99

Additional Info

  • Boat ticket+ municipal fee are paid on the spot in cash 20 euros per person.
  • Remember to bring the following items: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, camera, swimsuit and beach towel
  • Suitable for all physical fitness levels
  • Boat ticket+ municipal fee are paid on the spot in cash 20 euros per person.
  • Remember to bring the following items: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, camera, swimsuit and beach towel
  • Suitable for all physical fitness levels

Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Experience may be cancelled due to Insufficient travelers
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

What To Expect

Gramvousa Beach
Departing from the port of Kissamos and while sailing, you will admire a huge cave, that is believed to have been the ancient shipyard of “Tarsanas”After approximately 1 hour, the boat arrives at the port of Gramvousa. The island's eminent castle was built by the Venetians
in 1579 at the highest point of the island, on top of a steep rock at a height of 137m. It is surrounded by a wall of 272m. It
has a rough triangular shape and each side is 1km in length. Gramvousa castle played an important role in the history of the
region. The panoramic view, its majesty and the legend of the pirate's hidden treasure, will tempt you to visit it. The walk
takes approximately 20 minutes.
TIP!! You should first visit the Castle in Gramvousa and then swim in the cool water…!

2 hours • Admission Ticket Included

Balos Lagoon
Fantastic azure waters fill the lagoon creating an rare amalgamation of serenity and ild natural beauty. Make sure to have a camera with you and take photos that will make even your most well-traveled friends jealous!

3 hours • Admission Ticket Included


Great Trip for us through GE ES Tours
midwesterner5, 31-10-2022
There are a lot of disappointed reviews, and maybe it's with Fantasy Day Tours? I think four different companies do this tour, or something similar to Balos Beach. We booked the Balos/Gramvousa tour through GE ES Tours in Chania old town, and it was very good. I don't remember the exact company which drove ours, but if you book it through GE ES maybe that's the company?

The office of GE ES is very personable, easy to figure out the different tours. They tend to cost only 35-40 Euros per person.

The tour we took picks you up by bus at a hotel, and they stop at maybe six hotels (we walked to a nearby hotel). The bus drive to the where the boats are docked is maybe an hour, which I found interesting as you see the entire coastal vacation rentals west of Chania -- there are a lot of people who vacation near Chania.

We had about fifteen minutes to use the bathroom, and then boarded a large boat, which held maybe 200 passengers? It had restrooms and a little cafeteria. We talked with people as the boat cruised to Gramvousa. There was enough time in Gramvousa to hike to the top, or to go to the beach. (I'd say much better to wait for the beaches at Balos; we hiked to the top and got beautiful photos.)

Back on the boat, a short time later it stops near Balos Beach. You walk down a ramp, then across maybe 300 meters of rocky coast, to get to the sandy beach that faces the ocean water. Just behind it is Balos Lagoon, shallow and warm. Both are fun to swim in. There is a little food vendor off to one side, and a pay toilet, but I recommend the restrooms and food on the boat. We had about three hours for swimming and exploring, more than enough.

Going back, the boat docked, we walked to the bus, the bus left about three minutes later. It's a long ride back, due to traffic and stops the bus makes to drop people off. But you're seeing Crete. We left at about 8 a.m. and were dropped at the hotel about 6:30 p.m.

Most of these trips take an entire day. If you'd do this by rental car, first you have to find a car rental that will let you drive off-road. Because you're going to duplicate the route the bus took, drive farther to the Balos peninsula, and then drive off-road for a half hour. Then park and walk maybe a half mile downhill to the beaches. The one advantage to that way would be you're up high to take photos as you being the descent. But don't imagine a car rental is going to be a real fast way to do this. I'd guess 1.5 hours driving and 20 minutes walking, minimum.

Take the bus/boat. You meet lots of people, are out on the ocean, get to see the area by bus, have relatively cheap food available, etc. This peninsula is no way convenient to get to, no matter how you go, but we're glad we went.
Great experience
Ioana_B, 12-10-2022
The tour came on time to pick us up and the tour guide, Ioanna was very friendly and explained the next steps to us very clearly! The driver drove really well and it was a great experience on coach! It was great to hear the tour guide’s explanations about Balos and Gramvousa and the stories behind and it was just such a great experience! The 2 locations were just so beautiful and I recommend if you can to go up on the small hike to see the view from up there in both locations because it is breathtaking! Would really recommend this tour, it was fantastic!
amandabV3251QY, 13-09-2022
It was a very beautiful experience.. Paradise on earth ♥️ I recommend it to everyone who visit Chania..
Twinkles of memories
DormeurMangeur, 30-09-2022
There are three aspects to my review. 1 - Getting there. The tour operator provided basic transportation from Chania to the port of Kissamos to board the ferry, and back: at a price of 38 euros, that's a bit ridiculous. In addition, the pick up was at 8a, we got to Kissamos around 9a, were not allowed on the ferry because we were so early until about 9:40a, and the ferry left at 10:40: there was NOTHING to do in Kissamos. What a waste of time, but I guess the operator was able to do something else with their mini-bus while we twiddle our thumbs. Also, not the driver but the tour guide just "performed her duties" - collected an additional 20 euros for the boat (not included in the original price), and read us instructions that were not structured well enough to understand what we were supposed to do. No "stories", no history, nothing. And of course, she was not there for the ride back to Chania. 2 - The ferry. The ferry was a big boat with no personality, loaded with hundred of tourists, and "it did the job". The food mart was awful - bad food, bad service, and smiles were on strike. What was neat is that in both places, it anchored in such a way that we could disembark directly to shore, i.e., no tender boats. 3 - The destinations. Balos Bay was spectacular, with amazing colors of the water depending on its depth. Rather than sunbathe, I decided to go up a trail that was quite steep on the side of the hill, which provided me with amazing views down into the lagoon, as well as over mountains surging out of the sea - I was mesmerized. Then Gramvousa; again, I climbed up the hill (with a few hundred of my ferry-mates) to go and see the Venitian fortress. There is not much left, but it was amazing to see what the Venitians had been able to build; and also the views - could not get any better! So, in summary, take away the transportation, and the day was idyllic and left me with wonderful memories.
Know what you’re getting into
stupidheadface, 14-09-2022
TL;DR: with this excursion you’ll spend over 8 hours in transit, and only about 3.5 hours on the beach.

Here are the finer details they don’t mention in the description.

First of all you can expect that each departure will be 15-20 minutes delayed, meaning that each transition shaves off that much time from your beach experience.

If you’re leaving from old town Chania, you’ll be picked up around 8am. The bus will make several stops en route to the port at Kissamos. You’ll arrive about an hour later and wait another 1.5 hours for the boat to leave. Then it’s 1.5 hours by boat to Balos beach. So you’ve spent the whole morning — over 4 hours — just getting to the beach!

Once you arrive at Balos, it takes some time to disembark and find your spot on the beach. By the time you get settled, you have only 2.5 hours before you have to get back on the boat for transfer to Gramvousa. At Gramvousa you’ll get about 1 hour of beach time before you have to get back on the boat and spend 1.5 hours getting back to Kissamos. Then another 1.5 hours by bus back to Chania.

Altogether the excursion took 12 hours, the majority of which was travel time. The beach was beautiful but I would not do this again.