Explore Cretan Nature

Lakes

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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More wetlands

Rivers

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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 by 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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Almiros Wetland at Georgioupolis

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

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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.

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Saltpan of Chrissi

Next to the only house of Chrissi island, at position Spilios, we meet the old saltpan where salt was produced in the past. In winter the spot turns into a small pond with brackish water and it attracts many migratory birds. This is not the only pond on the island, as a smaller one is formed in the location of Kaki Alyki.

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Almiros Wetland at Agios Nikolaos

The wetland of Almyros is very close to the town of Agios Nikolaos, making it a real paradise for the area. It is a marshy area of 48 acres that is permanently watered with brackish water from karst springs. The average annual flow rate is about 2000 liters per second.

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Katalyki Lake

The small lake of Katalyki (Kato Alyki) is located next to the beach of Kokkinos Pyrgos, about 2 km west of Tymbaki. The wetland formerly constituted a united wetland with the Geropotamos delta, but the road construction, water decrease and land use for building Tymbaki airport have separated it from the main delta

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Fragokastelo Wetland

In winter the area turns to a very important wetland. The whole area of Vatalos is full of reeds and covers a distance of 2 kilometers with ponds full with amphibians and birds... In several places the water is kept throughout the year, but the best time to go there late February to early May.

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The Roman Naumachia of Ierapetra

One of the highlights of ancient Ierapetra was the Naumachia (naval battle), a maritime theater where bloody battles were performed by prisoners and slaves of the Roman Empire. This was the transfer of arenas to the marine environment. The Naumachia was inspired by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.

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Omalos Plateau Pond

On the southern side of the Omalos Plateau in the White Mountains and between the starting point of the Samaria Gorge and Seliniotikos Giros, a seasonal lake of about 0.8 hectares is formed, which is covered by snow in winter. More small lakes are formed on the plateau in winter, with this one being the largest.

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