Gournia is located 17km east of Agios Nikolaos and 2km west of Pachia Ammos. The place is famous for the ancient Minoan town Gournia, which was built on a small hill. It gets its name after the stone and wooden troughs (from the Venetian word urna for troughs with water) found in the area before the excavations, while the initial name of the Minoan town is still unknown.
1km north of the archaeological site and next to the old bridge of Frouzis, you’ll meet the small beach of Frouzis, which is accessible by car from the road that connected Agios Nikolaos to Ierapetra and Sitia till 90s. It is a small and secluded pebbly beach within a rocky bay. It is totally unorganized without any facilities. There are some nice sea caves and natural ponds in the rocks in the wider area, however the sea streams gather a lot of rubbish. The next beach you'll meet is the beach with the abandoned camping site of Gournia. Unfortunately rubbish moved here by sea currents is the main reason you should avoid the place.
The salt pool of Gournia
Just opposite the point where the road to the monastery of Panagia Faneromeni starts to ascend, a short dirt road leads to one of the most impressive natural pools in Crete that is formed on the hard rock. Especially when the surrounding sea is stormy, it is a pleasure to swim in this calm pond, while the large cave that forms next to it also makes a great impression.
If you come to Gournia it is worth visiting the archaeological site and see how a small Minoan city was. The city, which flourished in the 1500BC has been fully excavated with walls, stairs leading to second floors and the streets in good condition. It is built around the hill, on top of which a small palace, the market and a temple were found. It seems to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1450BC and totally abandoned in 1200BC. The cemetery of Gournia was found in the area Sfougaras, close to Kamini.