Lakes are one of the undiscovered but already popular tourist destinations. Do you want to take a break from the heat, from the noise of the tourist towns, to spend time in nature? Here are the places you must visit.
Lake Kournas, Crete’s only freshwater lake. It is near the village of Kournas in the Apokoronas municipality of Chania regional unit, 47 km from the town of Chania. Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill overlooking the lake.
The lake circumference is about 3.5 km, the area is more than 1.2 km², the greatest depth is 25 m. The lake bottom is 3 m below sea level. From the lake flows the river Armiros.
In the Middle Ages, the lake was called Koresia lake (Λιμνη Κορησσία), as there was a temple built in honor of Athena of Koresia. The current name is translated from Arabic as “lake”.
Lake Kournas is an important part of the ecosystem, as it is one of the few areas in Crete where there is abundant fresh water throughout the year, and where visitors can observe birds from the local watchtower. This is one of the reasons that the Lake Kournas is a protected area by the “Natura 2000” network. The dark color of the lake is caused from the seaweeds coming from the depth of the lake.
The lake reportedly used to be full of eels but now is better known for its terrapins and tourism. Tavernas and pedalo rental shops line part of the shore. Overall, however, the lake retains its beauty, the White Mountains reflected in the mirror-like waters. 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 realy treatment, which some tourist shops currently offer at a price.
Agia Lake the artificial lake of Agia is located near the village Agia, 9 km west of Chania. It is a small lake of 450 acres, which communicates south, with the valley of “Fasa”. This valley is considered the most wet valley of Crete. This small lake obviously hosts the largest variety of aquatic plants in Crete, but also very important species of fauna, such as rare species of ferns and frogs. Also, the lake shelters many migratory birds. The ecological importance of Agia lake is reflected in the fact that the lake is protected by international treaties.
Lake of Preveli. The area of Preveli is one of the most beautiful areas of Crete. It combines impressive geomorphologic landscape with an ecosystem of significant importance and a beautiful beach. Preveli lake is formed at the mouth of the river Kourtaliotis. The springs of Kourtaliotis river are located in the middle of the homonymous gorge. The estuary of the river is sandy due to the continuous sedimentation. Thus, was created the small lake area of about 15 acres, which has given its name to the region. On the banks of the lake is one of the most important forests of palm trees in Crete.).
Votomos Lake and Koutsoulidis river by the end of the 80’s, north of the village of Zaros, on the root of the mountain, there was a small wetland around the spring of “Votomos”. Later, around the spring, was created a small artificial lake, which turned into one of the major forest recreation areas in Crete. Great ecological interest presents Koutsoulidis river which stems from the springs of “Votomos” and “Sterna”, irrigated the ancient Gortyn, the Roman capital of Crete. Koutsoulidis river, at the end of the gorge of Agios Nikolaos, passes through the village of Zaros and, after crossing its valley ends at the dam of Faneromeni. The wooded banks and the presence of large eel populations and river turtle semerg Koutsoulidis as a river of exceptional ecological interest.
Lake Voulismeni (Límni Voulisméni) is a former sweat water small lake, later connected to the sea, located at the centre of the town of Agios Nikolaos on the east of the island of Crete. It has a circular shape of a diameter of 137 m and depth 48.8 m. The locals refer to it as simply “the lake”. The lake is connected to the harbour of the town by a channel dug in 1907. A panoramic view of the lake can be seen from a small park situated above it.
According to legend, the goddess Athena bathed in it, and with great historical significance with no bottom lake, as the legend suggests as it is so deep that it swallows everything dropped in it, including weapons that the German’s tried to hide in 1944. Other than that the picturesque setting is worth your visit. Every year at midnight turning to Orthodox Christian Easter day, the majority of the population of the town gathers around the lake to celebrate with fireworks, and firecrackers thrown by the people attending that highlight event. Spend some time walking around it and later on enjoy your lunch or coffee at the nearby taverns and cafes.
Aspri Limni (White Lake) is one of the places in Crete, that almost nobody knows about it. This is a small secret lake beach, located 500m west of Chrysoskalitissa monastery and 70 km southwest of Chania city. Thousands of visitors are attracted by the nearby exotic Elafonissi lagoon, but actually nobody has heard of this magnificent neighboring place.
This is a small lake which is connected to the sea, but only just. It is possible to walk around the lake without getting your feet wet but the rocks and thick low lying scrub makes this a difficult task, not recommended. Swimming is possible but the lake is a mixture of sand and rock so you need to be careful where you place your feet. The water is deep enough to swim but as indicated above, you would need to navigate around the rocks.
The beach of the lake has fine white sand and rocks in places and is surrounded by sharp rocks. Fortunately, the beach is unexploited by touristic industry and remains an untouched paradise. Being in this lake is like having your own personal flotation tank transported to a beautiful and peaceful open space. There is no natural shade in the area.
In order to come here, you have to turn right in Chrysoskalitissa village and follow the signs to the small Phoenix theofrasti (Cretan palm tree) habitat, located around the lake. Otherwise, just ask one local to show you the way.
Aspri Limni is a Natura 2000 protected area because it is the westernmost habitat of Phoenix theofrasti, the endangered palm tree of Crete. The palm species is also met in other palm groves of Crete such as Vai, Preveli, Agios Nikitas, etc, but also small colonies exist in South Turkey. them, the palm grove in Vai is the largest one.