I was blown away by the beauty and the landscape of Balos lagoon. Have seen pretty many places in my life, but this was something very special.
We rented a car (a jeep) and arrived at the parking area about 10.00 am to start the 30 minute easy trek down. The much feared dirt road - at least to me - was a peace of cake. I did not find it dangerous. Surely you need to drive slowly, but in any case the views are so spectacular, so what´t the point to hurry. The only issue is that some rental companies or your insurance do not allow to take a regular car to a dirt road, so if something happens, you might be on your own and without insurance coverage. Good to check this. Most people, however, arrive there in their normal (2 wheel drive) cars. But one needs to be careful particularly at the end of the road. The parking area is the worst with big rocks that could potentially damage your car. You can park your car some few hundred meters before the parking area to avoid this.
They charge a 1 euro per person entrance fee to the dirt road.
The point is to experience the lagoon, before the massive ferries loaded with hundreds (if not thousands) of day tourists arrive. This means to arrive there around 09.30-10.00 and you have some 1-2 hours of near privacy (other potion is to come around 5 pm). After that (between 11-16 hrs), needless to say, it gets very busy. It is a large area, so you don´t feel crowded, but the magic of Balos is early in the morning. Also the best spot to take photos is high on the hill, when you have perfect back-light. In the afternoon the light is not so good anymore.
Two sunbeds and an umbrella costs 6 euro. There is a canteen where you can buy beer, sandwiches, fruits, water and softdrinks. The canteen is reasonable priced (beer 3 euro, sandwhich 3 euro etc).
A walk uphill takes some 30 minutes. With few resting stops it is quite ok, unless you have a knee etc problems.
Doing Balos with a private car and trekking down is HIGHLY recommended.
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