Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill 8 km from Georgioupoli and about 4 km from Lake Kournas.
While the lake is 'touristy', Kournas village is completely unaffected by tourism and takes visitors on a journey back in time. The old houses, the village square, the pottery workshop opposite the large kafeneio and the taverna "Kali Kardia", with its delicious traditional dishes, are the first things you will notice in the village of Kournas. There are 500 inhabitants and it lies at an altitude of 200 metres.
The village of Kournas lacks particular facilities for tourists, but nearby Georgioupoli offers everything you might need.
A 3 km drive takes you to Lake Kourna, Crete's only freshwater lake located in an enchanting landscape and surrounded by high mountains and olive groves. It is located 2.5km southeast of the beach of Georgioupolis, 43km east of Chania and 20km west of Rethymnon.
Lake Kournas and its surroundings constitute a very important ecosystem for Greece. 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.
Overall, however, the lake retains its beauty, the White Mountains reflected in the mirror-like waters. The width, at the point where the landing stage is built, is about 800 m and the water is of a quality to have caused no ill effects. If you stand, barefoot, in the water on the sandy beach, tiny fish will (painlessly) nibble dead skin from your feet for free! This is a treatment, which several tourist shops currently (2012) offer at a price.
Lake Kournas is a favorite destination for visitors of Crete and locals. It is an ideal place for relaxation and a walk.
Kournas lake is the southernmost lake in Europe, formed by the not possible drainage of groundwater and melt water from the White mountains in the impermeable rock formations.
The lake is also fed by the source Amati in the south. The water level of the lake fluctuates with the seasons.
Kournas lake was mentioned in antiquity as Korisia. It is believed that there was a temple of Athena Korisia on the shore. The current name of the Kournas lake in Arabic means tub and pond. So perhaps it was the Arabs who renamed the lake. The dark waters of the lake left already in past times the impression to its neighbors that it was bottomless. In fact, travelers also spoke with reverence of the estimated depth of the lake since the Middle Ages.
• A walk around the lake is not possible, in spite of many websites telling so!
• In the summer months, sun loungers, parasols and pedal boats can be rented.
• The adjacent restaurants and cafes are open also during winter and offer local and foreign guests a traditional Cretan Cuisine with stunning views over the lake.
• Of course, the lake Kournas is well to reach within walking distance from Georgioupolis on a 3 km long road through olive groves and fields.
Home to a large number of birds and animals, Lake Kournas is the place where you can encounter moorhens, ducks, geese, herons, cormorants, eels, water snakes, goldfish and rare species of turtles who are permanent residents of this friendly wetland.