Lake Kournas is Crete’s one and only freshwater lake. Formerly known as Lake Koressia, the popular tourist destination is set amid a beautiful landscape, lying in a valley surrounded by trees, just 3km inland from Georgioupolis.
Though widely recognised as one of Europe’s great lakes, Lake Kournas is relatively small, with a maximum length of 1,087m and a maximum breadth of 880m. It covers an area of 579,000 square metres and is generally shallow, reaching 22.5 m at its deepest point.
This much loved sweetwater lake lies approximately 20m above sea level.
Lake Kournas is the ideal setting for a relaxing daytrip. On grey days, the landscape is reminiscent of a mountain lake in the Alps – and an altogether different kind of holiday! Typically, however the surrounding areas is in keeping with an exotic weekend destination. It makes for a brilliant backdrop in which to enjoy a picnic or leisurely swim. Pedalo hire is also available.
Be mindful that anyone hoping to walk around the lake waters will be left disappointed. Despite various literature promising otherwise, this isn’t possible… at least not at the end of the winter season.
Visitors are better served heading to the nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. Alternatively, there is a rustic road from the north that leads to the hills on the western side of the water.
The original ‘Koressia’ name was derived from ancient 'Korion', a city believed to have stood in the area, complete with a temple to Athena. The lake was said to be filled with eels but is better known today for terrapins and tourism. Its current title is taken from the Arabic word for lake. And given its enduring appeal, tavernas and pedalo rental shops have sprung up along the shore.
Despite being hundreds of years old the lake retains its beauty, with White Mountains reflected in mirror-like waters. You simply have to take the opportunity to visit what is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Did you know?
If you stand barefoot in the water on the sandy beach, you’ll find tiny fish will (painlessly) nibble dead skin from your feet… for free! This is a treatment several tourist shops charge for!