Visit Balos, Crete’s very own blue lagoon. If you think Falassarna is the best beach the west coast of Crete has to offer wait until you see Bálos lagoon & the island of Gramvousa. Also known as the island of pirates Gramvousa’s position on the map constituted a desired naval base for Phoenicians, Dorians, Saracens, Arabs, Romans, Venetians, Genoans & Turks who fought for its possession.
After the conquest of the island by the Ottomans in 1669 Gramvousa was one of the three forts Venetians held on to until in 1692 the Turks managed to take hold of it after bribing its Venetian commander. Gramvosua was the first area of Crete that was freed by the Turks, becoming a shelter for armed Cretan revolutionaries who had turned to piracy in order to survive.
After its takeover by the Great Powers & its concession to the Egyptians in 1831, the castle was abandoned and remains a landmark for the local fishermen who found refuge from the fury of the weather in the serene lagoons of Balos. In the region of Gramvousa, more than 400 species of plants, 26 endemic & 3 that are just found here are recorded. 98 species of birds, 20 of them protected by European legislation, reptiles, sheep & goats as well as a wild flock of donkeys.
In its waters, we can encounter the Mediterranean seal Monachus-Monachus & the marine turtle Caretta-Caretta. The marine clams of the lagoon do not exist anywhere else in such large numbers as are found here. Today the lagoon can be reached either by boat or by car through a ragged road that ends 10 minutes before reaching the beach. It is a truly heavenly place & probably the best beach you’ll ever come across to. More