Experiences

Exclusive yacht / boat charter

Exclusive yacht / boat charter – Only for Youphria villas guests
Youphoria villas guests can gain a different perspective of the coast of north west Crete and indulge in ultimate luxury by hiring a yacht or motor boat for an exclusive day trip.

5 useful tips helping you choose the best way to visit Balos lagoon and Gramvousa island by boat

Balos Laggon is one of the top beaches in Crete with unparallel beauty and turquoise waters.

In the last few years, there is a constant increase in the number of daily visitors of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa island. Both places owe their natural unspoiled beauty mainly to their remote location and most people do not seem to quite understand the mere facts around accessing them.

Here is a simple guide to help you plan your visit there

There are 2 ways to get to Balos lagoon.

By road. Drive by Car and then walk. Only gets you to Balos Beach .

By sea. Use different boats available.

The master Weather factor. All boat trips are subject to weather conditions and should be reconfirmed the night before travelling. Boats will not compensate or reimburse funds for bad weather conditions or sea sickness. This trip is on open waters and long distance and safety is a major issue.

Boat departures and sailing is regulated by coast guard to enhance safety. On rough weather conditions and winds small boats are not allowed to sail.

Balos by car

The final part of the road trip to Balos is a 11km bumpy dirt track (with rocks and thick gravel) leading to the parking space above Balos and then half hour walking downhill (sensible shoes highly recommended) on the paved path to get to Balos beach.

A few facts to consider here

Rented cars insurance is not valid to go on this dirt track road and car hire companies do not want their cars to go to Balos because of the bad road condition.

On the high season (July and August) the track is very busy with cars and the parking space might be full up so one has to park on the dirt track, sometimes far from the beginning of the path.

There are limited sun-beds available at Balos and only one cantina run by the municipality for food and drink. You are advised to take with you, hat, sun-block, beach towels, food and enough water along with your camera (suggest you take a panoramic photo from the top of the mountain on the right just off the path). It is usually too windy at Balos for a beach portable umbrella, so do not bother carrying one.

Balos By boat

One can use the large boats available at kisamos port. They take about one hour (11 miles) journey to reach Balos lagoon and Gramvousa island. They depart from around 10:00 and return around 18:00. They take from 600 people up to 1100 on the large roll on boat. One can get good food and drink on the boat. Some will take people on shore at Balos in groups of 40 using large barge boats. There is even one called Balos express that departs at noon 12:00 and visits exclusively Balos lagoon. The idea is to spend time in Balos off the peak time hours (11:00 to 15:00).

The ticket is around 27 € per person for the day trip. These boats are very large and depart on any weather conditions. They are good if you have sea sickness issues but you have to queue to get in and out and to do anything. In our experience, most of our villa guests tend to avoid these large boats for being the mass touristy way of getting there and seek for alternatives.

There is a smaller boat called Petalida (mob. 696949187598) that takes around 40 people and departs every afternoon from Falasarna small fishing harbor. Last year departure was at 14:00 from Falasarna and returned at 20:00. The boat uses a different route (furthest west) to the large boats from Kisamos port and this option requires checking very carefully the weather very near the trip time as western Crete is usually rough and windy. On Petalida boat one can buy sandwiches and drinks on board. Ticket is 27 €.

You might need: Something for windy weather on deck. If you have sea sickness issues avoid dairy and eat light at breakfast. Also take travel sickness pills 1 hour before travelling.

Balos by Private boat hire

This excusive way of experiencing Balos is ideal but not everyone can afford it. Roughly budget from 80 € to 100 € or more per person and take your pick of boat. If you are small numbers and cannot afford this, your only other option is to ask if you could be matched with other passengers to make up the numbers to go on a trip. This requires very good communication with the boat manager up to the night before trip is scheduled.

Your best choice is boats that sail from Kisamos port nearest to Balos. Some boats are available from Chania harbor or Kolymbari harbor. The long distance and consequently cost of fuel, travelling time and weather conditions is a something one has to consider very seriously when weighing this option.

Yacht hire. At the moment (2017) there is only 1 yacht available for hire from Kisamos port but at least one new is expected to be based there from summer 2018.

Balos Star is a 19 meters ship with double-engine (650hp each) boat, with a 25 m/ per hour speed. Boat can take up to 12 people. Prices start at around 750 € for the day for a group of around 10 and can vary depending on food / villa mini bus transfers required or special requests (birthday parties).

Indicative itinerary:

Your starting point is at Kissamos Harbour and after embarking at 10am, you will sail for 45 minutes at a speed of 20-25 knots to the crystal blue waters of Balos Bay.

Indicative day Itinerary is here:

After arriving at Gramvousa Island, you may decide to walk up the small path leading to the top of the island and be amazed by the stunning views from the castle. The castle was built by the Venetians on the edge of the cliff and was later conquered by the notorious Barba Rossa who turned Gramvousa into a pirate village. Legend says that the treasure of the pirate is still buried somewhere on the island.

Then back to the boat where the captain will prepare a light snack with wine, beer and refreshments that will cool you off from all the walking.

Next stop: Balos Lagoon where you can swim and snorkel from the boat in the clear turquoise sea or take a long, leisurely walk along the pink sandy beach that surrounds the lagoon.

Your amazing trip finishes at around 5.30pm with minds and souls in absolute tranquility.

The day trip Balos lagoon is also available with Smaller size speed boats that can take from 5 and up to 10 people and prices start at around 450 € per day for an exclusive trip

Fishing trips

Enjoy a unique experience fishing in the crystal clear waters of the bay of Kissamos. Our passengers have the opportunity to fish with our equipment and then enjoy dinner and a drink of their choice. Our cruise ends in the early evening when it returns to the port of Kissamos.

There are more yacht options departing from Chania harbor.

Rib boat

There is an increasing amount of boats of this kind available.

We are working with 3 of them all tested with good feedback from our guests.

The advantage is that some can only take up to 5 people and are somewhat cheaper than the yacht.

Prices start at 350€ and go up to 850€ depending on the boat and the group size.

There is one that departs daily from Falasarna harbor.

Rib boats can go fast and can have tent for shade but are generally small boats and very weather dependant. Also it is vital that you check that they are licensed and insured as this is a brand new business activity in Greece with legislation only been released for that in the last year or so.

Sailing boat

Currently available from Kisamos port. 10 m

It can take up to 7 people and prices from about 450 € for up to 6 people, kids go free or half price depending on age. Includes finger food and limited drinks.

Youphoria Villas
Youphoria Villas

Scuba Diving

Enjoy a unique experience on your holiday and learn about the underwater world of the Chania area with Oceanis Diving Centre. Spend a day learning and having fun then, experience the Mediterranean from above and below the water by making your first steps into Scuba Diving.

Enjoy a unique experience on your holiday and learn about the underwater world of the Chania area with Oceanis Diving Centre.

Snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving
Spend a day learning and having fun then, experience the Mediterranean from above and below the water by making your first steps into Scuba Diving.

You will be introduced to the underwater world along the Rodopos Peninsular, Kolymbari by experienced Oceanis leaders, and come close
to various marine life and rocky surroundings.

The morning is taken up with getting to know the basics then after a lunch break, you will start theory lessons of the equipment and its usage underwater, followed by an experience of Scuba in a pool. When you are ready, you will dive up to 6 metres in the sea for 45 minutes with our instructors who will ensure your safety.

The day includes:

Theory of the underwater environment of the Mediterranean Sea
Guided snorkeling along the Kolymbari coast
Snorkelling equipment
Waterproof fish card with the Mediterranean species
Feedback of the experience
Lunch
Theory of the principles of Scuba Diving
Diving equipment
Diving tuition in the pool and sea
Certificate of attendance from SSI (Scuba Schools International)
Transportation from and to the hotel
CD with photos
Scuba Diving in Crete

Diving Certification
Start your diving adventures and become a certified diver in one week. Be prepared to explore the Mediterranean Sea and be able to dive all around the world!

This one week course includes:

12 hours theory of Open Water Scuba Diving
8 dives in a pool and open sea
Education material
Examination fees
Certification as an open water diver
2 boat dives after qualification
1 meal per day
Transportation from and to the hotel
Requirements: good physical condition, knowledge of swimming

Enjoy a unique experience on your holiday and learn about the underwater world of the Chania area with Oceanis Diving Centre.
Snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving Spend a day learning and having fun then, experience the Mediterranean from above and below the water by making your first steps into Scuba Diving.
You will be introduced to the underwater world along the Rodopos Peninsular, Kolymbari by experienced Oceanis leaders, and come close
to various marine life and rocky surroundings.

The morning is taken up with getting to know the basics then after a lunch break, you will start theory lessons of the equipment and its usage underwater, followed by an experience of Scuba in a pool. When you are ready, you will dive up to 6 metres in the sea for 45 minutes with our instructors who will ensure your safety.

The day includes:

Theory of the underwater environment of the Mediterranean Sea
Guided snorkeling along the Kolymbari coast
Snorkelling equipment
Waterproof fish card with the Mediterranean species
Feedback of the experience
Lunch
Theory of the principles of Scuba Diving
Diving equipment
Diving tuition in the pool and sea
Certificate of attendance from SSI (Scuba Schools International)
Transportation from and to the hotel
CD with photos
Diving Certification
Start your diving adventures and become a certified diver in one week. Be prepared to explore the Mediterranean Sea and be able to dive all around the world!

This one week course includes:

12 hours theory of Open Water Scuba Diving
8 dives in a pool and open sea
Education material
Examination fees
Certification as an open water diver
2 boat dives after qualification
1 meal per day
Transportation from and to the hotel
Requirements: good physical condition, knowledge of swimming

A Bee Keeping Experience

Visit a real Cretan apiary and experience a journey within the magic world of the Honeybee.

Greece and in particular, Crete has a long history of bee keeping from Minoan era.

Greece holds the 5th largest bee population in Europe.

Crete has more than 1800 species of plants, many of them endemic to the island. This is because of the wide range of different micro climates formed by the island’s diversification of landscapes and geology.

As one can understand, this diverse and rich in flowers environment, can only work as a strong motive for the locals to breed honeybee colonies.

Two types of honey are prominent in Crete, Thyme and Pine honey.

Just like the plant of origin, Thyme honey is extremely aromatic, with a unique flavor profile and intense taste.

As for the medicinal properties of it, thyme honey boasts strong antioxidant, antibacterial, energizing and immunomodulating health effects.

Pine honey on the other hand, has density and viscosity while smell and taste are reminiscent of pine sap.
Pine honey has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it stimulates the immune system and helps in the cure of several dermatological, degenerative and autoimmune diseases.
The raw, unprocessed, unfiltered honey is the healthiest because it preserves all its beneficial compounds unaltered.

A visit to our apiary will familiarize you with other, extremely beneficial products produced by the same honeybee, like the Pollen, the Royal jelly and Propolis, rich in vitamins, proteins and flavonoids.

We aim to provide you, with an experience of the honeybee world and how it affects your every day life!

You will be guided by a honeybee enthusiast, and you will have the chance to see that there is much more to a honeybee than meets the eye. We are a three generations family of beekeepers and we try to keep it small scale. We love bee keeping and do not believe in the industrialization of the honeybee.

We will do our best to give you a first-hand experience, of how a mega brain that is a bee colony is organized, witnessing through a glass-hive the absolute order and progress that defines the colony and in the process of the event, we will explain to you, everything there is to know about the amazing life of the bee Queen and how it controls the entire colony.

Special aspects of the honeybee life will be unfolded before you, as –for example- how the Royal Jelly transforms a common larva to a Queen, how the colony has extreme similarities with the human society when it comes to policy, how much of your daily food gets in your plate just because of the honeybee pollination (about 35% of all plants that produce edible fruit, would be extinct without the bees) and many other bizarre things that will amaze you!

Please contact your Concierge for a quote on the whole event or a price per person for larger groups. Prices include the guided walk around, a presentation of an actual colony through a glass hive and a Q&A session to answer any questions you might have about the extraordinary world of a honeybee.

Of course you will get a taste of our artisan honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and rakomelo (honey and raki – a local alcohol drink), produced by the very hives that you will visit.

Protective nets and one use plastic gloves will be provided at the apiary.

Guests are advised to wear long sleeves and long trousers. It would be strongly recommended that visitors would not wear any kind of perfume.

The whole event normally lasts about1 hour, but depending on the interest of the participants it can be extended.

Youphoria Villas