Phaestos - Gortys - Matala
The price is set only for departing from Heraklion city. For departures from other locations, please contact us for advising the price.
- The default stops may change according to your wishes, consult your driver.
- Entrance fees for archaeological sites/museums, escorts/guides and meals are not included.
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. The city of Gortys extended across a wide area, but unfortunately only a small part of it has been excavated. What the uninformed (and guided) visitor sees is only the tip of the iceberg.
During our visit in Gortys, you will see part of the church of St Titus. We pass by the church and cross the square with its old olive trees with their time-knotted trunks. These trees look as though they have been here hundreds of years, further evidence of the history of Gortys down the ages. We continue straight on and admire the evergreen plane tree of Gortys, said to have shaded the wedding celebrations of Zeus and Europa.
The Minoan palace of Phaistos corresponds to a flourishing city which arose in the fertile plain of the Messara in prehistoric times, from circa 6000 BC to the 1st century BC, as archaeological finds confirm.
The history of the Minoan palace of Phaistos, like that of the other Minoan palaces of Crete, is a turbulent one:
The first palace of Phaistos was built in circa 2000 BC. Its mythical founder was Minos himself and its first king was his brother Radamanthys.
In 1700 BC a strong earthquake destroyed the palace, which was rebuilt almost immediately. However, Phaistos was no longer the administrative centre of the area, an honour which passed to neighbouring Agia Triada. Phaistos continued to be the religious and cult centre of south Crete.
In 1450 BC there was another great catastrophe, not only in Phaistos but across the whole of Crete. The city of Phaistos recovered from the destruction, minted its own coins and continued to flourish for the next few centuries until the first century BC, when it was destroyed by neighbouring Gortys.
Matala has something for everyone. Although it has become a popular tourist destination it still retains the charm and character of the quiet fishing village it started as at the beginning of the 20th-century, and the laid-back lifestyle of the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s lives on.
Half the beach is fringed by tamarisk trees, leading the eye on to impressive formations of sandstone rock cliffs with their famous caves sliding into the sea at an odd angle, creating one of the most unusual beachscapes on the island. After a day on the beach or exploring the village you can sit and watch the sunset over the Libyan Sea, looking out over the islands towards Africa.