Phaistos, or more correctly the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in south-central Crete, the Messara plain, 55 km south of Heraklion and a short distance from the archaeological site of Agia Triada, the archaeological site at Gortyna and Matala . Phaistos is the most important archaeological sites in Crete, and receives many thousands of visitors every year. The Minoan palace of Phaistos corresponds to a flourishing town, not incidentally, arose in the fertile plain of Messara in prehistoric times, ie from 6000 BC until about the 1st BC century, as attested by archaeological finds.
Gortys, also known as Gortyn or Gortyna is one of the most important cities in Crete with an unbroken history of 6,000 years and one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Greece. It lies in south central Crete in the fertile Mesara plain, the site of the first human habitation of Crete at the end of the Neolithic period (5th millennium BC). Gortys is about 40 minutes drive south of Heraklion, on the same road that will take us to Phaistos and Matala. Gortys is about 1 km past the village of Agii Deka, at the side of the main road.
Matala is located 68km southwest of Heraklion, on the boundaries of the plain Messara and Asteroussia Mountains. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of Heraklion. It is famous for the carved caves in the rocks and the hippies of the ‘70s. It is located close to Phaistos, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization. Matala was the port of Phaistos, and on the Roman Times, it became a port of Gortys.Matala is located at the exit of a small valley, which forms a large enclosed bay with nice view to the islands of Paximadia.The bay is a beautiful long sandy beach, 300m long, with fine gravel and crystal clear deep water. Moreover, the seabed is quite rocky in some places and the waves, due to frequent westerly winds, are very large and amazing.
A very important archaeological site in central Crete near Phaistos, on the banks of Geropotamos, with extraordinary natural beauty is the Holy Trinity. Located 64 km. Southwest of Heraklion and 3 km. South of Phaistos. The royal villa or small Minoan palace of Agia Triada, The Basiliki Epafli was built around the 16th century BC (Late IA). After the destruction of the palace (1450 BC) on the north side of the villa constructed a mansion 'mycenean formula'