The islet of Gramvousa (Imeri Gramvousa) is located in the norhtwesternmost part of Crete
, near the Balos
lagoon and the rocky Gramvousa peninsula. The island is not inhabited but it has historical value and host the ruins of an old Venetian fortress. As a plus it boast two splendid coves with sparkling blue water and a shipwreck between them. The top of the islet is very flat and pretty much resembles Tigani peninsula of Balos.
The fortress was built around 1580 by the Venetian in their struggle against the Ottoman Turks, and it was one of the last conquered fortifications on Crete. It covers the southeast part of the islet at a height of 137 meters, reachable via narrow path (10-15 min hike). There is not much left from the interior of the castle, except for a small chapel and a gate. The exterior walls, however, are entirely preserved and from them a panoramic view is revealed towards the beaches, the shipwreck, the coastline of Crete and the wild islet of Agria Gramvousa which is flat, too. The larger cove has a beach cafe selling drinks and light snacks, but no parasols are available. The sand is mixed with pebbles and there are flat rocks in the sea around the shoreline but the water is crystal and shallow, with different hues of the blue. The smaller beach is even more rocky. The shipwreck is just a few meters from the coast and you can easily swim to it.
Gramvousa can be visited with a boat cruise from Kissamos
, usually combined with a visit of the Balos lagoon and a tour around the coastline of Kissamos gulf. You will have approximately 1-1.5 hours to climb up to the fortress and have a rest/swim at the beach before you head to Balos. Some cruises offer beach parasols for their clients as well. In case you want to spend more time on Gramvousa, you can hire a yacht or a private boat trip.