Wetlands of Crete


Wet Oases

Wetlands of Crete are shelters for a large number of plants and animal species. They are crucial for the conservation of biodiversity on the island. During fall and especially in spring, visitors can observe migratory birds in the numerous watch towers placed at most wetlands. Watchtowers have also been installed in mountainous areas with a large array of predator species.

Kournas Lake | Dam Potami | Dam Bramiana | Dam Aposelemis


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Kournas Lake


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Crete has limited water resources, due to its geographical location and weather conditions. Dams and artificial reservoirs have been built at several sites of the island in order to meet the increasing needs for water supply. After their construction, all of them soon were transformed into very important wetlands, enriching the biodiversity of the island.

The largest natural lake in Crete is located at Kournas near Georgioupolis, where visitors can watch birds from the local watch tower. Small but important natural ponds with water all year round are also located at Tersanas by Chania, at Mohos and Thrapsano while seasonal ponds are met at Orne, Parakalouri, Ziros, Omalos by Viannos, Achendrias, Stroumboulas, various plateaus of the northern province of Mirabello, Gergeri and at several more places. Artificial lakes where one can observe birds are located at Ayia by Chania, at Votomos by Zaros, at the large dams of Bramiana, Aposelemis, Faneromeni, Potami and the numerous small dams in the hinterland of Heraklion.

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Kourounes Pond

In the heart of Province Mirabello, prefecture Lassithi, which the most arid region all over Crete one would not expect to meet a natural freshwater lake. However, at village Kourounes we meet one. Specifically in the area named Limni (lake) at the south entrance of the village and next to the first houses of the small village we find the lake of Kourounes.


Almiros Wetland at Georgioupolis

The lake and the river Almyros in the area of ​​Georgioupolis form one of the most important wetlands of western Crete. In the lake, we find many aquatic birds and aquatic plants like reeds, myrtles, and oleanders. The lake is natural and is watered by the water of the White Mountains. The bank has been formed in order to assist in the operation of a small 300kW hydroelectric power station.


Amourgelles Dam Lake

Amourgelles dam is situated at an altitude of 300m, 30km south of Heraklion and 1km south of the village Amourgelles. It spans an area of 150 acres and is one of the major dams in the region of Arkalochori.


Elounda Salt pans

On the road that connects Elounda with Kolokitha peninsula, on the site of the ancient city Olous, we meet the Venetian salt pans that functioned until 1972. We see dozens of cisterns separated by walls in the shallow sea, where water from the lagoon of Elounda was trapped early spring and evaporated till September.


Karavados Dam Lake

The small dam of Karavados is located 1km south of the village Karavados, next to the road leading from Skinias to Viannos. It is fueled by the tributary of Baritis River, which later joins the wide Anapodaris river.


Damania Dam Lake

Damania village is a small and quiet village at the most fertile part of Monofatsi district, Heraklion Prefecture. All locals came from Minor Asia, just after the disaster in Smyrna. The village has recently been added to the villages that have a dam nearby, as a small dam was built to retain water from the tributary of Anapodaris River.


Parakalouri Lake

Parakalouri, now known as Saint Constantine, is a small village of the province of Mirabello. Apart from the frescoed church of St. Constantine, visitors in winter and early spring can see the 7 acre seasonal pond of Livadi which is surrounded by dense vegetation and hosts bird fauna.


Armanogia Dam Lake

Armanogia is a small village located at an altitude of 380m and 38km south of Heraklion city. Next to the village, in 2004, a small dam was built. The lake of the dam covers an area of 120 acres.


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