Gournes is a tourist resort located 16km east of Heraklion, between Kokkini Hani and Gouves. The area of Gournes is located in a large fertile plain with many vegetable crops and olive groves. Gournes was in the past a separate village but the rapid development of the region has made it one part of the united beachfront, which now starts in Vathianos Kambos and ends after 23 kilometers, in Malia. Gournes are situated on the 3rd kilometer of this front.
The name of Gournes comes from the latin “urna”, i.e. troughs with water used for watering livestock. However, another version for the name tells that it comes after the minoan larnakes (urns) that existed here.
Like most beaches of the north coast of Crete, the beaches of Gournes are vulnerable to north winds. The beach front of the area is full of small artificial small piers, used for absorbing the wave force and gathering sand. Thus, several coves have been formed between these piers. On the west part of Gournes, you will find the long beach of the area, which is well organized with umbrellas and lifeguard. If you walk to the east, the coast gets rockier and you will meet the exit of the small torrent of the area. 1km on the east, you will see the former American Base of Gournes, which was abandoned in early 1990s and still remains unused. The ransacked ghost buildings and the inefficient Greek state, haunt the region for many years, with the only notable exceptions being the International Exhibition Center of Crete, the Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), the City Hall and the Aquarium. At the west part of the Base, there is a small port, east of which unfolds the longest beach of Gournes. It is a lovely sandy beach, which is not well organized and extends to the east, meeting the beaches of Gouves. Especially, west of the boundary of the Old Base with Gouves, you will find the well- organised municipal beach of Gouves.
If you come in Gournes it is worth visiting the picturesque church of Agios Georgios Bezetis with the scenic frescoes, which is built in the valley that comes through the village. Moreover, in the old village of Gournes you’ll see the old church of the Annunciation. Nearby, a Minoan settlement and cemetery have been excavated, where many vases, figurines and seals were revealed. However, the most popular attraction in the recent years is Cretaquarium, which is the largest aquarium of southern Europe. The aquarium, which is located inside the former U.S. base, attracts thousands of visitors daily.
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|Kokkini Hani beaches||0.7km||Niros Mansion||2km|
|Kato Gouves beaches||2.5km||Vathianos Kambos beaches||3.2km|
|St John Monastery in Anopolis||3.7km||Cave of Eileithyia||5.1km|
|Aposelemis beach||5.3km||Skotino Cave||5.6km|
|Foscolo Tower in Kenourgio Horio||5.6km||Amnisos||5.9km|
|Monastery of Kera Eleousa||6.1km||Karteros Beaches||6.9km|
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