Visiting Lake Kournas, Crete

kournas lake

We have recently got back from a gorgeous family holiday in Crete and I am just sitting here dreaming of going back to the sea and the sun… bliss! We booked a fantastic family-friendly resort and spent most of our time in our ‘resort bubble’, just enjoying the pools, beach and evening meals and entertainment. It’s not often that we go on a holiday and don’t venture out much but with having two young children and no hire car, we decided that it was easier to stay put this time around. However, the hotel did offer a land train ride to the local tourist attraction, Lake Kournas which was a perfect way for us to travel there– Jake was incredibly excited– and it meant we could see a bit of what the local area had to offer on the short journey.

Jake on the land train

What is Lake Kournas?

Lake Kournas is the only freshwater lake on the island of Crete. Kournas (Arabic for lake) is considered an important wetland and its wildlife inhabitants include eels, the rare Diamondback Terrapin, fish and water snakes. It has become a tourist hotspot due to this aquatic life which can be viewed by hiring out one of the many pedalos or canoes. You can also freely swim within the lake… if you don’t mind the odd eel!

terrapin on a rock at Lake Kournas


What can you do there?

As you arrive there are shops on the road down to the lake. There is a wide variety of local olive produce, pottery, pretty ornaments, clothing etc. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, including ones further up the main road which overlook the lake and its surrounding mountains. The views are just breathtaking…

lake Kournas

As I said above you can also hire a boat, you can go for a swim and sunbathe on the stoney ‘beach’. 

The first trip we took there only lasted an hour due to the land train returning to our hotel, however, I would recommend spending an entire day there in order to take everything in.

We visited the lake on the Monday which was a beautifully hot day, making the water so clear. We made a beeline for the pedalos, not knowing anything about the lake and just assuming we would have a quick ride and then have the time to paddle or swim afterwards. Once on the water, we noticed how many pedalos were sitting on the far side of the lake– we knew there must have been something of interest there so headed straight over.

all of us on a pedalo on Lake Kournas

When we arrived we couldn’t believe our eyes! Crystal clear water and this to view:

It was just breathtaking to be surrounded by stunning scenery, beautiful water and this amazing wildlife, what a fantastic surprise to us all. We didn’t realise how long it would take us to pedal out and see all of this so unfortunately the time ran away with us and we ended up racing back to catch the land train. We were so disappointed that we couldn’t stay longer but decided to return later in the week just so we could absorb everything that Lake Kournas had to offer.

And when we went back on the Friday we took our camcorder so you could experience it all with us:

Next time we visit Crete I think we will most definitely look into hiring a car from Rental Center Crete (ad) because I know this beautiful island has so much more to offer and I cannot wait to explore it.  

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visiting Lake Kournas, Crete, terrapin sat on a rock

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