Discover the environment

Archaeological sites

Gortys

In the 4th century, Gortys was the rival city of Knossos and in Roman times, it was the capital of Crete. The lion’s share of the ruins date from that time. The famous laws of Gortys are the highlight of any visit. Dating back to 450 BC, they were chiselled in a wall that was 12m long and 2m tall.

Phaistos

One of the oldest Minoan palaces. Interesting ruins. The palace was built on top of a hill and offers stunning views of the plain of Messara. In 1908, the famous, enigmatic Phaistos disk was discovered here. After more than a century, the disk should now largely be decoded and is said to include an ode to Mother Earth.

Agia Triada

Less spectacular than Phaistos but less spoilt and less crowded. Dating back to the same period. Was destroyed in a natural disaster in 1450 BC. Pleasant place to visit.

Komos

Small site on the beach of Komos. The port of Phaistos at the time of the Minoans. As the site has not been fully explored, it cannot be visited.

Villages

Sivas

An authentic village with lots of charm. Declared a cultural, protected habitat by the Ministry of Culture. The whole village life centres around the village square with its taverns and cafés, some grocers, a butcher and a ceramics workshop. Festivities are organised regularly in the summer.

Pitsidia

A beautiful, ancient village with a pleasant square and many taverns and cafés. Live music on the square weekly in the summer season.

Kamilari

Typical and pleasant village. A church, old houses, restaurants and cafés.
A big village party in the square in August.

Kalamaki

Small, fairly recent village on the beach. A promenade with many (fish) restaurants. Some cafés and souvenir shops.

Vorri

Beautiful village with a typical square lined with taverns. The interesting Folklore Museum is worth a visit.

Kouses

Quiet village just above Sivas. Best known for ‘Botano’, a small shop where you can smell, taste and buy hundreds of local herbs, teas and herb-based products. Definitely worth a visit.

Matala

A fishing village, made famous by the Hippies. The caves were inhabited in antiquity and are a real attraction. Now a tourist spot with many shops, cafés and restaurants. It still is a beautiful place with a special atmosphere.

Moires

The region’s largest village. Restaurants, bakeries, shops, supermarkets, banks, a bus station etc. Although lacking in charm, you will find everything you need there. Market day is Saturday.

Timbaki

Modern village with all amenities. On the way to Agia Galini. Market day is Friday.

Zaros

Village full of atmosphere and popular with the locals. Visit the workshop of instrument maker Antonis Stefanakis. Famous all over Crete. Boutique-workshop Mitros gives you all the information about the local textile industry. Lake Votomou is 2 km outside the village. Short, easy walk around the lake. Trout farm and fine restaurant. This is also the starting point for a wonderful hike to the gorge of Agios Nikolaos which opens onto the oak forest of Rouvas.

Monasteries

The monastery of Odiyitria

There are only two monks left in this 600-year-old monastery. Church with ancient frescoes an icons. Pleasant walk in the monastery grounds and cordial welcome.

The monastery of Kalyviani

Between Vorri and Moires, accessible via a small road. A large monastery complex with a small, old church with beautiful frescoes. There is a sculpture in the large monastery church that is said to work miracles …

The monastery of Vrondisi

Beautifully restored monastery about 3 km west of Zaros. Fine church and courtyard. A remarkable, distinguished Venetian fountain outside the monastery wall.

The church of Agios Fanourios

Still higher than Vrondisi. This 15th-century church forms part of the monastery of Valsamonero. The magnificent frescoes are among the finest of Crete.

Beaches

Komos Beach

One of Crete’s most beautiful beaches. Easy to reach via Pitsidia. A long and wide sandy beach flanked by beautiful dunes. This is where the Caret turtles come and lay their eggs. Parking area with mobile ‘Cantina’. To the left is the beach where you can hire deck chairs, parasols and showers. At the very end is the famed Bunga-Bunga beach bar. To the right, the beach is unspoilt and partly naturist.

Kalamaki Beach

Nice family beach. Following on from Komos. Free deck chairs, parasols and showers for the customers of the restaurants.

Matala Beach

Very busy beach located in a beautiful bay with stunning views of the famous caves.

Red Beach

Lovely beach which owes its name to the colour of the sand. Accessible from Matala after a brisk walk of about 40′. Drinks and snacks available. Parasol and deck chairs can be hired. Both nudist and non-nudist.

The gorge and beach of Agios Farangos

Turn left at the monastery of Odiyitria, park the car after 4km and turn right to head for the gorge. Follow the riverbed, pass the chapel of Katoginos and you will end up on the beautiful beach. Nice and easy walk of around 45 minutes.