Lake Kournas

Lake Kournas: A Tranquil Oasis in the Heart of Crete

Lake Kournas is Crete’s largest natural lake, situated in an attractive setting between the west slopes of the White Mountains and the fertile plain of Georgioupolis. It is located near the village of Kournas, 2.5 kilometers south of Georgioupolis’ beach, 43 kilometers east of Chania, and 20 kilometers west of Rethymnon. Lake Kournas and its environs are an important ecosystem for the island because the larger area of Apokoronas is one of the few sites on Crete where plenty of fresh water is stored all year.

Natural Splendor

Enveloped by lush vegetation and surrounded by rolling hills, Lake Kournas captivates with its natural splendor.

The name Kournas is thought to be derived from the Arabic word kurna, which means “lake” or “bath.” Korissia is mentioned in ancient writings, and it is thought that the location once had a sanctuary dedicated to Korissia Athena.

The lake is formed by the buildup of groundwater from the White Mountains, although there are a few local myths about its creation. The water flows from a spring known as Mati (meaning “eye”), which is visible on the lake’s surface during the summer but concealed beneath it during the winter. There is a second spring that is always underneath the surface.

Lake Kournas stands 20 metres above sea level. It has a surface area of 579,000 square metres and is shallow, with the deepest point reaching a depth of 22.5 metres.

Lake Kournas: Cretan Nature Beauty
Lake Kournas: Cretan Nature Beauty

A Haven for Wildlife Enthusiasts

This area of Crete is protected under the Natura 2000 program, providing a safe sanctuary for the species that live there.

The lake is surrounded by hills and mountains, creating a serene and peaceful environment for the area’s animals.

It is home to a variety of wildlife, including herons, cormorants, ducks, geese, eels, goldfish, and water snakes.

The uncommon diamondback terrapin is one of the most intriguing species found in the lake.

This turtle species is noted for its peculiar and stunning look, with green, black, and yellow colors that make it a one-of-a-kind sight for lake visitors.

Help to keep Lake Kournas clean and beautiful by disposing of your waste properly and respecting the environment.

activities: Adventure on the Water

At Lake Kournas, there are a variety of activities to suit all tastes and reasons for your visit.

Pedal Boats:

If you want a tranquil and enjoyable way to see the breathtaking grandeur of the natural lake, look no further than a pedal boat, or as we call them here, water bikes!

We strongly recommend this trip if you wish to make the most of Lake Kournas’ natural beauty.

These various types of boats allow tourists to cruise deeper into the lake’s center, giving them a completely different view of its natural wonders.

Individuals must allow themselves to be captivated by a sense of tranquility while admiring the gorgeous scenery that surrounds them as they travel across the calm seas.

Of course, there is the option of renting kayaks. Kayaking out into the middle of the lake, surrounded by green hills and mountains, is a genuinely unique and relaxing experience.

The charge is by the hour, and the cost is around 8 euros.

Leasure Day & Snorkeling:

Lake Kournas is a fantastic spot for a relaxing day of sightseeing, as well as a great place to swim.

During the warmer months, visitors can rejuvenate themselves by swimming in the lake and floating in its tranquil embrace.

The waters are so pure and quiet that they provide a relaxing setting in which one may unwind and feel more connected to nature.

If you prefer underwater exploration, you may always bring your snorkeling gear with you. Take a deep dive to get a closer look at the lake’s marine life.

Lake Kournas: Leasure Day
Lake Kournas: Leasure Day

Trail Trekking:

If you enjoy hiking, the trails that encircle Lake Kournas provide you with the option to go on an adventure through Crete’s lovely landscape.

As people make their way down the twisting paths, take a moment to appreciate the spectacular views of the lake and the picturesque surroundings.

The routes are designed to accommodate hikers of various experience levels, allowing people of all levels to hike at their own speed and to the best of their abilities.

We recommend proper footwear and breathable clothes.

Lake Kournas
Lake Kournas


Visitors who enjoy photography will find numerous opportunities to capture magnificent images at Lake Kournas.

The landscape is bathed in a mystical glow from sunrise to sunset as a result of fluctuating light conditions, creating a stunning canvas of colors and reflections that are a joy to photograph.

The stunning scenery will inspire tourists to take images that capture the spirit of such a magical spot, regardless of their ability level, whether they are professional photographers or just starting out with a smartphone.

Dinning over the stunning views

When you visit Lake Kournas in Crete, you can expect a culinary delight.

The Lake is not just magnificent but also a gastronomic delight, thanks to the numerous taverns along its banks.

You can eat delicious food and drink refreshing beverages while admiring the breathtaking view of the lake.

Enjoy tasty food while taking in the lovely scenery. If you are visiting with children, you may make use of the playgrounds at the tavernas or along the lakeshore and let them play while you eat.

If you want a higher vantage point, there are tavernas on the hill where you may enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Kournas while eating or drinking.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN lake kournas

Rent a Pedal Boat
Sun bathing
Trail Trekking
Enjoy local food
Family Moments

How to Get There

By car:

Getting to Lake Kournas by car is a convenient and efficient option for visitors. The lake is easily accessible via the main road. Here’s how to get to Lake Kournas by car:
From Chania: Take the national road 90 from Chania to Rethymnon and follow it until you reach the Kavros intersection. From there, follow the signs for Lake Kournas. The journey from Chania to Lake Kournas should take approximately 45 minutes.
From Rethymno and Heraklion, you get to the lake on the national road 90 towards Chania until you reach the Kavros intersection. From there, as before, follow the signs for Lake Kournas. The journey from Rethymno to Lake Kournas should take approximately 30 minutes, and from Heraklion, it should take approximately 2 hours.

We recommend using GPS for your travels in Crete.

By bus: 

If you’re riding the bus, get out at Kavros and catch the “Happy Train” to the lake. This lovely train trip will take you through the stunning landscapes of the Chania region, providing you with a one-of-a-kind experience on your route to the lake. The cost of the train ride is relatively inexpensive, making it an affordable and enjoyable alternative to driving. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the picturesque route to Lake Kournas.


Of course, there is the option of getting a taxi or another private transfer. We couldn’t be sure about the cost of this service.


Lake Kournas is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and travellers seeking a unique experience. Lake Kournas beckons travelers seeking an escape into the heart of Cretan nature and culture. With its stunning scenery, exciting activities, and rich heritage, this captivating lake promises an experience that lingers long after your visit. So, pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and embark on a journey to discover the magic of Lake Kournas.


Sunset Splendor!
Plan your visit around sunset for a magical experience. The sun casting hues of orange and pink over the lake creates a mesmerizing spectacle. It's an ideal time for a romantic boat ride, dinner, or a leisurely lakeside stroll.
Nature Observation & Exploration!
Take a moment to simply sit by the lakeside and observe nature. Whether it's the ripples on the water or the local fauna. Explore the trails that offer different perspectives of the landscape.
Water Activities!
If you're an adventure enthusiast, inquire about other water activities available at the lake. Some providers offer kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, providing a more active way to experience the water.
Local Cuisine Exploration!
While enjoying a meal at a lakeside taverna is a must, consider exploring local specialties. Ask for recommendations and try dishes that showcase the flavors of the region.
Visit Off-Peak!
If possible, plan your visit during the off-peak hours or seasons to avoid crowds. A quieter atmosphere allows for a more intimate connection with the lake and its surroundings.
Respect the Environment!
Help preserve the natural beauty of Lake Kournas by being mindful of the environment. Dispose of waste properly, adhere to designated paths, and avoid disturbing wildlife. Sustainable tourism ensures that this pristine landscape remains unspoiled for future visitors.

Destinations near lake kournas

More options for nearby locations to plan your vacations better!


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