Visit Kournas, the only freshwater lake in Crete, fed by mountain streams

Kourmas lake, Crete’s only freshwater lake, lies in a mountain bowl near the northwest coast of Crete. It’s not a big lake, but its water is as blue as anything you can find at a beach.

To get there, drive east from Chania along the main road, turning right at the signpost for Kournas Lake. It will take you less than an hour. Kournas Lake has plenty of pedal boats for renting out, in addition to the white shingly beach at the north end.

That’s also where the tavernas and cafes are. Kournas Lake is the ideal place for an afternoon walk or a daytrip nearby. Many people like to have an afternoon picnic there. The landscape is lovely and relaxing, whether you want to go for a walk in the countryside or swim in the lake.

There are two springs on the southeast bank, one of which, the Mati or Amati (“eye”) as the locals call it, is visible in late summer.The lake is fed by streams from the nearby mountains and hills, whose underground courses are interrupted by the local bedrock on the way to the sea.

Kournas Lake and its surroundings constitute a very important ecosystem in Greece and Kournas is one of the very few areas of Crete where plenty of fresh water is stored throughout the year. For this reason, it is protected under the Natura 2000 program.

How to get to Kournas Lake in Chania Region