What was once a fishing village is today a bustling seaside destination that gets busy every summer because it has some of the best beaches on the island and a wealth of all-inclusive resorts lining up the coast competing to offer the best services and entertainment to lovers of sea and sun. Georgioupoli is thus known as a sea-kissed port of call mainly for tourists from Germany, but it also manages to attract Italians, Russians, and other sun-chasers to its luxurious beach-front retreats. Eliros Mare, Anemos Grand Luxury Resort, and Mythos Palace Resort & Spa are just some of the most sought-after lodging stops in Georgioupoli, and they all offer perfect conditions to spend a worry-free and fun-filled vacation by the sea.
The resorts are gated communities designed to provide all kinds of activities to keep guests engaged and entertained. They offer rich programs for the little ones, with hands-on workshops that teach children how to prepare simple meals or fun arts and crafts. There are age-appropriate sports and dance programs too, either in pools or on the beach: aqua aerobics, water polo, swimming classes, swimming competitions, snorkeling adventures, climbing, volleyball, football, dancing, and much more. Each resort will define its daily activities and entertainment based on its needs and the preferences of its guests.
It makes sense to vacation in an all-inclusive resort when almost all your needs are catered
Agios Nikolaos Church: Symbol of Georgioupoli
The small church of Agios Nikolaos is one of the most photographed landmarks of Georgioupoli. Dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, the white-washed church has plain and unassuming interiors with a few Greek Orthodox icons of Mary and St. Nicholas, a small table with candles for offering, and a place to
Church of the Ascension
The Church of the Ascension is the central religious landmark of Georgioupoli. The church was erected on a piece of land donated by Miltiadis Papadogiannakis when he died in 1934. You will not see it recommended in travel brochures, but its imposing body dominates the center of the village. On May 25 every year, hundreds of Greek Orthodox believers come here to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. The interior of the church is as impressive as its facade, rich in murals and intricate decorations.
Hike to Limni Kourna
Limni Kourna (Lake Kourna, sometimes spelled Lake Kournas), is an alkali-type lake, with a nature preserve in a dreamlike setting. In antiquity, the lake was known as Korisia (or Koressia) after the ancient city Korion. Today, this is a sought-after destination for both lovers of water and sun, but also for hikers who enjoy the lovely paths around the lake.
Although travel guides don’t offer a lot of information about this Cretan destination, the area is busy in the summer. Tour buses arrive here every day with hundreds of tourists. Express mini trains from nearby seaside villages bring loads of visitors too. And there’s plenty to do.
- Rent a pedalo, a kayak, or a canoe to glide on the surface of the lake.
Swim or play in the lake.The lake is a Natura 2000 protected area and swimming is prohibited.
- Relax on a bench taking in the views or sunbathe on the beach.
- Play beach sports like volleyball, soccer, and others.
- Dine at a traditional tavern, enjoying authentic Cretan fare and spellbinding views of the lake.
- Buy souvenirs, like ceramics made in workshops in the village of Kournas – four kilometers uphill, south-east from the lake, at an altitude of 200 meters, north-east of Mount Fourni (1491 meters).
- Hike around the lake.
Visit the Traditional Mountain Village Kournas
At an altitude of 200 meters above sea level, Kournas is a place where time stands still. Access for large buses is rather difficult so most tourists don’t adventure here. Yet, you’ll see the occasional hiking enthusiasts and mountain lovers strolling down the narrow streets of the village. Located in the Municipal unit of Georgioupoli, Kournas is a postcard-pretty sight. It has a couple of traditional tavernas that serve good traditional fare, house wines (red or white), raki, and beer, as well as refreshments.
Mandali Local Products and More
In 2016, Barbara and her husband Arno, opened a lovely traditional arts and crafts shop in Kournas. She’s always sitting at her “story table,” ready to welcome patrons or passersby to tell them all she knows about the area. It’s impossible to leave Mandali empty-handed, but there’s so much more this little shop has to offer.
Mandali sells all kinds of local products, including olive oil, Cretan honey, raki, tsikoudia, Cretan wines, olives, herbs, essential oils, olive oil soap. carob tea, artisan candles, handmade jewelry, marmalades and other preserves, and even Dutch stroopwafel – because Barbara comes from The Netherlands.
What’s fascinating about Mandali is the range of activities they offer in and around Kournas to stimulate sustainable tourism in the area: the botanical walk with donkeys is such a highlight.
Historical Church of Ayios Georgios
Not far from the shop, the historic Church of St. George (Church of Ayios Georgios) is one of the most significant Byzantine monuments of Crete. It enjoys a beautiful location with panoramic views around Kournas and a lovely, peaceful courtyard, with fragrant herbs and flowers. It was built in the XII Century as a three-aisled basilica, but it suffered alterations in the XIII Century with an additional aisle. The belfry dates from the XIX Century when the interior parts were united to form the current two-aisled church.
More Reasons to Visit Georgioupoli
Although located in Kavros, Zoraïda’s Horse Riding offers riding tours around Lake Kourna, mini-safaris, and they even ride up to the Kournas village. Moreover, you can swim with the horses in
Many of the beaches of
Article updated on September 2, 2018 at 11:53 am to reflect that swimming in the Kourna Lake is prohibited.