Every Monday – Wednesday – Friday
The Cruise of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island
The view from Gramvousa castle will take your breath away and the crystal clear water of Balos lagoon won’t let you go out…
All pick-up points for this tour are within Chania region. There is no hotel pick-up included from the other regions in Crete.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Large Group
- Once in a life-time experience
- Explore the fortress of Gramvousa pirate island
- Dive deep down the crystal clear water of Balos lagoon
- Swim to one of the most beautiful beaches around the world
- Full day cruise
A great trip for any Chania visitor is the mini-cruise to Gramvousa and Balos!
Our trip starts at your hotel or a location in its vicinity with our bus. Our destination is the port of Kissamos. As soon as we reach the port, you go aboard the ship to set out on the cruise. The ship departs from the port at 10:20. An hour later you reach the small island of Gramvousa. The ship stays in the island for two and a half hours. The castle of Gramvousa is to be found at the top of the island… built by Venetians on top of some steep cliffs in order to act as a fortification protecting the island, today it offers visitors a panoramic view to the amazingly blue waters of the Cretan sea. If you wish so, you can climb up the path to the castle, if not, you can stay on the beach and swim.
The ship departs from Gramvousa island at 13:30, the breathtaking lagoon of Balos being its destination… The journey is short, and lasts only about 20 minutes. The ship reaches Balos at 13:50 and stays there for three hours. Words can’t possibly do justice to the wild beauty your eyes will meet once you reach Balos… The white and at some places pink sand, the turquoise warm and shallow waters, the rocks reaching for the sky around the lagoon… all these amazing elements come together to create a heavenly landscape, which you are bound to want to keep returning to!
The ship departs for Kisamos Port at 16:30. On board and throughout the journey, you can enjoy your meal in the self-service restaurants of the ship, where traditional Cretan dishes are being offered, or at the ship’s bar. You reach Kissamos port an hour later; our bus will be waiting for you there, in order to take you back to your hotel.
The name Gramvousa has been found in various forms. The Venetians referred to it on their maps as the cape, Cavo Buso, and the Cretans, who translated it to Akra (capo) called it Cavo Bouza, this then became Krampouza, then Gramvousa.
In the opinion of N. Hatzidaki, the name originates from the plant Crambe – Kramvoessa, which became Gramvousa. The Venetians named it Scoglio e fortezza Garabuse. The Venetians built the castle, in fear of occupation of Crete by the Turks, which would lead – and did eventually lead – to the end of the Venetian Empire.
After the Turkish occupation of Crete, it was one of three castles that remained under Venetian ownership (the other two were Souda and Spinalongka). Even though the castle was impregnable, during the Venetian – Turkish war, its Italian governor was bribed by the Turks, and it was handed over to them in 1692.
During the Greek uprising against the Turks, Gramvousa played an important and decisive role. After many attempts, the castle was finally conquered by Cretan rebels in 1825 when a group of Cretans, disguised as Turks, entered the castle.
Gramvousa was the first area of Crete that was freed from the Turks. It became shelter for more than 3,000 Cretans and became a base of operations for revolutionary groups. From free Gramvousa began the uprising of the Kalisperides, a group that spread terror among the Turks. In order to create a diversion they organized Zoyrides, armed groups that ambushed the Christians.
As conditions for survival were harsh, the residents of Gramvousa turned to piracy, indiscriminately looting boats passing between Gramvousa and the island of Antikythira, a fact that turned European opinion against them.
In 1828, with the agreement of the Greek government, fleets from England and France routed the pirates and occupied the castle. After signing the Protocol of London, Crete remained under Turkish occupation until 1831 and the castle of Gramvousa was handed over to the Turks once again by the Russian guard.
- Hotel pick up and drop off
- English speaking guide
- Air-conditioned bus transportation
- Gratuities (optional)
- Boat ticket (18€)
- Local taxes (1€)
April to October
Departures from Chania
Terms & Conditions
- The company reserves the right to make minor changes in the program when this is considered necessary, for example in case of unfavorable weather conditions. This can be done without prior notice.
- Reservations must be made 24 hours before the tour. A cancellation must be done 5 days before the tour. In case of later cancellations, no refund will be made from the company.
- If a tour is cancelled due to few participants or bad weather conditions, the company will refund 100% of made payments.
Keep in mind
The equipment you must have with you
- Comfortable clothing and footwear
- A hat
- A swimsuit and a beach towel
Pick up times
Early in the morning
Starting from 08:30 am. The exact pick up time depends on hotel location or meeting point.
Children 2-5 years old : Free
Children 5-12 years old : 20€
We keep our group sizes low so you have the freedom to move around and get involved with your surroundings, as well as more personal attention from our local guides. This intimate size ensures that your group will not crowd your experience. You can expect up to 50 travelers on a trip but the average is 30-35. Check individual trip pages for maximum group sizes.
It’s extremely difficult if not impossible to join a tour after it has begun. It is possible to leave a tour early however you will be responsible for your own arrangements from the moment you decide to leave the tour. You would also be responsible for all costs associated with joining a tour late or leaving one early. If you feel this may be necessary please consult a Fabulous Crete Specialist before you book your adventure.
50 seats buses
For privacy reasons we cannot provide you with advance details on your traveling companions. However, our tours appeal to a wide range of travellers, most of whom share an adventurous spirit and a desire to experience these destinations at a grass-roots level. Our tours are conducted in English and so they attract many travellers from North America, UK, Australia and Europe
The availability listed on our website is updated every minute however on some tours we must confirm arrangements with our people on the ground, a process which usually takes no more than 24 hours. When you book online you will receive a follow-up email confirming your arrangements or a timeframe for when they will be confirmed.
The security that comes from knowing your trip is locked-in is a feeling that can’t be topped. We like that feeling – so much, so that we figured everyone should have it.
Every departure is guaranteed to run. Yup, all of them. Once you’ve booked and paid, that’s it, you’re going. Guaranteed. Your trip won’t be cancelled by us for any reason (beyond harsh weather or safety issues). Promise.
All documentation is sent electronically by email. Shortly after we receive your payment we will send you your initial documents. Final documentation will be sent by email no later than two days prior to the departure.
Yes, all of our Tour Managers and Tour Drivers speak English, some speak additional languages as well, but your tour will be conducted in English
You will automatically receive an e-voucher to your email address. Please print your voucher/ticket or keep a picture to your mobile phone which contains your unique reference number. Please remember to bring this with you on the day. You will not be allowed entrance to an attraction without a valid ticket.
If there is any problem with your booking or payment details, we will contact you on the telephone number or email address stated in your booking. Sometimes tours may not operate due to insufficient numbers, and we may need to contact you to advise you of any such changes.
All entrance fees and costs are included in the tour price except unspecified fees.
If you book more than 2 tours with us, then please contact our friendly staff who will be happy to assist you with your inquiry and see what we can arrange for you at email@example.com
You could lose your seat to a walk-up passenger. We encourage you to arrive at the pickup point a minimum of 15 minutes before departure. Once on the tour, your guide or driver will give you a time that the coach will depart each location. You must be at the coach at least five minutes before this time. If you are late and miss the time given, the coach will depart without you in order to not keep the other passengers waiting. If you are in any doubt about a departure time whilst on your tour, you must ask the guide or driver.
5 days before the tour starts –> 50% refund, no refunds after that
35% Deposit on booking time and final payment 7 days before the tour date.