Lake Kournas, the unique natural freshwater lake in Crete

Panoramic view of Lake Kournas, Crete

Lake Kournas is a lake on the island of Crete, Greece, near the village of Kournas. It is in the Apokoronas municipality of Chania regional unit close to the border with Rethymno regional unit, 47 km from the town of Chania. Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill overlooking the lake.

Crete’s only freshwater lake, Lake Kournas, is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.

The stunning turquoise waters of Lake Kournas, Crete

The lake used to be called ‘Korisia’ after ancient ‘Korion’, a city thought to be in the area with a temple to Athena. The lake reportedly used to be full of eels but now is better known for its terrapins and tourism.

Tavernas and pedalo rental shops line part of the shore. Overall, however, the lake retains its beauty, the White Mountains reflected in the mirror-like waters.

The width, at the point where the landing stage is built, is about 800 m and the water is of a quality to have caused no ill effects to the writer when he swam across.

If you stand, barefoot, in the water on the sandy beach, tiny fish will (painlessly) nibble dead skin from your feet for free! This is a treatment, which several tourist shops currently (2012) offer at a price.

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