A protected natural island on the west coast of Crete
We already showed that Crete is more than the touristic Hersonissos and Star Beach in our article about the other side of Crete . But the area around the island is also full of gems. Rocky beaches with clear blue water fill the more than 1000 km long coastline. Along this coast is also the protected Gramvousa peninsula, which can only be reached by boat.
The small peninsula of Gramvousa, made up of Imeri and Agria Gramvousa, has a history of which impressive remains can still be found. On Imeri Gramvousa are the remains of an ancient Venetian fortress, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Formerly lived on the peninsula Cretan insurgents during the Greek War of Independence, now it is an island of pure tranquility.
How do you get there?
From the Netherlands you fly directly to Crete (Heraklion) in about 3.5 hours. If you book a flight ticket to Crete with Transavia, you can even choose from three airports: Schiphol, Eindhoven and Rotterdam/The Hague. From Heraklion Airport you can easily take the bus to the west of the island. It is really nice if you have your own transport and rent a car. Once in West Crete, you can take the boat from Kissamos to Gramvousa. Gramvousa Balos Cruise will bring you here, among others.
The boat stops first at Imeri Gramvousa, also giving you time to make the 137m climb to the fortress, which takes about 15 minutes. The climb is soon rewarded by the breathtaking view of the coastline of beautiful Crete. With a bit of luck you can see the Caretta Caretta sea turtles in the clear blue waters in the protected area of Imeri Gramvousa . There are also rumors of treasures buried on the island.
The next stop is Lagoon Balos . With small boats you arrive at the beautiful beach of Balos, which is characterized by the low water. On this island you will find rare plants, so it has been decided to place this area completely under protection. Enough sunscreen is not a superfluous luxury when visiting Balos, also known as Tigani Balos: the casserole. It didn’t get its name just like that, because there is hardly a piece of shade to be found here.
Boats to Gramvousa depart from Kissamos, on the west coast of Crete. You can already order the tickets via the Gramvousa website. This way you are cheaper and you have the certainty that you will not be faced with a full boat in Kissamos. Bring your own food and drink, or buy it on the boat. Gramvousa is a natural island and you will not find dining options there. Another tip: before boarding, take a look at the town itself. Kissamos is known as a relatively small, non-touristy rural village where you get to see the real Crete among the Greek population. Worth taking a leisurely stroll around!