Things to do in Kournas

Our most recommended things to do in Kournas

Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

1. Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

The first stop is the town of Rethimno, the third biggest town in Crete west of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete. Here, archeological monuments of the Ottoman and Venetian eras co-exist. Enjoy a stroll in the alleys of the old town, a visit to the Turkish minarets and the Venetian fortresses, or a coffee at the magnificent harbor. The next stop is Chania town, the second largest town of Crete on the north coast west of Rethymno. The city of Chania is divided into the Old City, with the gorgeous harbor, and the New City, beyond its Venetian fortifications. The Old City is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and is called “Venice of the East”. You can find Turkish minarets and mosques, Muslim neighborhoods, Venetian fortresses, dockyards, fountains, squares, arches, mansions, Loggia and the Lighthouse. Visit the famous Agora (market), which houses traditional little shops and taverns. The last stop of the day is Kournas lake, a beautiful habitat with natural freshwater, one of a kind in Crete. The whole area of Kournas is protected under 'Natura 2000', as it's a designated wetland. Vast greenery, steep cavities between hills, and rare species of fish and birds make Kournas the ideal place to enjoy an early afternoon walk.

Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvoussa Island & Balos Lagoon

2. Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvoussa Island & Balos Lagoon

Set off on a day trip by bus and boat to the magnificent Balos Lagoon and the Gramvousa island, on the northwestern coast of Crete. Travel by air-conditioned bus to the port of Kissamos and board the boat for a cruise with swim stops and a visit to a castle. After an early morning pickup near your hotel, sit back and relax as you pass through beautiful scenery to get to the Port of Kissamos. There, you'll pay for the cruise and board the boat which will take you in the sea for about an hour till you reach Gramvousa island. Once at Gramvousa, you'll have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the Venetian Fortress which offers breathtaking views from the top. Otherwise, you can stay on the boat to take advantage of the bar restaurant or you can relax at the beachside. Afterward, the boat will continue for about 20 minutes to reach the Balos Lagoon. There, you'll have 2.5 hours of free time on the beach. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe and explore the dunes in the background. In the afternoon, the boat will begin the cruise back to Kissamos and from there you will be driven back to your Hotel area in Rethymno.

From Rethymno: Lake Kournas and Villages Full-Day Tour

3. From Rethymno: Lake Kournas and Villages Full-Day Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Rethymno, and then journey by bus to the stone church in Kotsifu Gorge. Marvel at the steep cliffs and dramatic rock formations of the canyon, and then make your way to the historic plateau of Askifou. Stop to take souvenir photos of beautiful Plakias Bay, and then drive up into the mountains to visit the traditional village of Kallikrati. Swim in the deep blue waters of the Libyan sea. Stop for a coffee in the village of Argyroupolis near the Roman site of Lappa and marvel at the waterfalls. Next, go to beautiful Lake Kournas and enjoy a well-deserved traditional lunch in a typical village tavern at your own expense. Get a magnificent view of the lake and mountains before you drive back to Rethymno and get dropped off at your hotel.

From Heraklion: Chania, Lake Kournas and Rethymno Tour

4. From Heraklion: Chania, Lake Kournas and Rethymno Tour

Depart Heraklion and journey west by bus to the stunning city of Chania. Learn about its Minoan history and see sights from different civilizations, including the Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian eras. Get a view of the lighthouse in the port, wander the narrow streets of the old town and enjoy some free time for lunch in the pretty harbor. Look for gifts and souvenirs in the famous agora (market) and more. Then, make your way to Lake Kournas and get back to nature in the lush green hills. Keep a look out for rare birds and marine life, including eels and turtles. Go for a swim or take an early afternoon walk in the protected wetlands. Drive back towards Heraklion and stop in the city of Rethymno along the way. Wander the enchanting alleys of the old town, see the domes and minarets of the Ottoman-era mosques, and marvel at the 16th-century Venetian fortress.

Rethymno: Day Trip to Chania & Lake Kournas

5. Rethymno: Day Trip to Chania & Lake Kournas

Explore the picturesque city of Chania and the freshwater of Lake Kournas on this day trip from Rethymno. Enjoy pickup from your hotel and head for Chania, the charming city perched on Crete's north west coast. Admire the lively port of the Old Venetian Harbour and its imposing lighthouse. Stroll the atmospheric narrow streets of the city, filled with shops, churches and tavernas. Pick up some traditional local products like cheese or pastries at the municipal market. Shop for leather goods and souvenirs at the famous Halidon Street. Next, sit back and enjoy the scenic journey to Lake Kournas. Once there, explore the lake or tuck into a delicious meal at a local taverna. Enjoy the relaxing views beneath looming mountains. Look out too for the local wildlife - moorhens, eels, and turtles are among the permanent residents of this friendly wetland. Take pleasure in being out in nature amongst this beautiful scenery, before hopping back in the vehicle for your journey back to Rethymno.

From Chania: Rethymno City & Lake Kournas Private Day Tour

6. From Chania: Rethymno City & Lake Kournas Private Day Tour

Explore two of the most picture-perfect destinations on Crete during this half-day private tour that visits Rethymno and the Lake of Kournas. Take off directly from your accommodation in Chania via an air-conditioned vehicle fully equipped with Wi-Fi and USB ports. After pickup, start your journey in Rethymno, a romantic city with a variety of picturesque routes to follow and numerous historical monuments to visit. Marvel at the large Venetian castle Fortezza, the old lighthouse, and countless churches, mosques, and arches. Walk along cobbled paths leading to other hidden spots of the old city. The next stop is the famous Lake of Kournas, the only freshwater lake in Crete. This place is ideal for relaxation and walking. Take in the one-of-a-kind view of the White Mountains reflected in the waters while drinking a cup of traditional Greek coffee. Choose to rent a pedal boat to spend some time in the water looking for the turtles that live in the lake. In between your trip, sit down and enjoy a snack break including a meal box with sandwiches and Cretan kalitsounia (Cretan sweet cheese pastry). Cold soft drinks, beer, wine, and bottled water will also be available. 

Rethymno - Argiroupolis - Kournas Lake - Chania Private Tour

7. Rethymno - Argiroupolis - Kournas Lake - Chania Private Tour

Escape to Western Crete - an idyllic destination on the island that effortlessly captures the spirit of authentic Philoxenia (“Hospitality”). With a chauffeured premium vehicle at your full-day disposal, you will explore the Venetian city of Rethymno, the charming lake of Kournas, and the romantic town of Chania by enjoying maximum comfort and privacy. Your private local insider guide will enrich the day with a visit to the village of Argyroupolis (Ancient Lappa city), where you will experience an authentic lunch at a cozy place surrounded by mountainous waterfalls, the smell of tasty grilled lamb on the spit (Cretan Antikristo) and friendly locals. Last but not least, you will have the chance for a unique homemade wine tasting by Kournas Lake. Prepare to excite all your senses. Don't forget that among Crete's iconic gems like Elafonisi beach, Chrissi island, Knossos Palace, and safari there are so many other things to explore!

From Heraklion: Rethymno, Arkadi, and Lake Kourna Day Trip

8. From Heraklion: Rethymno, Arkadi, and Lake Kourna Day Trip

Enjoy a day trip from Heraklion to some of Crete's best sights. Immerse yourself in the island's history in the Rethymno's authentic Old Town, pause at the relaxing Kournas Lake, see the UNESCO-listed Arkadi Monastery, and encounter the charming village of Margarites. Begin your experience by savoring the unique atmosphere of Rethymno's Old Town. Take a journey back in time as you walk through its charming narrow streets. Admire the Venetian and Ottoman-style architecture. Experience the smell of fresh bread from wood ovens as you enjoy one of the island's best-preserved towns. Next, leave the town behind as you head for the calming atmosphere of Kournas Lake. Relax in a tranquil setting, with the lake located in a small valley surrounded by high hills. Take a break for some coffee, and have a stroll in the picturesque countryside. After the lake, move onto the 12th-century Arkadi Monastery, designated by UNESCO as a European Freedom Monument. Encounter a site located at an altitude of 500-meters, and surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, pines, cypress and oak trees. Conclude your tour at the village of Margarites. Witness a village which is the centre of the ceramics industry in Crete. Have a walk through its delightful small streets, and pause at one of its ceramics ateliers before your journey back to Heraklion.

Kournas: Private Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch

9. Kournas: Private Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch

In this private tour the first stop is Kourna’s lake, the only fresh water lake in Crete, for a coffee breakwhile admiring the view. After relaxing get the chance to explore the lake by riding a pedalo boat around the area and swim with the turtles, the ducks and the fishes. Next have a guided tour in a local olive oil factory, learn everything about the production and taste the olive oil and some traditional raki. Finally have a tour in the courtyard of a winery, the botanical garden and then to the production and storage area of the wines. Learn all the secrets of production and bottling and taste the delicacies of Crete in a tasting of 5 different wines and a light lunch, prepared specially to increase the wine's flavor.

From Chania: Spili, Matala Beach, & Kournas Lake Day Trip

10. From Chania: Spili, Matala Beach, & Kournas Lake Day Trip

Travel from Chania to the villages of Spili and Matala on this day trip. Stop to take in the views at Kournas Lake. Keep cool with refreshing soft drinks, beer, wine, and bottled water. Keep your energy up on the trip with sandwiches and local kalitsounia (sweet cheese pastry).   Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from your accommodation in Chania. Sit back and relax on the drive to the picturesque village of Spili. Watch an audiovisual presentation on Cretan customs on the bus ride. Once you arrive in Spili, have an hour-long break to explore the fountains, springs, chapels, and murals in the village. Make your way to the village of Matala which is known for its alternative housing community that sprung up in the 60s. Take some time to enjoy the azure waters at the sandy Matala beach and admire the colorful homes, cafes, and street art. Head to lake Kournas where you can see the White Mountains reflected in the deep blue waters of the lake. Return to your accommodation in Chania at the end of your tour. 

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What people are saying about Kournas

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 202 reviews

Michaelis was a good guide, letting us know what to expect. The coach was comfortable and the transition to minibus went well. Rethimno was just worth a visit - the Fortezza was huge, but perhaps could do with a museum inside. Chania was good to visit, with.a fairly scenic harbour area, plenty of alleys and a lot of tourist shops. For me the best part was the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding on the eastern side of the harbour in an old Venetian ship shed, which contained an interesting replica minoan ship. Finally, the short swim stop at Kournas - not everyone liked this, and would have preferred more time in Chania, but I enjoyed having a fresh water dip, with hot chocolate at a waterside taverna afterwards. I had googles, but did not see any of the terrapins or goldfish that it is stocked with. Overall a pleasant day,

We had a great tour exploring the west side of Crete, albeit a very long day (13 hours total!). We were only in Crete for 1 week, so we were glad to get to see Chania and Reythmno (both beautiful cities that are definitely worth exploring!). Our tour guide was very jolly and very knowledgeable about Cretan history and culture. Our tour group was bigger than expected (full on tour bus), but given the price I guess to be expected. However, It was annoying having to pick everyone up and drop them off. Our hotel was one of the first to be picked up and last to be dropped off. It must have added 1h at the start and 1h at the end of the day. I would much prefer for everyone to get themselves to a single meeting spot, or only pick up/drop off from points along the main road, instead of having to go down all the back roads.

The tour was great and all went to plan. Michael was a fabulous tour guide and very knowledgeable and interesting. He spoke 3 different languages on the bus which was very impressive. But then he told me he actually speaks 5 languages! Also our driver drove very safely and efficiently. It was a wonderful experience.

We booked the excursion at very short notice and everything worked out great! Thanks for the great organization

Nice but long tour. Nevertheless, the trip was worth it. The bus driver and tour guide were great. Thanks