A Most Tricky Scenic Drive to Balos Beach
Located on the western side of Crete at the edge of the peninsula of Gramvousa, the bumpy road to Balos Beach is said to be one of the most demanding drives in Greece. It’s highly recommended to drive at very low speed. It's one of the best coastal drives in the world.
Can I drive to Balos Beach?
Tucked away in the very north-west of Crete, the road to the beach is totally unpaved but navigable by all passenger vehicles. There are a few sections in cement. Any vehicle can make the trip as long as you are careful. However, a 4x4 vehicle is recommended. The road is 8.8km (5.46 miles) long, running from Kaliviani to a parking lot over Balos beach-lagoon. The road is private, so there’s a toll booth where you’ll have to pay for the entrance.
How is the road to Balos?
The road is not easy. It’s very narrow and features drop offs. This dirt road is well filled with stones and a little bad. Very rocky and narrow in parts, it has steep cliffs and no guardrails. The road is absolutely dirty and kind of dangerous but also scenic and great for pictures. Watch out for the many brave goats who will suddenly jump out of nowhere and cross the road. You have to drive slowly, and the last part of the route is not suitable for cars. You'll still have to walk an hour and a half before you're on the beach and back the hike lasts a little longer because you must climb up. When you plan to drive to Balos beach ask your car rental service about the insurance for driving off road. Quite often the agencies write on the contract “(No Balos)”. Usually it is not a problem but it's better to be safe than sorry.
How long does it take to drive the road to Balos Beach?
To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 35 and 40 minutes as you can’t go more than 30 km per hour. The drive is very scenic and the coastline views along the way are breathtaking. The hillsides are covered in thyme, wildflowers, oregano, wooden beehive boxes, goats and no shortage of dust. In the high season of July and August it is so crowded that arrival early in the morning is recommended. Along the dirt road, you will have the chance to view the sea area of the bay of Kissamos. Although this does not apply to the driver who has to pay the appropriate attention to avoid the stones on the road.
Pic: Иван Лапенков