Explore the island of Gramvousa, the “pirates” island located on the Gulf of Kissamos, at the northwest part of Crete. Starting from the port of Kissamos, enjoy a one hour and 15 minutes cruise to the island. Arriving, climb up to the Venetian fortress, feel like a pirate and enjoy the magnificent view of Balos lagoon. After the visit to the fortress, swim in the crystal clear waters of the island and/or go back to the boat. Then take the boat for another 15 minutes to the lagoon of Balos. Swim on its crystal clear and shallow waters and admire its pink-ish sand, consisted of thousands of crushed shells.

Boat trip to Gramvousa island
Enjoy 75-minute cruise from the port of Kissamos to “The Pirates Island”.

Explore Gramvousa fortress
Make your way up the fortress and enjoy stunning views of endless blue.

Swim in swallow warm waters
Ideal waters for young children but still exotic enough for the grown-ups.

Sunbathe on pink-sh sand
Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery in this landmark beach of Crete.

Snorkeling adventure
Cross the lagoon borders to deeper waters and look for seals and turtles.

If you would like to visit both the island of Gramvousa and the lagoon of Balos in one day, the most efficient way is to take the boat from the port of Kissamos. The town of Kissamos is located at the northwest part of Crete, west of Chania. It is known as a harbor and a fishing town.

As your cruise begins, you will have the chance to observe an interesting geological phenomenon. This is the elevation of the west part of Crete, which is visible as you pass through the Gulf of Kissamos. This phenomenon occurred due to big earthquakes that took place ca 2000 years ago. At the same time, the east part of Crete was sunk.

The island of Gramvousa is located 20 km northwest of Kissamos and opposite the Cape of Gramvousa. There are actually two islands with the same name close to each other, the islands of Imeri (Tame) and Agria (Wild) Gramvousa. You will visit Imeri Gramvousa, as Agria Gramvousa is inaccessible. When you arrive at Gramvousa, it is worth climbing up the path to the Venetian fortress, which stands at an altitude of 137 m. The fortress was built in 1579-1584, serving the purpose of protecting the strategic place of Kissamos bay. At some time the fortress was used by pirates, who raided the Mediterranean sea. Legends say that there is even a treasure buried on the island, so who knows what you might find? The real treasure, however, is the amazing view that rewards the visitors who climb up the fortress. You can see the Balos lagoon, the island of Agria Gramvousa, the Aegean, Libyan and Mediterranean sea, all from one place. A stunning view, not to be missed.

After visiting the fortress, you can swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the small Gramvousa beach. By the beach stands an old shipwreck, left there as part of the island’s history. Apart from its history, the island of Gramvousa is a shelter for 500 species of plants and 400 species of endemic birds. You wouldn’t believe that this small island is that much of a historical and natural interest.

Right after the visit to Gramvousa, the boat arrives at the lagoon of Balos, one of the best beaches in Crete. You will understand that as soon as you set your foot on it. The waters are turquoise, shallow and warm, making the beach ideal for children as well. The sand is white and pink-ish in some parts, due to the millions of crushed shells. The beach is surrounded by the coast of Crete. The lagoon is also called Tigani (frying pan) as it looks like a frying pan from the top of the coast. The area is protected by the program Natura 2000, as it is home to many rare species of flora and fauna, such as the seal monk and the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta. On the lagoon, there are a few sunbeds, but there are umbrellas for rent on the boat, which you can use all day long.

Bring with you
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Hat
  • Sun protection lotion
  • Camera
Food and drink availability
  • Ιn the resting break on the way to Kissamos port
  • On the boat
  • Not on the island
WC facilities
  • Not on board of the bus
  • Ιn the resting break on the way to Kissamos port
  • On board of the boat