Passengers who are traveling by the ferry to Kissamos, disembark on Crete Island, a land of untamed beauty, spectacular landscapes and the most exotic beaches!
This picturesque seaside town sits on the northwest of the island in a fertile valley about 40 kilometers from the prefecture capital of Chania. Also known as Kastelli after the Venetian fort that used to stand in the town, it is a relatively quiet resort area where the locals are still engaged in traditional activities such as agriculture and wine production.
Kissamos may seem like a laid-back town now, but in the past, it was an ancient port that saw Roman and Byzantine rule, as well as raiding pirates. You can discover more about its intriguing past by visiting the town’s museum, the 6th-century site of the Dorian town of Polyrrinia, as well as soaking up the natural beauty of its spectacular coastline and inland gorges.
Book your ferry tickets to Kissamos in advance and witness the enchantment of one of the most beautiful places in Crete!
Kissamos ferry routes
Getting to Kissamos can be achieved either from the Greek mainland ports of Piraeus and Lavrio in Athens, as well as from Kythera Island. Board on the ferry from Athens to Kissamos and reach the island in about 10 hours with a conventional vessel, always depending on the port of departure and the number of stopovers. Note that using the ferry is not only the cheapest way to get to Kissamos but also the most exciting one since you get to admire the beautiful endless blue sea and feel the summer breeze.
Piraeus to Kissamos Ferry
The Piraeus Kissamos ferry route connects Athens with Crete. The crossing operates up to 2 times each week with sailing durations from around 10.5 hours.
Ferry Route from Gythion to Kissamos
The ferry route from Gythion to Kissamos is easy, ferries operate all year round. This route is operated all year round. Tickets for this route are available for passengers as well as vehicles, such as cars and motor bikes. The trip duration from Gythio to Kissamos is 6.5h.
Ferry Kissamos to Kythera
The ferry from Kissamos to Kythera goes via Antikythera Island. There are regular ferries and the ferry, the trip takes about 4-5 hours.
Port of Kissamos
As a port town, Kissamos is a hub of activity, with ferries coming and going throughout the year. Despite its popularity, it has retained its charm as a traditional fishing village where the pace of life is slow and relaxed.
It is located in the wide Bay of Kissamos, which is formed by the two prominent peninsulas of Gramvousa and Rodopou, giving it an impressive setting indeed. The town has a nice long pebbly and sandy beach and it offers all the amenities one would need, such as waterfront taverns, shops, banks, and cafés along the promenade.
There is a small fishing port as well as the larger one serving the passenger ferries arriving from Piraeus, the Peloponnese, Kythira, and connecting ferries from Chania. It is from here that you can also catch the boats that make daily cruises to the impressive island of Gramvousa and the beautiful Balos lagoon.
Transportation in Kissamos
Kissamos is easy to get around on foot because it is so small, while also being well-connected to Chania and other major towns in northern Crete by the coastal road, with regular buses and taxis to transport you.
- From Chania by car: Kastelli is located 40 km west of Chania. If you choose to get there by car, take the National Road from Chania to Kissamos. It is approximately a 1 hour drive
- From Chania to Kissamos by bus: There are several daily buses arriving to Kissamos from Chania. Please, check Kissamos Buses for further details
- From Rethymno and Heraklion to Kissamos by car: If you choose to drive, take the National Road to Rethymno and Chania. Do not enter the city of Chania but continue straight on to Kissamos. It is about 1.5 and 2.5 hours drive respectively
- From Rethymno and Heraklion to Kissamos by bus: Take a bus from Rethymnon or Heraklion to Chania. When you arrive at the Ktel bus station in Chania you have to change buses to Kissamos. Take a look in Buses to Kissamos in order to plan your trasportation
- You can always Book a Taxi for your transportation, if you want to feel more comfortable and have a faster trip.
Kissamos Port to Balos Beach
The boats depart from the port of Kissamos (Kavonisi) to Gramvousa island and Balos beach. Kissamos or Kasteli is a small scenic town, on the northwestern part of Crete, approximately 43 kilometers from the city of Chania. The excursions depart daily from April until October (depending on the weather).
Holidays in Kissamos
Kissamos offers you the relaxation of a traditional Cretan town and its world-renowned cuisine while being the gateway to some of the best beaches in Crete.
This lovely Cretan town with a population around 7,500 retains its character and rhythms of daily Greek life, whilst providing hospitality for the visitor. The town is an agricultural centre for the region, the major activities being wine and olives. The brandy-like dry red wine is delicious.
Places to visit & Things to do in Kissamos
The main town of Kissamos, or Kastelli as it is also known, has remained very untouched by the influx of tourism. The pedestrianized roads mean that you can wander around with ease, browsing its many shops before stopping at one of the cafés and taverns.
- Visit the Archaeological Museum while you are here, which is housed in a recently renovated building in the central square of Stratigou Tzanakaki. It has exhibits dating from the Hellenistic to the Roman periods, as well as from Crete’s more recent past
- Explore the old quarter of the town at Skalidi Street with its traditional arched buildings and local craft shops before enjoying some delicious Cretan cuisine at one of the welcoming restaurants
- Kaliviani is a tiny village just a couple of kilometers east of Kissamos which is worth visiting if you wish to get an insight into authentic village life. It has a population of about 300 residents who are engaged in traditional farming and you will notice how the area is surrounded by verdant olive groves
- Enjoy is the wonderful view over the Bay of Kissamos and it is the ideal place to stay if you want to embrace the true spirit of Cretan life
- Ennia Horia are nine villages scattered around the mountains of the Kastelli region and most of them are so small that people simply drive through them on their way to Elafonisi. Covered in dense chestnut tree forests, this is a beautiful region and you can stop off at the hamlets of Vathi, Kefali, Vlatos, Elos, Perivolia, Chrysoskalitissa, Amigdalokefali, and Kambos to get a sense of the untouched local mountain lifestyle
- Milia is the 9th village in the mountainous terrain mentioned above, and it’s the most famous due to its reconstructed traditional houses, funded by the European Community. Set high up on the slopes and tucked away from the rest of the world in a lush wooded area, where it seems that time has stood still
The village stood abandoned before it was turned into a self-sufficient ecotourism retreat. Amenities are limited to solar power and log burners but you will love the rustic charm and the exquisite farm-to-table dishes served at its one and only restaurant
- Visit the village of Polyrinia, built upon the foothills of the ancient city of Polyrinia, 7 km south of Kastelli. You will notice that many of the houses have been built with materials from the old city, merging old and new in an unlikely way
- Check out the impressive Andrianos aqueduct with the marble fountains and the remains of an old olive mill, the pillars of which were taken from the temple of Artemis. Also of interest is the church of the Holy Mother built inside a cave, which once served as a secret school during the Ottoman occupation
- Ancient Polyrinia used to stand on the hilltop at a height of 418 meters and when you visit the archaeological site you will be amazed at the fantastic views overlooking the Cretan and the Libyan Sea. The city itself was founded by the Dorians in the 6th century BCE and later became a Roman stronghold and the best-fortified city of Crete before the Venetians took over
- Many of the old structures go back to the Roman period and include an aqueduct built by Hadrian and the Byzantine acropolis. The Church of the Holy Fathers that you can see today was built on the site of the Ancient Temple of Artemis, using material from the original ancient structure
Beaches in Kissamos
When you book your ferry ticket to Kissamos, you are gaining access to some of the most stunning beaches in Crete and even in all of Greece, which visitors flock from all over the world to see.
Dive into blue crystal waters, pink-shelled coastlines, and turquoise coves as you explore the best beaches near Kissamos.
- Balos Lagoon: There is nowhere more spectacular than the beautiful blue lagoon of Balos; an extraordinary paradise sitting opposite the windswept headland of Mount Geroskinos, where you can see the rocky islet of Gramvousa. As you wade through the shallow waters, you will feel as if you are somewhere in the Caribbean and the mesmerizing setting is simply picture perfect. Getting to the beach by road is quite a journey so it is easier to take one of the boats leaving daily from Kissamos port, which usually combines the trip with lunch or snacks on board
- Gramvousa: The island of Imeri Gramvousa is 20 km northwest of Kissamos and is right next to Balos Lagoon. It is a large rock which you can ascend to explore the Venetian fortress and check out the great view. An abandoned shipwreck can be spotted near one of its two large bays and the turquoise cove near the church of the Holy Apostles offers crystalline waters for swimmers and snorkelers. The area of Gramvousa is a protected nature reserve as it is home to more than 100 species of birds and 400 species of flora, in addition to the Mediterranean seal (Monachus monachus) and the endangered sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
- Falasarna (or Phalasarna) is located on the west of Crete just 15 kilometers from Kissamos and upon arrival, you will be stunned by its raw, natural beauty. The azure waters stretch along a fine sandy beach and its position makes it a unique sunset spot after a day of basking in its transparent sea. As you approach the beach, you will pass through a fertile coastal plain and 1.5 kilometers away, you can explore the cave of Nerospillia, which was used even as far back as the Middle Minoan Period
- Elafonisi lies to the south of Kissamos and is well worth the 41-kilometer trek, as you will never see another beach like this in Europe. It is formed into an oblong peninsula that often breaks into segments, creating tiny islets surrounded by shallow water. Sand dunes join the coastline but what makes it even more impressive is the pink sand that is composed of minuscule shards of shells. The beach is well organized and prepared to serve the huge number of visitors but is also home to the loggerhead sea turtle and therefore a Natura 2000 protected area. On your way to the beach, you will pass through the lush village of Elos and the imposing Topolia Gorge
- Mavros Molos: If you want to enjoy a swim nearer to the center of Kissamos, you can go to Mavros Molos and relax on the long, sandy bay. It is the town’s main beach so offers facilities for all the family and has shallow, clean waters for you to bathe in. Some tamarisk trees provide a natural shade and to the west of the beach lies a smaller cove which is perfect for snorkeling
Accommodation in Kissamos
There are plenty of hotels, airbnb, rooms and accommodation in the town. A wide range of Kissamos apartments, hotels, resorts and villas all over the island welcome you to enjoy your stay by the sea offering all the requested facilities.
Here are some suggestions in order to choose your ideal hotel in Kissamos:
- Christina Beach
- Sunny Bay
- Nautilus Bay
- Crystal Bay
- Galini Beach
- Elena Beach
- Aphrodite Beach
- Maria Beach