Gramvousa

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Gramvousa: Our most recommended tours and activities

Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos Port

1. Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos Port

The boat departs from Kissamos Port and sails for about an hour in the bay. Youll first approach the island of Gramvousa and then the lagoon of Balos or vice versa, depending on the itinerary route. Cruise against a stunning backdrop of steep cliffs and rocks, incredible secluded beaches, and the infinite blue. Have the chance to see a large cave, which is thought to be an ancient shipyard.  At the end of the bay, the boat will sail between Gramvousa Island and Cape Vouxa. The landscape is breathtaking against the backdrop of Valenti, Pontikonisi, Balos Lagoon and Imeri Gramvousa. The boat shall arrive at the small port of Gramvousa, where you shall stay for about 2 hours. The location of Gramvousa, the Cretan nature, the legends, and the turbulent history of the area exude a magical aura.  The landscape is spectacular and the beach is adorned by a lonely shipwreck. The highest point on the island, atop a steep rock, at an altitude of 137 meters, is dominated by the famous castle of Gramvousa. You may also swim in the area next to the Church of Agioi Apostoloi, stay on the ship to relax, or have some fun on the water slide. After a 2-hour stop on Gramvousa, the boat will depart for the Balos Lagoon, which will be reached after approximately 20 minutes. Balos is listed as one of the best beaches in the world. This exotic beach lagoon and rare natural monument are situated between the Gramvousa Peninsula and Cape Tigani. You can swim in the lukewarm, turquoise blue waters, relax on the pink sandy beach or admire the natural beauty, the rocks, and the cliffs rising above you. You will have the chance to stay in this paradise for about 3 hours. 

From Chania: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour

2. From Chania: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour

Your day starts with a pickup from your hotel or at a specific pick-up point with the bus. Drive towards the west side of Crete in order to reach the port of Kissamos Kasteli. After receiving all the necessary information about the cruise from your escort, arrive at the port where the Gramvousa ferry awaits you to start the cruise. Your escort will collect the money for the boat tickets from you so you can skip the lines at the ticket offices. At about 10:20 AM set off for the island of Gramvousa which takes approximately 45 minutes. Help yourself to the ferry kitchen with self-service dishes, meals or snacks. You can sit back on a deck chair or in the lounge. During your cruise, see the elevation of the land along the cliff edges of Crete. This elevation has happened over 2000 years. The history of the island is explained through microphones in different languages. Once you arrive at the island of Gramvousa you can either swim or take a hike to the top of the island to the Venetian fortress. There you have 2.5 hours before you continue to the lagoon of Balos which is 20 minutes away. Enjoy 3 hours at the lagoon. You may go back to the boat for food at any time or hire umbrellas if the heat is too intense. After a swim and relaxation at the lagoon, the boat will take you straight back to the port of Kissamos. This is a great photo opportunity as the sun will be behind you as you look out to the scenery of the island. At 6:00 PM the ferry arrives at the port and the journey comes to an end. Return time to Chania is approximately 7.00 PM.

From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

3. From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

Depart Rethymno at approximately 07:45 and travel by bus along the new national road towards the westernmost tip of Crete. Pass the bay of Souda and the former Cretan capital of Chania before your arrival in Kissamos. Upon arrival, climb aboard a boat and cross to Balos Bay at the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Relax on the 1-hour boat trip, and get 2.5 hours at Balos Bay to enjoy the soft white sands and unique blue and green waters of the lagoon. Next, take a 20-minute boat ride to Gramvousa Island for plenty of time to enjoy an unforgettable swim in the crystal clear waters. If you are feeling energetic, take an optional 137-meter climb up to the 16th-century Venetian Fortress for an incomparable view of the surrounding surroundings. Enjoy approximately 1.5 hours at peace on Gramvousa Island, and then take a 1-hour boat ride back to Kissamos. Upon arrival, continue to Rethymno by bus at the end of the laid-back tour.

From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Kissamos, Balos & Gramvousa

4. From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Kissamos, Balos & Gramvousa

Set off on a day trip by bus and boat to the magnificent Balos Lagoon and the Gramvousa island, on the northwestern coast of Crete. Travel by air-conditioned bus to the port of Kissamos and board the boat for a cruise with swim stops and a visit to a castle. After an early morning pickup near your hotel, sit back and relax as you pass through beautiful scenery to get to the Port of Kissamos. There, you'll pay for the cruise and board the boat which will take you in the sea for about an hour till you reach Gramvousa island. Once at Gramvousa, you'll have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the Venetian Fortress which offers breathtaking views from the top. Otherwise, you can stay on the boat to take advantage of the bar restaurant or you can relax at the beachside. Afterward, the boat will continue for about 20 minutes to reach the Balos Lagoon. There, you'll have 2.5 hours of free time on the beach. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe and explore the dunes in the background. In the afternoon, the boat will begin the cruise back to Kissamos and from there you will be driven back to your Hotel area in Rethymno.

From Heraklion: Full-Day Gramvousa and Balos Tour

5. From Heraklion: Full-Day Gramvousa and Balos Tour

Travel by air-conditioned coach to the west of Crete. Enjoy a cup of coffee or breakfast at the small village of Skaleta and then continue to Kissamos to board a boat and start your cruise. Admire a vast cave that was most likely an ancient shipyard. See sea turtles and dolphins playing in the water. Disembark on the island of Gramvousa, also known as "Pirates' Island". Here, you can encounter over 100 bird and 400 plant species. Enjoy plenty of free time to swim at a gorgeous beach. Alternatively, feast from an (optional) lunch on board. Continue your cruise to the lagoon of Balos and discover one of the loveliest sites in Greece. Get a breathtaking view of the lagoon, before the return journey to the meeting point.   

Crete: Gramvousa and Balos Boat Trip

6. Crete: Gramvousa and Balos Boat Trip

Take in the beauty of Crete and its nearby islands on this boat trip. Travel to the pirate’s island, Gramvousa, explore the Venetian fortress, and head to the idyllic Baloos lagoon, filled with rare species of fauna and flora, for a refreshing swim. Your trip starts with a bus to Kissamos. From the port of Kissamos, the boat will depart to Gramvousa. While on the boat trip, you’ll observe the geological phenomenon of Crete, with the island rising out of the sea on the west side – and sinking in the east. Your first stop is the island Gramvousa, with its Venetian fortress, built between 1579 and 1584 by the Venetian occupiers. Take your time exploring the fortress, which was also used by pirates – a legend claims that there’s a great treasure buried there. An old shipwreck near the beach has become a part of the landscape, and the turquoise water is ideal for snorkeling. The next stop is the Balos lagoon, with its white sand and shallow, warm water, perfect for a swim. Due to millions of crushed shells, in many places, the sand has a lovely pink hue. The protected area houses many rare species of flora and fauna, such as Eleonora falcons, shags, and cormorants. Swim or explore, then head back after your full experience around these islands.

From Heraklion Area: Day Trip to Gramvousa Island and Balos

7. From Heraklion Area: Day Trip to Gramvousa Island and Balos

Start your day with pick-up from the nearest point to your hotel. Drive towards the west side of Crete in a bus to reach the port of Kissamos Kasteli. After your escort gives you all the necessary information about the cruise, arrive at the port to board the ferry boat to Gramvousa. Your escort will collect the money for the boat tickets from you so you can skip the lines at the ticket offices. At about 10:30 AM, set off for the island of Gramvousa on the ferry, which has a restaurant with self-service meals and snacks. Sit back on a deck chair or in the lounge for the journey of approximately 45 minutes. During the cruise, marvel at the cliff edges of the wildest part of Crete and learn about the history of the island with the onboard commentary played through the speakers in various languages. Upon arrival in Gramvousa, either have a swim or take a hike to the top of the island to the Venetian fortress. Enjoy 2.5 hours on Gramvousa before you continue to the lagoon of Balos, which is 20 minutes away. As soon as you arrive at the lagoon, you'll have a little less than 3 hours to enjoy the area. You may go back to the boat at any time for food or also hire umbrellas if the heat is too intense. In the early evening, board the boat to head back to the port of Kissamos, where a bus will be waiting to return you to your hotel area.

From Kissamos Port: Balos and Gramvousa Private RIB Cruise

8. From Kissamos Port: Balos and Gramvousa Private RIB Cruise

Book a private rigid inflatable boat (RIB) vessel and an experienced skipper to explore the western parts of Crete with your family or friends. Departing from Kissamos Port, board your boat and ride the waves to the famous Balos Lagoon and to the historic Gamvousa Island. The skipper will take you on an adventurous or relaxed ride (according to your preferences) and provide drinks and snacks on the way.   At your first stop, Balos, you’ll anchor and explore the area’s white sand beaches and vivid turquoise waters for 1.5 hours. You’ll then head to Gramvousa, an island with a medieval fortress at the top of the hill. There, you can sunbathe, snorkel, and swim for another 1.5 hours before returning to Kissamos.

From Rethymno: Roundtrip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Lagoon

9. From Rethymno: Roundtrip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Lagoon

Make your cruise worry-free with a roundtrip transfer from Rethymno to Kissamos port in an air-conditioned bus. Ride in a well-maintained and comfortable bus and leave the navigation to your local driver. Have an onboard guide during your trip.  Be picked up in the morning from your accommodation in Rethymno. Sit back and relax on the drive to the Kissamos port where you can purchase a cruise ticket to swim in crystal-clear water of Balos Lagoon and see the Venetian castle of Gramvousa.  Let your driver worry about traffic and getting to the port on time while you relax. Once you return to the port on the boat, your driver will be waiting to whisk you back to your accommodation in Rethymno. 

Guided Boat Tour to Balos & Gramvousa with Transfer & Lunch

10. Guided Boat Tour to Balos & Gramvousa with Transfer & Lunch

Enjoy a full-day excursion with pick-up and drop-off service from the Rethymnon and Chania areas. Your professional guide will accompany you as you depart from the port and cross the bay of Kissamos, passing through Tarsanas, a cave believed to be an ancient shipyard. You will sail the turquoise water around Agria Gramvousa and Vouxa Cape before arriving at Gramvousa Island, where you can visit the Venetian Castle and have time to sunbathe and cool off in the sea. If you choose to spend your time on the island exploring rather than relaxing, you can admire the spectacular views from the top of the fortress. The next stop is the famous lagoon of Balos, Tigani. Enjoy the incredible beach known as one of the most beautiful locations on all of Crete. You will also enjoy a meal on board and be able to rest in the air-conditioned underdeck of the boat, whenever you feel to. After arriving back at Kastelli the air-conditioned busses are waiting for you to transfer you back to your hotels.

Other Sightseeing Options in Gramvousa

Want to discover all there is to do in Gramvousa? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Gramvousa

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,929 reviews

Me and my 4 friends celebrated my 50th Birthday on this lovely yacht.All Our trip was amazing, beautiful lagoon and breathtaking views .Owner of the yacht was so professional and caring. We visited fortress with beautiful views.After we had lovely swim ,followed by very tasty Cretan lunch.Our trip continued to lovely lagoon.Where we had rest and swim.Never forget my Birthday. Highly recommending to everyone who planning to visit sunny Crete.

Beautiful trip. Well settled. Everything ran on time. And balos was beautiful despite the less weather still enjoyed.

not so good having to exchange the tickets for the voucher in advance…..

Balos absolutely great place and the ship had a good setting

Two wondrous places to visit ... it doesn't disappoint!