Gouves (Kato Gouves) and Pano Gouves
Gouves is located 18 km east of Heraklion, next to Gournes.
Gouves is a large area, which covers several smaller villages, including the popular resort area of Kato Gouves (lower Gouves) and the traditional village of Pano Gouves (upper Gouves), which is built into the side of small Mt. Ederi, only a little more than 300 meters high, bith spectacular views.
The name Gouves is derived from "gouva," which means a hollow in the earth. The name Gouves is usually applied to the seaside resort of Kato Gouves, and this is how it will be used throughout this text.
Gouves is neither a village nor a town. It is an inhabited area which owes its development to tourism. There is a main road running from the old Heraklion - Hersonissos National Road down to the beach road. On either side of the road, hotels and apartments extend to a great distance among the fields. There are also a few hotels and apartments above the old National Road. In other words, this is a sparsely-populated area which largely retains its earlier farming character.
How to go to Gouves
To get to Gouves from Heraklion, drive east along the National Road to Agios Nikolaos. About 15 kilometres outside Heraklion you will see the exit to Gouves. Turn off the National Road onto the old National Road to Hersonissos. About 1 kilometre further on, you will see the sign to seaside Gouves (Kato Gouves) on your left, and the sign to the village of Pano Gouves on your right.
Useful Information about Gouves
Gouves has everything for your holiday needs. You will find many hotels of all classes, numerous tourist apartments and studios, and the Gouves camping: Gouves hotels and villas
On the main road you'll find many tavernas and restaurants, including two Chinese restaurants, bars and cafes, fast-food emporiums and numerous stores of all types from souvenir shops to fashion boutiques. There are many large and small supermarkets, a mini golf, car and bike rentals, pharmacy, a medical clinic and ATMs.
Kato Gouves also has one of the finest sea-side promenades on the island. Called Possidonos Street, the paved walkway has ornate street lamps every 10 meters, and runs for about three kilometres, from the Creta Sun Hotel on the east to Gouves camping and the municipal beach on the west.
Along the way there are numerous beachfront tavernas and some interesting sites, including a boat marina and a beautiful chapel which is built on an outcropping of rock adjacent to the sea. You'll also find water sports and a SCUBA diving facility.
Along the considerable stretch of seashore in Gouves, there are many excellent beaches to satisfy every preference. Some of the rocky areas offer privacy, while the larger, sandy beaches feature all the swimming amenities, from beach chairs and umbrellas to smooth seas, thanks to wave-breakers.
The beach in front of the Marina Hotel covers a very large area and is very popular, while the Astir beach is considered one of the best in the area.
The beaches near the centre of Gouves are popular and every inch of sand is covered by umbrellas. An umbrella with 2 loungers costs around €6 (2009). For better prices, go to the municipal beach to the east, where they drop to €4.
Heading west, the coast becomes rocky or pebbly up to the little church. Past that, there are some wonderful little sandy beaches.
All the beaches are generally very crowded, unless you get up early and go to the beach before 10 am, when you will be pretty much alone. Most of the photos of Gouves were taken around 8 am, which is why there are no people.
You should also remember that the beaches in Gouves face north, so the summer northwesterlies make the sea rough. If you want to swim in calm water, go to the little beach in the harbour west of the marina.
What to do in Gouves
Enjoy swimming at the many beaches in the Gouves area. Don't forget that Gouves is close to many other seaside resort and villages, such as Kokkini Hani, Gournes, Analipsis, Anissaras, Hersonissos, Stalis and Malia and others further east, so there are unlimited beaches to choose from.
Try sea sports: waterskiing, pedalo, canoe, paragliding, banana boat, etc.
Walk to the seaside church of Saints Constantine and Helen, in the small pine grove. If you come on Sunday morning you can attend Mass, and if you are lucky there may be a wedding or a christening, usually on Saturday afternoon.
Don't miss the large aquarium in nearby Gournes, the famous Crete Aquarium. Gournes is just half an hour's walk from Gouves. Take the coast road to the east and continue past the campsite. At some point you need to turn left and cross the former American Base, which may also interest you as a historical sight.
If you want to make your children happy, give them a day of fun and games at the Anopolis Water Park or the two Hersonissos Water Parks.
A drive to the top of Mt. Ederi should be "high" on your list of things to do. The road is steep, but well-paved, as it was once a part of the military facility at neighbouring Gournes. In fact, although long abandoned, the huge twin radar "ears" are still there, prompting locals to refer to the area as "Mickey Mouse Mountain." Whatever you call it, the view from its zenith is breathtaking.
As previously mentioned, the old village of Pano Gouves is a must-visit for anyone staying in the area, and there are several interesting churches nearby, including: Agios Georgios (Saint George), Agios Ioannis (St. John) and Panayia (dedicated to the birth of Our Lady). In the small square of Kato Gouves you will find traditional kafeneia and a taverna, while in the narrow alleys you will discover many old houses, some restored and others ruined.
Several kilometres further up from Pano Gouves, is the quaint village of Skotino, and its nearby Skotino cave, which is among the largest in Crete. It has a depth of 160 meters, and it is on four levels. Like many other caves, it appears to have had some religious importance, and some people even believe this was the labyrinth of the legendary Minotaur, which is doubtful. Minotaur or not, this site should not be missed.
Knossos, the great Minoan Palace, is only 20 kilometres from Gouves and there are frequent buses during the summer. There is also much to see on a walk around Heraklion, such as the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the Historical Museum of Crete and the Natural History Museum.
- Gouves pictures, photos from Gouves town, beaches in Gouves and the old village of Pano Gouves