Gournia is renowned for its ancient Minoan town, located 17 km east of Agios Nikolaos and 2 km west of Pachia Ammos. It has been named after the stone and wooden troughs, called ‘urna’ in Venetian, which were discovered in the area before excavation. The Minoan town is believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1450BC and abandoned by 1200BC.
Located just 1 km north of the archaeological site is the small but secluded beach of Frouzis. Accessible by car from the old bridge, it is a pebbly beach in a rocky bay, without any facilities or amenities. There are several sea caves and natural ponds in the area, but due to sea currents, a lot of rubbish has been brought in.
The abandoned camping site of Gournia is also a nearby beach that is best avoided due to the rubbish that has been washed up. A short dirt road opposite the road to the monastery of Panagia Faneromeni leads to a stunning natural salt pool. This tranquil pool, particularly when the surrounding sea is stormy, is a great spot for swimming and the nearby cave is also a highlight.
Finally, the cemetery of Gournia was discovered in the area of Sfougaras, close to Kamini. Visiting the archaeological site is a must for those coming to Gournia, where the walls, stairs and streets are still in relatively good condition.