2/7  Good for teenagers: Balos Beach, north west Crete

Recommending, easily the most famous beach on Crete, for families might seem counter-intuitive. But Balos breaks all rules.  For a start it’s breathtakingly beautiful, and if you’re staying anywhere on the north west coast with teens, depriving them of an Instagram moment here is almost mean. Then there’s the lagoon itself: shallow and a dozen different shades of blue, edged with the palest pink shell sand, and framed to the north by dramatic Gramvousa Island. 

Visit at the right time of year and there’s a chance of spotting Loggerhead Turtles here, and the area’s known for colonies of Monk Seal. Worth remembering, Balos is also quite heavily protected, so no beach bars or water sports. Although the snorkelling’s fantastic, and if you forget a picnic, Kissamos is only 20 minutes drive away.

Beach basics

  • #7 loveliest beach in Europe, TripAdvisor 2017.
  • Soft, pink shell sand; shallow lagoon; sheltered bay.
  • Safe, warm waters for younger kids.
  • Sensational Instagram opps for teens.
  • Fabulously clear conditions for snorkelling.
  • Easily reached by road from Kissamos (17km south of Balos).
  • An hour’s drive from Chania (56km east of Balos).
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