A day trip from Hydramis Palace to Lake Kournas will reward you with fabulous sea views, authentic Cretan mountain fare, and donkey rides.
Lake Kournas is Crete’s only natural freshwater lake and a protected nature area. You are not allowed to swim, but pedalos are available should you want to glide on the surface of the lake.
This destination is a godsend to people who want authentic Cretan experiences: you can either choose the tourist path, sunbathing or hiking around the lake, purchasing ceramics and souvenirs, dining, or driving to the village to see the hearth of Crete.
The village of Kournas has only one major attraction: the historic Church of St. George (Church of Ayios Georgios) - a Byzantine temple of the 12th century. The interiors of the temple are spectacular, and the views of the surrounding Cretan landscapes are breathtaking.
Enjoy the church’s courtyard with all its herbs and lovely views stretching down to the sea.
If you visit with kids, take a ride on the train or drive up to Kournas village to walk with the donkeys. Mind you, arrive before 10 am, for they start tours early. Check in at Mandali.