On one of our first days in Crete, we made a trip down to Lake Kournas, a freshwater lake we had found on the map. Clear turquoise waters and wildlife spotting sounded wonderful to me, so off we went to explore…
The 47km drive took us about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Chania – once we were out of the madness that is driving in the town, we just had to contend with the usual goats and fallen rocks on the road (and the occasional driver speeding into a blind corner from the opposite direction – Crete drivers be crazy).
We arrived and – I’ll mostly let the photos speak for themselves – but it is a beautiful place. Our Crete trip was just before the high season so pretty much nobody was there; it was bliss.
Lake Kournas is mostly unspoilt, which is wonderful. We saw various birds including geese and herons living on the banks, mostly away from the main shore. There are some tavernas you can visit a little away from the lake, where you can grab a bite to eat whilst enjoying a gorgeous view.
When we went, the water in the lake was quite high as it apparently is in the winter season and there was no way to walk around the whole thing – the water level drops as summer approaches and you can supposedly walk around it, as more of the shore is exposed.
Alec enjoying the views…
There are a few places along the shore where you can hire a pedalo for an hour (it was cheap), which we did and went off to explore the lake.
From the pedalo we were able to get a better look at the various wildlife that live in the water; we saw fish and little turtles, and apparently eels and water snakes also live there (we didn’t see any).
We did see some goldfish along one of the banks away from the shore (I don’t think they’re meant to be there, I think someone ‘set them free’) – they had gotten pretty big, I thought they were koi!
I need so share some photos of just the water and the rocks as I found them just so calming and beautiful…
You may notice the strange lighting in my photos – it was a stunningly sunny day but the mountains behind the lake (‘The White Mountains‘) had constant clouds circling around them, which gives an eerie look to some of them – I quite like it!
Finally, I plucked up the courage to go in the water – I won’t say it was warm, but it certainly wasn’t freezing. This was about as deep as I was going to go, though 😉
If you are in West Crete, I would highly recommend checking out Lake Kournas. It isn’t a full day’s trip – plan on spending a couple of hours to half a day there. The end of April was perfect for us – it was super quiet yet still warm, but I’m sure as the summer season approaches there will be more daytime visitors.
Make sure to respect the wildlife and their habitat – don’t leave rubbish on the ground or in the water (if you’re a half-decent human, you shouldn’t be doing either of those things anywhere anyway).
Take a moment to take in the beauty and the tranquility of the environment, and you will have a wonderful time 🙂