Departing from the port of Ag. Nikolaos, it takes approx. 30 min to reach the archaeological site of Gournia. During the excursion to Agios Nikolaos we make a sort photo stop by the side of the main road to see the hill, where the Late Minoan settlement was built.
The Late Minoan town of Gournia was excavated by Harriet Boyd in the first years of the 20th century. It is one of the few Minoan towns to have been fully excavated. The original name of the settlement is not known and its present name comes from the hollow vessels found all over the site, many of which can still be seen at the entrances to the rooms.
Gournia lies on a small hill, a few hundred metres from the sea in the Gulf of Mirabello. Its position is important as it lies on the east to west route along the north coast of Crete but also near the main route in this area between the north and south coasts of Crete. This is the point where Crete is at its most narrow and the route from modern day Ierapetra in the south to the village of Pachyamos on the north coast, a few kilometres from Gournia, does not even cross mountains, making the route a very easy one to travel.
Depending on the available time we can also visit the site.
We continue our tour, using the main road and we turn right towards Ierapetra. It takes 30 min drive. Ierapetra is located on the southeast coast of Crete, along the beach of Ierapetra Bay. It lies south of Agios Nikolaos and southwest of Sitia and is an important regional center. With its 15,323 inhabitants (2001) it is the most populous town in the prefecture of Lasithi, and the fourth town of Crete. The area’s main economic activities are agriculture in the winter and tourism in the summer.
The agricultural production can be divided into two main parts. Whereas olive oil has been produced all over the municipality at least since Minoan times, for the last thirty years large quantities of fruit and vegetables have also been exported. These are grown in plastic greenhouses, which spread over an area of 13,000,000 square meters between the town of Ierapetra and Nea Myrtos.
At Ierapetra we can stay for about an 1h, and you can have free time to explore the area near the port, to enjoy a coffee near the small byzantine fortress.
Then we can continue towards Kalamafka village which is approx. 40 min drive. On the way we can stop to take some pictures and enjoy the panoramic view from the hills. At the small village we can walk around to actually see the everyday way of life in a non-touristic area.
One more stop is worth making on the way back to Agios Nikolaos, to see the narrowest point of Crete, where on the one side you will be able to see the southern part of Crete and the city of Ierapetra and on the other side the northern part of Crete.
Depending on the starting point this can be a half day (5h) or a full day (9h) tour. More places of interest can be added or we can even change the route upon request.