South Cost - Matala
-Matala. This place is well known from the decade of 70s as it was very popular among the hippie's movement, looking for the free style of life in the nature. They used to live in the ( caves ) surrounding Matala bay , caves which truly are Roman graves aged by the years of early Christianity. Living in Matala gives you the opportunity to leave in small village of the Cretan country side. Using this place for your stay gives you a lot of choices of visiting other famous areas around without spending a lot of time on driving. Such places are:
Agiofarago, it is a small gorge which we suggest you to walk through. You need only about 45 minutes walking in that beautiful gorge but you will be rewarded by the end of it as you are going to find that incredible beach waiting for you who dare. Next to this beach after a small but ruff hill to climb, is a small salted lake very beautiful to take some pictures but don't try to go down there because it is too dangerous. This lake is connected underground by the sea. Have some water with you and if you plan to stay longer an umbrella and some food would bee a nice idea. In case you need more water there is a well 5 minutes far in the church of St. Antonio's. Don't be surprised if you see up high around the rocks some monks praying to god, thats where this gorge took its name, it used to bee very popular for the hermit monks years ago and if you are lucky you are going to see some of them on our days. Kali Limenes, not very far from Agiofarago is the beautiful beach of Kali Limenes. More organized (that means you find at least water and some food but also very apart of mass tourism destinations gives you the joy of relaxing by the sea and visiting a place different. Red beach, a beach with in 20 minutes walking from the center of Matala, one the best beaches for nudists in the world. If you visit this beach don't forget to have some supplies with you. Komos beach . Only 4 km north of Matala. It used to be a very important trading port in Minoan civilization and there are some antiquities you can visit. It is also a very important nesting places for careta - careta turtle. Golden sand beach with crystal clear waters hosting some nudists in the north side but at the same time it is very well organized.
Antiquities. In case that your interests includes antiquities visiting don't forget to visit Phaistos palace 12 km north-east of Matala and of course the famous Knossos palace 70 km north next to the largest city of Crete , Heraklion. A good idea is to compile that excursion by visiting the renovated National Museum of Heraklion and the city itself. About 40 minutes driving to the east side of Matala you can visit the Gortys a place of civilization aged 3000bc, one of the most important cities of Minoan civilization and the base of the Roman capital for Crete and Libya. An impressive monument you have to visit.
Religion points of interest. There are many many places you can visit, like monasteries and churches whereas the all surrounding area from Zaros to Tympaki and Asterousia mountains was very popular through the early Christian ages among the Monks and Hermits. Most popular monasteries are Vrontisiou Monastery very next to Zaros village, about 1 hour driving from Matala, considered to be a very old monastery established in a place with panoramic view of Mesara champaign. Nearby is Zaros village with a beautiful forest to walk through and a small lake with a tavern by side in which you can taste the excellent trout fish of the lake. Paliani monastery is situated next to the village of Veneratos, about 1 hour driving. Probably the oldest monastery in Crete aged before of the 4th century. Visiting this place will offer you a unique opportunity of living the real Cretan hospitality. Don't miss it. Your choices will not end here while there are dozens of other monasteries and churches to visit. You can also visit Agii Eftihiani monastery and Panagia Odigitria monastery (see below at Lentas section)