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Nestled on the northern shores of Crete, this fabulous laidback resort provides holidaymakers with a true taste ofGreece. Traditional Greek lifestyle seeps from every street, while the beach-side breaks offer up hours upon hours of sunshine, perfect for sunbathing fanatics to get their fill.
Ideally placed if you want to embark on a little exploration and adventure during your time on the island, holidays in Gouves mean that some of the quintessential Cretan sights are just a short drive away. Whether it's the majestic Palace of Knossos that tickles your fancy, or you'd prefer to absorb yourself in the mysticism and history of the island of Spinalonga, making Gouves your base will ensure that anything is possible.
While the opportunity to explore is just around the corner, it's understandable that, for many visitors to Gouves, the beautiful golden sands are the primary draw. With three picturesque beaches to choose from, and plenty of beachfront tavernas serving up traditional Greek meze and other local specialities, you don't even need to step out of the resort at all if you don't want to.
Once home to one of the last leper colonies in Europe, the island of Spinalonga is now a maze of cobbled streets awash with history and heritage that visitors consider one of Crete's top attractions. At the heart of the island is an impressive Venetian fortress that overlooks the lanes below. While the island itself is uninhabited, boat tours operate regularly and bring you closer to this mystical place and its picturesque pebble beaches.
As the largest city in Crete, you can imagine the bountiful attractions, tavernas and shops that await your visit. While the city itself is a whirl of hustle and bustle (its streets and roads are easy to get lost in), once you have accustomed yourself, you will find that the city boasts an enormous amount of sights to see. Spend a couple of hours wandering the archaeological museum or admire the beauty of Eleftheria Square. Explore the wealth of churches in the area or just stop a moment to sample a Greek meze platter at one of the street-side restaurants; the choice is yours.
The Palace of Knossos
For many, this is an absolute must-see on any holiday to Crete. A Minoan piece and proof of the ancient civilisation waiting to be explored, the Palace of Knossos would be a perfect day out for history and culture buffs. Hire a guide or explore independently, it's a must-visit sight regardless.
Hike through the Samarian Gorge
If you're up to the challenge, the Samarian Gorge is the longest in Europe and second in the world after the Grand Canyon. Oozing natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes, if you're a lover of the outdoors and plan to pack your hiking boots, this is definitely the place to go.
Admire Minoan Relics
The island of Crete is awash with significant Minoan sites, and the area around Gouves is certainly not short of ancient ruins and archaeological relics. While Knossos is far and away the most popular one, there's also an excavation at Amnisos and an example of a Minoan villa in Kokkini Hani. Enjoy a visit to Skotina Cave, too, which was once used as shrines by Minoans.
Take to the Waters
The trio of beaches that Gouves boasts are all well-equipped for most watersports opportunities. Whether you're zipping around the bay on a jetski or grabbing a snorkel to explore underwater, if you're a water baby in need of a dip then you're in the right place.
Laidback, relaxing and possessing traditional Greek vibes, Gouves may be a purpose-built holiday resort but you certainly wouldn't think it. Perfectly placed to explore the island, while providing plenty of reasons to stay within the resort, Gouves holidays are ideal for families, couples and solo travellers desperate for a piece of chilled out Greece.
For something a little more up-tempo, with more bars and clubs than you could shake a stick at, Malia is Crete's party capital and for very good reason. From the main strip running through the centre of town to the boozy boat trips that take you out during the daytime, Malia is a clubbing capital where the dancing doesn't have to stop. Combine that with some beautiful sands on which to snooze during the day after the night before, and you have yourself a top-notch resort perfect for late night revelries.
Head to Direct Holidays and bag one of the bargain package holidays to Gouves this summer and experience life as laidback as it comes.