Falasarna to Balos beach

Falasarna to Balos beach

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 35.57999°N / 23.58902°E
Additional Information GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 4, 2011
Activities Activities: Hiking, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring


Getting there

After arrival at the Souda port by ferry from Pireus at 6am we hopped on the bus to Kastelli at 7:15. The ride took over an hour. The views on the way were amazing but this did not stop me from napping through most of the ride. We passed endless orchards with lemon and orange trees. Prior to coming to Crete I read that the island is green at this time of year. The road was very narrow at times with 180 degree serpentines. It was quite cloudy but we could clearly see the two peninsulas, Gramvouosa and Rodopos stretching to the north. Kastelli is not a small town by Cretan standards, but it was really peaceful and quiet, which was to be expected as we arrived some weeks before the tourist season opens. The driver dropped us in the center of the town just next to the taxi station. We decided on getting to Balos beach along the west coast of the peninsula so we still had to somehow get further to the west, preferably Falassarna. There is one bus that goes further west, but it turns south and goes to Platanos. At first we wanted to take the bus and get off somewhere on the way, but it was not scheduled until 10:30. Not to waste time we considered taking a taxi. After negotitating with the taxi driver we settled on 10€ to be taken to Piperiana. This was a good decision and the 1.5h that we saved allowed us to reach our destination before the sunset.

Hike begins

We were equipped with the Anavasi 1:50k maps. We made photocopies because the atlas is pretty heavy and we only needed parts of the island. There were no problems with finding the way and we quickly reached the west coast. We found ourselves high in the hills with a view of Falassarna and a multitude of greenhouses along the coast. From here we started our first descent of our hike. The weather was pleasant, quite cool but the wind was blowing heavily. The town, like most other towns on the way seemed abandoned. Still a couple of weeks before the season opens. After entering Falassarna we searched for a shop but the only one we found was closed. So we filled our water tanks from a hose outside a small hotel. We knew that the next sure water source would be in Kissamos on the following day. The wind was really strong, and Ziggi almost lost his sleeping pad after a strong gust blew it in the direction of the beach.
Once prepared we headed north towards the ruins of Ancient Falassarna. I kept thinking about the wind and if it would be possible to find a nice spot where we could pitch our tent. Just after Ancient Falassarna the gravel road ended. We came across a closed fence with a lot of sheep inside. An old man was taking care of them and he came to open the gate for us. Unfortunately he did not speak English. Too bad because he was really trying to tell us something. I was a bit afraid that he meant to warn us about some obstacles on the way. But once we said goodbye and went on he did not try to stop us so we assumed we should be ok.
At this point the actual wild path started. It was not well defined but fortunately from time to time we could spot blue dots on bigger stones that helped us in finding our way. The dots we really helpful at times. As we had not much experience in hiking we weren't sure if we would make it to Balos. I kept thinking wether we would reach a point on our way that would seem to technically difficult for us and force us to return. There were no alternative routes, so we would either reach Balos or have to return to Falassarna. Actually this uncertainty of success grew the further we went, because the path seemed to get harder after every corner. But it was just a feeling and the actual hike was much simpler than we thought it would be. What seemed really hard from a distance turned out to be much easier once we came closer.
The weather was really great for walking. The clouds in the sky added to the drama of the scenery. Fortunately it did not rain, although the sky was really dark at times, with just a few rays of sun finding its way through. There were only a couple of places on the path were we had to use our hands for light scrambling. Towards the end of the day we kept wondering what the steep ridge of the mountain range would bring. We imagined a vertical wall with only a narrow shelf, just wide enough for passing. But the closer we came to the ridge the less frightening it looked. After the steep ridge we came across a long scree with big white stones. After crossing it we still had to climb a steep path towards

Overall this is not a technically difficult or dangerous path and I absolutely recommend this to anyone reasonably fit of course. Actually this was my favorite trek of the 9 days we spent on Crete. The fear of failing came from our lack of experience. Completing this track boosted our confidence, we were giddily looking forward to the next days.




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christelledubois - Jun 5, 2011 5:25 pm - Voted 10/10

Need informations

Thanks for your trip report, it's very interesting and it will be very helpful for organizing our trek to balos next week. However I need further informations:
- How long does it take to reach Balos?
- Where do you pitch your tent(on the beach)? And do you know if it's allowed to camp there?



plasmation - Jun 17, 2011 2:35 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Need informations

Hi Christelle. It took us about 6-7 hours to get to Balos from Piperiana. As far as I know officially it is forbidden to tent, but we had no problems. Then again we were there at the beginning of March and the place was deserted. There were some huts on the beach and I am sure there is some traffic during the season. You shouldn't have any problems, just find a good stop behind the bushes as it can get really windy. If you have other questions let me know. I still have to finish my reports on the rest of the hike (Paleochora to Sougia). For a much more detailed trip report on Balos go to the page that inspired us to make the hike: http://www.summitpost.org/pirates-in-the-mediterranean-a-rocky-scramble-in-crete-s-wild-west/310132


plasmation - Jun 6, 2011 7:10 am - Hasn't voted


Photos from the hike: http://plasmation.smugmug.com/Hiking/Crete/

christelledubois - Jun 6, 2011 5:35 pm - Voted 10/10


Hi Bartek,
Thank you very much for these additional information. On your website I saw pictures on which you seemed to be climbing\walking on steep cliffs. Are there (many) dangerous or difficult passage along the hike for a less experienced person? Did you use any special climbing equipments (rope...)? Is the path always properly delineated? Again, thanks for your time and appreciated advice.



plasmation - Jun 17, 2011 2:35 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Danger/Difficulties?

Any track can be dangerous if you are not careful ;). We are amateurs, but we found the track to be easily passable. No need for any hiking equipment, just tough shoes. Oh and hiking sticks were really useful. There is just a bit of scrambling at 2 points, but definitely no vertical walls or something like that. I have no idea what your skills/shape are, but if you feel reasonably fit then by all means make this hike as it is brilliant. The view is one of a kind. The whole track is well marked with blue dots (provided you go from Fallasarna to Balos, not the other way round). Sometimes it would take us a couple of minutes to spot the next marker. What we did before going to Crete was upload gps track logs from others just in case. We did not find any for the Balos track, but it was helpful a couple of times for the Sougia - Agia Roumeli hike. You can find the gpx file on the top of this page, but again, for this hike it is not necessary. Finally let me say again if I already mentioned it, this was definitely my favorite hike on Crete, my kind of thing, total peace, no one in sight just nature, the sea on one side, mountains on the other. Do it and let me know how it went! :]

Viewing: 1-5 of 5