The One Day Cruise tour of Gramvousa Island
and Balos beach

Breathtaking view from Gramvousa's castle

Gramvousa is a small island with an impregnable castle of the 16th century, and the unique lagoon of Balos, with its blue green waters and its pink sandy beach.


Departure from Chania around 8:00 towards the port of Kastelli and embarkation in the boat. Crossing the bay of Kissamos, the ancient shipyard of Tarsanas. Visit of the fabled pirate island of Gramvoussa and optional climbing to the Venetian castle. Swimming in the lagoon of Balos, with its pristine sand and golden seashells. Return about 17:30.


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.

Capacity: 50 pax (for more persons, upon request)

Duration: Aprox. 10 hours

Price: 29 €

Trip Days: Every Day


  • Air-Conditioned Bus transportation
  • Hotel pick-up and Drop-off
  • English speaking Guide


  • Boat Ticket: 18€
  • Local Taxis: 1€

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