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Kournas Lake
Kournas Lake

Kournas Lake

Georgioupoli, Greece, 730 07

The Basics

Lake Kournas is at its best during summer, when the water recedes and reveals a strip of white sand. You can explore the outer reaches of the lake by canoe or paddleboat, walk around the lake’s 2-mile (3.5-kilometer) perimeter, or even visit as part of an off-road 4x4 adventure. Also, Lake Kournas has been granted the EU’s Natura 2000 preservation status, which recognizes and protects its varied bird and marine life. There are a huge number of species to spot, including water snakes, herons, cormorants, and the rare diamondback terrapin.

To immerse yourself in the Greek way of life, consider joining a combined lake and winery tour. Other guided tours that stop at the lake take in western Crete’s cities, villages, and natural scenery.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Crete

star-4
Shopping gallorel
Karen_E, Sep 2021
Chania Rethymnon Kournas, full day professional guided coach tour
Chania had more to see than Rethymnon. Not enough time to swim. Not enough historical focus for us. Would have Iike a walking tour of each city rather than have free time for shopping.
star-5
A highlight of my Crete trip
Mamdoh_M, Jul 2021
Private tour with a local! Wine tasting with light lunch and lake pedalo
A brilliant trip where you can visit the only natural lake in the island, an olive oil factory that is owned by a local family for generations and then the wonderful wine tasting at Dourakis! The amazing Angella whom I had the pleasure to have as a tour guide was very punctual, super friendly and welcoming and accommodating and made me feel like I’m going touring with one of my very family! This private tour is highly recommended and myself I will book her again when I’m back in town.
star-5
Absolutely one in a million experience
inspiremejoanna, Jun 2019
Private tour with a local! Wine tasting with light lunch and lake pedalo
This tour was incredible! The guide is the loveliest and kindest woman with such attention to detail and she made sure we adored every single second. The lake is gorgeous and the boat ride was relaxing and breathtaking with loads of fabulous photo opportunities. But the best part by far was the winery tour. The wines were all delicious and the lunch was the best we had in Crete. The tour of the winery was very informative and unique! We cannot reccommend this tour enough. Thanks so much for an unforgettable experience!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Kournas Lake is ideal for outdoors and wildlife lovers.

  • The eastern edge of the lake has a number of hotels and villas, as well as restaurants, cafés, and traditional tavernas—great for lunch with a view.

  • You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas on site during summer.

  • Visitors with limited mobility can book a wheelchair- or scooter-accessible tour of the lake and surrounding region.

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How to Get There

Lake Kournas lies on the west side of Crete, south of Georgioupolis. From there, take national route 90, then follow the rural road and signs for approximately 2.5 miles (4 kilometers). Nearby villages include Kournas and Argyroupolis, where you can see parts of the excavated ancient city of Lappa.

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When to Get There

The lake is open year-round, but during the winter and spring the water level is higher, so the beach largely disappears. Most of the tavernas also open only on weekends through the winter months. During the summer the lake can get very popular—particularly on the weekends when local families descend—so try to visit midweek to avoid the crowds.

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The Pottery Workshops of Kournas

Visit the local village of Kournas, which unlike the lake, is relatively untouched by tourism. The traditional houses, family-run pottery workshops, and charming tavernas make it a quaint place to explore on foot. Kournas was also the seat of the revolutionary government during the 1866 uprising, so it played a significant role in the history of Crete’s fight for independence.

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