Due to its strategic location, Gramvoussa was fortified by the Venetians, who built a well-fortified castle on the top of a steep rock at an altitude of 137 m.
Construction on the castle of Gramvoussa started in 1579 and ended in 1582. It was destroyed in 1588, however, when thunder struck on the powder store. The castle was rebuilt in 1630.
It was one of the three castles to remain under Venetian dominion after the Turkish occupation of Crete
Even though the castle was impregnable, during the Venetian-Turkish war the Italian commandant was bribed by the Turks and he gave over the castle in 1692.
During the Greek uprising against the Turks, Gramvoussa played an important and desicive role. After many attempts the castle was finally occupied by the Cretan revolutioners in 1825, when a team of Cretans disguised as Turks entered the castle. Gramvoussa was the first part of Crete to be liberated by the Turks.
The rocky island became a shelter for over 3000 people, and a base of operations for the revolution teams. But it also became a base of pirates that plundered every ship that passed to the seas around the island, so with the agreement of the Greek Government an English-French garrison took over the island of Gramvoussa in 1828.
Today, the high walls of the Gramvoussa are preserved, half ruined but awesome.
Opposite to the island of Gramvoussa is the wonderful beach of Balos.
The beach is covered with fine white sand and is located between the two creeks of the Tigani cape. The same white sand covers the bottom of the sea and grants to the sea an emerald color. In front of the beach is the picturesque island of Gramvoussa and on the back is the Geroskinos mountain (altitude 762 m).
The road from Kaliviani is well-paved dirt road, with amazing view to the steep rocky seaside of the east side of the peninsula. The road ends one-two km before the beach, and the visitor can follow a pave road to Balos.