Gramvousa island in ancient times was called Koryko, while the name “Gramvousa’ comes from the Venetian word Garabuse. On the highest part of the island, at 137 meters, the Venetian built an impressive castle between 1579 and 1584 for the protection of the entire northeastern Crete. Despite its size and its great capacity (3000 men), it seems that it was not used by Venetians in a major battle. Gramvousa was surrendered to Turks in 1692, after the Turks bribed the Venetian commander (who lived happily after in Constantinople).
The fortress was captured by Cretan Fighters, in 1825, and became the seat of the Revolutionary Committee of Crete. For 3 years it was the basis of more than 3000 rebels, who lacking food in this place, were forced to become pirates. Soon Gramvousa gained a reputation all over Europe as “the Pirate island”.
The famous lagoon of Balos is located approximately 56km northwest of Chania and 17km northwest of Kissamos, formed between the Cape Gramvousa and the small Cape Tigani and below the range of Platiskinos. Balos is surely the mostly photographed beach in Crete, a very favorite subject of all tourist guides for Greece. It is no coincidence that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Balos with their private yacht many years ago.
Balos is famous for its turquoise waters, the wild natural beauty and the beautiful exotic scenery. During the summer, Balos is visited by thousands of people, who arrive mostly by the ferries running from Kissamos port. If you do not like crowds, you’d better avoid to visit the beach in July and August. Also, a perfect idea is to arrive at Balos in the morning, before the boats arrive from Kissamos. These few hours of remoteness in such a heavenly place will remain etched in your memory forever.
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