Kournas

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Lake Kournas
Lake of Kournas.jpg
Location Crete
Coordinates 35°19′51″N 24°16′32″E / 35.33083°N 24.27556°E / 35.33083; 24.27556Coordinates: 35°19′51″N 24°16′32″E / 35.33083°N 24.27556°E / 35.33083; 24.27556
Type alkali
Basin countries Greece

Kournas is the name of a village and nearby lake on the island of Crete, Greece. It is in the Apokoronas region of Chania regional unit close to the border with Rethymno regional unit, 47 km from the town of Chania. Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill overlooking the lake. It is in the Georgioupoli municipality, not far from the town of the same name. A working village which has seen less depopulation than some of its neighbours, Kournas is known for its pottery and many popular taverns. The taverna's seats are largely in the road - it is popular for its specialties of 'kokoretsi' (grilled offal) and 'galaktoboureko' (custard and orange tart).

Crete's only freshwater lake, Lake Kournas, is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.

The lake used to be called 'Korisia' after ancient 'Korion', a city thought to be in the area with a temple to Athena. 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. 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 to the writer when he swam across.

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.

Road around Lake Kournas[edit]

There are two roads that lead to Lake Kournas. As you drive up from the main local road Eparchiaki Odos Georgioupolis-Kournas you will come across road signs posted Lake Kournas Exit 1 and Lake Kournas Exit 2. On Lake Kournas Exit 1 you will come through an area of ten houses and cottages known as Dimitrouliana Metochi(small village) Geolocation: Latitude: 35.33659 | Longitude: 24.2783232,19. A unique feature of Dimitrouliana is a group of stone cottages that were built during the Ottoman rule, during the 1700s and possessing Venetian Architecture. Such houses, can been found in many location in Crete and have cental arches made of thick carved stones and wooden lofts to the left and right sides of the arc. One such cottage with a large cental arc is Villa Christiana at the Dimitrouliana Metochi. Lake Kourna's popularity due to its ecosystem, has always been a tourist attraction and many owners have renovated their cottages and homes during the first decade of the second millennium giving an aesthetic look to the area, while preserving the architecture of the structures. The road off the Metochi leads to the lake within 200 meters. As it continues curving along a stretch of the lake, it will come across several isolated restaurants until it reaches to Exit 2 of Lake Kournas. There you can find a more organized structure of taverns and restaurants overlooking the lake. During the tourist season there are pedalos, canoes and sunbed for enjoyment. Leaving the Lake area up the road of Lake Kournas, Exit 2 it leads to the main Eparchiaki Odos of Georgioupolis-Kournas.