The Group tour of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa Island – Cruise day
- 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.