Located adjacent to a picturesque coastline, Gouves is a traditional town surrounded by archaeological sites on the outskirts of Heraklion. It’s home to a well-preserved Minoan villa and a historic monastery, as well as one of Crete’s most magnificent caves.
Things to do in Gouves
One of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Gouves is the well-preserved Minoan villa of Kokkíni Háni, which dates back to 1700 BC. Wander through its paved courts, shrines and connecting corridors, then visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to admire the villa’s Aegean Bronze Age artefacts.
Gouves is a good base for visiting the monastery of St. John Theologos, which lies in a beautiful valley on the outskirts of Anopolis. Constant pirate raids at the seaside monastery of St. Georges led monks to resettle here during the Venetian occupation, bringing with them the icon of St. George that survives to this day.
Want to experience Crete’s largest and most impressive cave? Head underground to explore the Skotino Cave, topped by the Ayía Paraskevi church. Bronze and ceramic artefacts discovered here suggest it once served as a sacred fertility shrine, with magnificent stalagmites and stalactites seen today.
Delve into the underwater world at the CretAquarium, which is an important research hub for Mediterranean marine life. Get up close to sand tiger sharks, rainbow wrasse and clown anemonefish, as well as lesser-known creatures that live in the dark sea depths, such as dusky groupers and red scorpionfish.
Getting around Gouves
Gouves is 15 minutes’ drive from Heraklion Airport N. Kazantzakis and there are regular ferries from the port in Heraklion to Piraeus near Athens. Buses connect Gouves with destinations across the island, but having your own vehicle is best for exploring the town’s surrounding sights.