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Gournes lies fifteen kilometres east of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete. It is a traditional village that has expanded to accommodate its increasing popularity with holidaymakers whilst retaining its charm. A Gournes holiday offers a relaxing setting with views over the bay to the island of Dia. It is a good base from which to explore the capital, Heraklion, as well as a number of ancient sites in the area. It has a number of beaches which shelve gently into the sea providing safe bathing. Shopping is limited to supermarkets and gift shops.
If you are looking for peace and relaxation you will find it in Gournes. A Gournes holiday provided good beaches, some with sand, excellent leisure facilities and a wide range of pubs and traditional tavernas. It is also fairly close to such ancient sites as Knossos and the capital Heraklion.
A Gournes holiday is popular with those looking for peace and relaxation in a picturesque environment. Families are attracted by the sandy beach and clear blue sea. Couples of all ages flock to Gournes in order to experience its traditional charms.
The most popular time to visit Gournes is in the summer. The season extends from Easter to October when the temperature range is from twenty to thirty degrees.
The small village of Gournes is one of several resorts on the north coast of Crete with a regular bus service into the capital Heraklion. It is situated close to an old American Naval Base where there is now a large sea world aquarium. The harbour offers fishing trips around the coast. Excavations in the area have revealed tombs from the Minoan period. The church of St. John Beziti, just outside Gournes, is worth seeing with its well-preserved frescoes.
The picturesque narrow streets of the old village of Gournes are filled with cafes, tavernas and small shops selling gifts and holiday souvenirs.
The beach road has a plethora of tavernas and bars providing daylong refreshments and evening entertainment.
There are a number of beaches in the area, some of which are sandy and some shingle. The water is startlingly blue and the gently shelving beaches provide safe bathing for weak swimmers and children. There are many beaches in the area offering water sports. Day trips to the Island of Dia are available from the harbour. The island is a nature reserve where the indigenous Kri Kri goats live. The waters off the island are perfect for snorkelling.
Other popular activities are jeep safaris up into the mountains where the scenery is spectacular and the views are stunning. For those who have the energy, mountain bikes are also available to hire.
Gournes has a number of bars and discos but it is not noted for its nightlife. Many of the larger hotel complexes provide in house entertainment. There are many places where you can enjoy an evening meal in tranquil surroundings.
Although Gournes is not well endowed with shops there are supermarkets providing holiday essentials as well as a large number of gift and souvenir shops. Those wanting a wider variety of shops can take a scenic bus ride to Heraklion or Rethymnon where they will find many high quality specialist shops.
Gournes has a variety of restaurants and tavernas catering for most tastes. On the beach road you will find many tavernas serving traditional food. Fish features widely on menus. If you feel peckish between lunch and dinner try a plate of meze, a Greek equivalent of the Spanish tapas, with such things as deep fried fish, stuffed vine leaves, pickles, olives and halloumi.
Eating out in Greece is a pleasure that should be enjoyed in a leisurely fashion. Don’t mistake the lack of haste for tardy service as you are simply being given the time to fully enjoy each course. Children are warmly welcomed in restaurants and their tastes and portion size are usually accommodated.