Crete is an island that never ceases to amaze with its breathtaking scenery, dreamybeaches, traditional villages and hidden gems. Among these, Lake Kournas deserves particular attention. It’s a must-see on any trip to Crete, whether for a day trip or a longer stay.
Lake Kournas is undoubtedly one of the island’s jewels. Whether for its natural wealth, the many activities it offers or its proximity to must-see sites such as Rethymnon, Heraklion, the Samaria Gorge, Agios Nikolaos or the island of Spinalonga, this lake is a must-visit destination on a trip to Crete.
A natural gem not to be missed
Lake Kournas is the largest natural lake in Crete!
Nestled between the mountains, this lake offers an impressive visual spectacle with its clear, turquoise waters. Surrounded by lush vegetation, it’s a true haven of peace. It’s an ideal place for those looking to recharge their batteries away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Above all, for those who come to Crete above all to swim, it’s a great alternative to the beaches!
Where is Lake Kournas in Crete?
Located near the village of Kournás in the nome of Chania in Greece, Lake Kournás is a lake in Crete. It is 5 km from the island’s north coast, close to Georgioúpoli, and 3.5 km long. The lake takes its name from the nearby town of Kournás, which is surrounded by the White Mountains.
A lake with a unique ecosystem
Lake Kournas is much more than just a body of water. It’s a truly unique ecosystem in Crete, where flora and fauna thrive in a peaceful, unspoilt environment.
Thefreshwater lake is home to many animal species, including :
- freshwater turtles ,
- water snakes (non-venomous, like all snakes in Crete!)
- and freshwater fish such as mullet.
In terms of flora, the vegetation around the lake is typical of the Mediterranean region, with olive trees, cypresses and holm oaks. Localolive oil production is highly reputed. During your visit, be sure to sample this local olive oil, which is a real treat for the taste buds.
The lake is also an ideal spot for birdwatching. Many species of migratory birds stop off at Lake Kournas during their migration, providing a fascinating spectacle for nature lovers.
What to do at Lake Kournas 4 recommended activities!
An undeniable advantage of this lake is the wide range ofactivities it offers!
1. Water activities!
You can opt for a boat, pedalo, paddle or kayak trip on the lake to take full advantage of the beauty of the site. It doesn’t cost much (€10/hr), and not only can you swim, but you can also exercise!
Check out Neraida Pedal Boats ideally located on the lakefront
2. Hiking and biking
If you’ve already read this article on hiking in Crete, then you’ll surely know that the island of Candia is a land of walking and sporty trails!
And if you prefer to stay on terra firma, there are numerous hiking trails along Lake Kournas, allowing you to explore on foot or by bike.
With a circumference of 3.5km, you’ll have cycled all the way around in no time, but there are plenty of trails all around, with magnificent panoramic views from the heights.
To rent electric or non-electric bikes and ride around Lake Kournas, we invite you to inquire at Gerogioupoli or Kavros, from where some excursions depart!
3. Visit the surrounding villages!
The lake is also close to several picturesque villages. For example, you can visit Kournas, a typical Cretan village with white houses, a craft market and narrow cobbled streets.
You can also visit Georgioupolis, a much more touristy coastal village renowned for its long sandy beach.
4. See turtles!
The last and probably best activity on Lake Kournas is turtle-watching!
And yes, the lake is home to several of them. So don’t hesitate to don a mask and swim with our shellfish friends. Be careful when you’re on a boat!