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Lake Kournas

Lake Kournas is the only freshwater lake in Crete with its own legends & myths, located 47 km from Chania city and very close to the borders with the prefecture of Rethymnon. A great destination for both winter and summer, a "painting" that adorns the prefecture of Chania. The Lake's current name derives from the Arabic word for lake.



 

 

It covers a total area of ​​579 acres and its maximum depth is about 25 meters. Dense vegetation surrounds the lake and the south shore is covered with trees.

Lake Kournas is the only natural lake on Crete, basically created by the accumulation of groundwater descending from the "Lefka Ori" (White) mountains and is situated in a majestic landscape, between high mountains and olive groves. The dark color of the lake is due to algae found in the bottom.

Kournas is a favorite destination for both visitors and locals. It is an ideal place for relaxation and a walk. In summer, a stroll around the lake with its turquoise waters, usually lasts less than an hour (3.5 km). Many people like to have an afternoon picnic there.

The white sand next to the lake makes it suitable for swimming, while a little further there are cafes and traditional restaurants(tavernas).

Canoes and pedal boats are also available to rent in summer, for a romantic and relaxing ride on the lake, which is an ideal choice for the afternoon/early evening, as the colors of the water are beautiful and the serenity of the lake majestic.

Children will also get amazed and enthusiast by watching and feeding the ducks - the inhabitants of the lake.

In winter and spring the water level is higher and the walk around the lake is difficult since the vegetation is too dense on the verge of the bank.

 

Myths about Lake Kournas

The lake's water is dark , awe-inspiring to those who see. Thus, it was created the old myth that the lake has no bottom. This myth has been refuted, and the maximum depth has been estimated at 25meters.

A second myth states that at the position of the lake there was a village where there lived a beautiful girl with her father. One day while both going to the fields,  they sat down to rest. The woman began to comb her hair and her father was very proud. However, her beauty all out of sudden made him fall in love and to approach her with wicked intentions. The desperate daughter then she managed to shout "Voula and Voulolimna, I ghost the lake!". The area immediately sank and was flooded with water, creating the lake. The locals say that many have seen several times a fairy combing her hair in the moonlight, sitting on a rock in the middle of the lake. They say that the fairy protects animals and species living in the lake.

A secondary fable for the fairy says that God was angry about the hellish behavior of local residents and caused flood to punish them. The inhabitants were all drowned, except the daughter of the priest, who is actually the fairy that many people have seen combing her hair.

Finally, some believe that paranormal phenomena caused by electromagnetic fields in the area, result in either inconvenience to some, or positive mood to others.

Kournas small traditional village with approximately 500 residents and about 4 km from Lake Kournas, situated in an altitude of 200 metres in the foothills of Mount Dafnomadara (1680 m) worths a visit too mainly due to the old houses, the village square, and the pottery workshop.

Kournas Cave, a small cave approximately 35 meters deep, located between the village and the lake, will not only offer a spectacular view of the lake to the visitor, but also contains unique stalactites and stalagmites for the explorer and worths a visit too!