Lake of Kournas

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MyCretaCab - Kournas Lake

Distance from Heraklion: 106 km

Distance from Chania: 45 km

Activities: Water sports, hiking

Best time to visit: All year round

Shallow and calm waters

Amenities: Accommodation, food, water, organized beach


The Lake of Kournas, located in a magnificent scenery between the western slopes of the White Mountains and the fertile plain of Georgioupolis, is the largest natural freshwater lake on Crete. During the period of the Arab rule on Crete, the lake got its name from the word “lake” in Arabic and since then it has been paraphrased into the Greek word “Krounos”.

For such a beautiful lake there are, of course, legends about how it was created. According to the most famous myth, while a father and his beautiful daughter were working in their fields, the daughter was combing her hair and her father was admiring her. Her father, bewitched by her beauty, was soon sexually attracted to her and approached her with wicked intentions. The girl, terrified, cried out “Sink and Sink-lake and I a spirit in the lake!” The ground shook and sank at once. Thus the lake was created and the daughter became a nymph. According to the stories of the locals, even nowadays the nymph rises from the depths of the waters to sit on a rock in the middle of the lake.

The Lake of Kournas is one of the most favorite destinations on Crete for visitors and locals alike. If you are looking for a place to relax and take a walk, the lake is the ideal destination for you, as the walk around it takes less than an hour (3.5 km). You can even rent one of the paddle boats to explore the magnificent scenery admiring the ducks as they waddle happily along the banks of the lake. The turquoise waters in combination with the surrounding lush vegetation make up a wonderful scenery, especially on days when the lake waters are calm and peaceful. If all of this has whetted your appetite, there are plenty of dining options in the taverns near the main street.

The lake is a natural freshwater biotope that accommodates a great variety of migratory birds, a safe haven to the area’s avifauna protected by the Natura 2000 program, while it hosts rare species of fish, reptiles, ducks and endemic plants of Crete.

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