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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Gouves

Gouves Holidays

This waterfront town features a sleepy, village counterpart, which means you get lively days at the beach and to sip coffee from a quiet, inland cafe. There's a long waterfront promenade for strolling and limitless dining possibilities, not to mention waves that are alive with activity making it a spot for cheap holidays to Crete.

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Kato Gouves and a day at the beach

Kato Gouves is the town's beach territory, lined with distinct shores ranging from sandy to secluded, pebbled patches. The most popular beaches are those in the centre of town – there, you'll find rows of sunloungers to call home for the afternoon, plus waterfront bars that are happy to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Down on the waterfront is where the action is, with the town's long stretch of coast taking centre stage. It's known as Kato Gouves. There are watersports to get your heart rate up and sunbeds to bring it back down, plus beach bars and restaurants and souvenir shops. Up towards Mount Ederi is Pano Gouves, a quiet, authentic village that's happy to keep things low key and the food very local.

The beaches, like any Greek island holiday location, can get crowded in the summer season – it's a sun-filled holiday destination, after all – so you'd be wise to arrive early for maximum sunbathing potential. Out to sea, there are scuba divers exploring the rocky coastline, while banana boats and windsurfers whisk through the waves. There are flags to help mark areas with strong undercurrents that you should avoid, so you keep safe when opting for a swim.

Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthadox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • GMT +2

Hikes, jaunts and scenic strolls

Many activities in this part of Crete include exploring your surroundings and getting familiar with the Gouves lifestyle. Once you're able to peel yourself away from the beach, there's a waterfront promenade extending for three kilometres that's called Possidonos Street. It's speckled with ornate street lamps plus bars and tavernas to pause in along the way.

Hike up to the tip-top of Mount Ederi and you'll be treated to some of the best sea views around. It's a steep walk, but the sightseeing at the end is worth it. Further inland, you'll come across the village of Skotino, where the famous Skotino Cave lies. Dipping 160 metres into the earth, it's believed to be a former shrine dating back to the Minoan periods – some even think it's where the fabled Minotaur lived.

Greek food for days

Gouves is a deceptively large town and has a wide selection of restaurants to match. Up into Pano Gouves, you'll find more traditional tavernas, while Kato Gouves is where the expat pubs take hold of the waterfront. Greek cuisine dominates the town, though there are a few international bites and British dishes, plus occasional live music from local musicians.

Gouves also has a pretty decent after-hours scene, though things here are by no means rowdy. There are quite a few bars and pubs to choose from, including open air clubs and dance spots. Plus, the majority of cafes and restaurants become low key bars by night, inviting you to stick around for a glass of raki and pint of Mythos beer.

Pano Gouves

Though Kato Gouves is arguably the town's heart, it's in Pano Gouves where you'll find a quirky underlining and hidden avenues to uncover. It's a traditional village lined with whitewashed houses and orthodox churches that carry on as normal places of worship throughout the high season. In Pano Gouves, you'll have no choice but to dial the energy down and find a resting point in an authentic kafenio, or Greek cafe, with a cup of coffee and watch as the locals drift by.

Hersonissos

Just a 15-minute drive away lies the town of Hersonissos, one of the most popular destinations in Crete. It too is divided into a vibrant coastal town and sleepy, older village. The newer sections are home to an array of watersport-laden beaches, three waterparks, a theme park and the only Cretan golf course, not to mention some of the best designer shopping on the island.

The older part of town is where you'll find some incredible traditional Greek food, with restaurants almost always featuring outdoor dining.