Lasithi Province

The Late Minoan settlement of Gournia lies 19km southeast of Agios Nikolaos. Comprising a small palace and residential areas, it was built between 1600 and 1500 BC, destroyed in 1450 BC and reoccupied from 1375 to 1200 BC. There are streets, stairways and houses with walls up to 2m high. Domestic, trade and agricultural implements discovered here suggest that Gournia might have been fairly prosperous. Agios Nikolaos buses bound for Sitia and Ierapetra can drop you at the site.

Snap a picture of the overview map just past the entrance, then follow a narrow ancient road as it curves uphill to the palace ruins, skirting workshops and storage rooms, including one where a clay wine press was found. The trail ends at the palace’s central courtyard, with steps on your right indicating the main entrance. On the opposite (western) side of the courtyard, smaller stairs lead down to an upright slab considered to have been a ‘sacred stone’. Basic explanatory panels scattered around the site provide additional information.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lasithi Province attractions

1. Voulisma Beach

3.05 MILES

Wedged into a crescent bay about 12km east of Agios Nikolaos, this ribbon of fine golden sand is lapped by shallow and usually calm, Caribbean-clear water…

2. Abduction of Europa Statue

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The myth of the Phoenician princess Europa being abducted by Zeus in the guise of a bull finds expression in a monumental statue at the end of a ho-hum…

3. Agia Triada Church

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Right in the town centre, Agios Nikolaos' main church is a three-aisled Byzantine construction dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The mosaic above the main…

4. Folk Museum


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5. Minotaur Mural

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6. Koutsounari Beach

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7. Agia Fotia Beach

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8. Ierapetra Town Hall

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Ierapetra's pretty town hall is in the city centre next to a small park and near the ferries to Chrissi Island.