The tranquil resort of Gouves is actually split into two distinctly different but charming villages. Sitting on top of Mount Ederi and enjoying spectacular views over Crete’s northern coast is Pano Gouves, an authentically traditional Greek village of warren-like streets and tiny whitewashed churches. Here you can relax in one of the old style kafenias, or coffee shops, in the village square and watch the world drift by. Wander down to the seafront and you’ll find yourself in Kato Gouves, a laid-back beach destination with one of the island’s finest promenades. Running for over two miles, it’s packed with tavernas and restaurants and makes a great place for a romantic sunset stroll.
Gouves prime location puts it just a few minutes from Heraklion, Crete’s vibrant capital city, as well as within easy reach of some of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Europe. The mythical Palace of Knossos, the origin of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, is right on the doorstep.
If you’re here for some world-class clubs, the island’s party metropolis of Malia is just a few minutes away, welcoming the biggest dance DJs in the business all through the summer.
Holidays in Gouves offer the perfect setting to chill out and unwind as well as an ideal location to explore further into this sun-drenched island’s unique treasures.
Rich in historical and cultural gems, Ierapetra is Europe’s most southerly town. Its position on Crete’s Libyan Sea coastline also makes it the sunniest destination on the island. If you’re looking to work on your tan, Ierapetra is the place to head to! Along with its glorious weather, Ierapetra provides a harmonious mixture of the ancient and modern. The Venetian Kales Fortress, built here in 1212, stands guard over the old town, where you’ll also see plenty of evidence of Crete’s turbulent past in the shape of the Ottoman Empire’s towering mosques.
The island’s fourth largest city has plenty of nightlife options, with a host of buzzing bars and restaurants as well as some stunning beaches where you can lie back and bask in that endless sunshine.
Something of an undiscovered gem, the quiet fishing village of Kolymbari lies under sheltering cliffs on the island’s north-west Rodopou peninsula. There’s plenty to discover here, with long, uncrowded beaches and historical monuments set against a stunning backdrop. The mountains along the coast are ideal for hiking, rewarding you with breath-taking views. The Monastery of Gonia, one of Crete’s most important archaeological sites, overlooks the town from high on its hillside. With a fine selection of inviting cafes and tavernas to choose from, Kolymbari is a flavour of authentic Greece.
Hersonissos is a real favourite for holidaymakers of all ages, with its long sandy coastline, exhilarating water slides and vivacious party scene. Try out the white-knuckle rides of Star Beach, the island’s premier aqua fun park, or rave at the daily foam party. Top up your tan on one of the three beautiful beaches and take a swim in the crystal clear waters, before heading to the main strip as the sun goes down to dance the night away in some world-class clubs. With top name DJs flocking here, the party never stops in Hersonissos.
Higher up Mount Ederi, past the hillside village of Pano Gouves, lies the Skotino Caves. The imposing entrance archway leads you into one of the largest caverns in Crete, with a multitude of stalactites descending from its vaulted roof high overhead. Among the enormous limestone formations, archaeologists have discovered relics dating back to the Minoan era, and some believe the caves may have been the inspiration for the labyrinth of the legendary Minotaur.
One of Crete’s most famous, and poignant, locations, the island of Spinalonga was once the isolated home of Greece’s leper colony. Known as the ‘Island of Tears’, it housed hundreds of patients, who were quarantined here and forbidden to leave. Today, guides take visitors on walks around what remains of the colony, which was closed in 1957, built inside the walls of the enormous Venetian fortress. The well-maintained buildings include the original shops and houses, as well as the graveyard and old hospital. It makes for a fascinating and moving day trip.
Kato Gouves Beach
The village of Kato Gouves has a trio of small sandy beaches to choose from, all backed by a palm-fringed promenade. Crete’s northern coast benefits from a gentle breeze, making it perfect for sunbathing and the more intensive water sports. You can try kayaking and canoeing, cling on to a banana boat or enjoy the view parasailing. Sound like too much effort? Stake your claim to one of the loungers, grab a refreshing drink and relax.
Simple, delicious and, above all, healthy, the Cretan diet is renowned the world over for its healthy qualities. Traditionally centred on the vegetables and fruit grown in its nutrient-packed soil, with plenty seafood and, of course, the golden olive oil that has made the island famous. Meat plays less of a role in the island’s signature cuisine and usually acts as a compliment to delectable vegetable dishes. No wonder the locals live so long!
Dining out in Crete is a very social affair, and you’ll find the restaurant owners and staff delighted to see you and ready for a long chat. You definitely won’t feel rushed and meals generally go on for several hours. All the more time to linger over some of the tantalising specialities; some of our own favourites include the spinach pie called Chortopitakia, and Kounéli me Yiaourti, rabbit cooked in yoghurt.
With its mix of breathtaking views and golden sandy beaches, holidays in Gouves are a real treat for the whole family. The traditional warm welcome and Cretan love of life is all around you and makes for an unforgettable experience.
Book your flights and hotel together with easyJet holidays and enjoy even more savings on your Gouves getaway.