Area: Kournas in Apokoronas region

of Chania, Crete Kournas Village

Kournas Village is 8 km from Georgioupolis and 4 km from the lake of Kournas. While the area and near Lake Kournas there is a great interest from tourists due to the lake and its facilities, the village remains completely unaffected by the interventions of tourism and retains its traditional elements like many villages in the interior of Crete.

In the village there are traditional taverns and cafes as well as traditional markets for daily shopping and souvenirs. For those seeking more facilities, they can visit the nearby Georgioupolis area.

The village was built during the time of the Venetians, with traditional alleys and houses showing to be unaffected by time. Here is also the Byzantine church of Agios Georgios which has architectural elements that were added during the Venetian period. In the village there is also a small amphitheatre which hosts various events that take place in the village. On August 29 every year, there is a great feast celebration that takes place here in honour of St. John.

Between Kournas Lake and the village there is the cave of Kournas with many stalactites and stalagmites in a depth of only 35 meters.

Lake Kournas

In a magical landscape with olive groves and high mountains about 40 kilometers east of Chania, we find the Lake of Kournas. This is the only natural lake in Crete where in ancient texts it is referred to as Korisia while it is believed that nearby was the sanctuary of Athena Korisia.

The lake is created by the accumulation of underground water that comes down from the White Mountains and from the source Amati where it surfaces the lake during the summer. The shape of the lake is circular and has an area of 579 hectares, a maximum depth of 22.5 meters and a maximum width of 880 meters. The lake of Kournas runs into the sea via the river Delphina.

Kournas Beach

At the point where the prefecture of Rethymno ends and the prefecture of Chania begins, between Georgioupolis and Episkopi, we meet the large beach of Kournas. At the beach of Kournas we find an extensive and very important system of sand dunes.

The sand dunes of Kournas beach (also known as Kavros) are like all sand dunes a avery important and at the same time sensitive ecosystem that hosts its own plants that we do not find a few meters further inland but only in the coastal zone they occupy the sand dunes. However, the most important role that sand dunes play in the environment of Crete is that they protect the internal soils from erosion.

In the area of ​​dunes during the winter months small swamps and water baths are formed and the landscape is quite different from the summer when thousands of vacationers fill the whole area. The plants of the sand dunes come to complete the coastal reeds and the tamarisks of the area which are large clusters and function as windbreaks that protect the crops from the wind a few meters further inside.