Welcome to South Iraklio
The south-central region of Crete is blessed with a trifecta of archaeological treasures – Phaestos, Agia Triada and Gortyna – and a cluster of minor sites spanning Cretan history from the Minoans to the Romans. Touring them you’ll be weaving your way right through the Messara Plain, one of Crete’s most fertile regions, framed by Mt Psiloritis to the north, the Dhiktean mountains to the east and the Asterousia hills to the south. A major highway links the busy commercial centres of Tymbaki, Mires, Agii Deka and Pyrgos, although they hold little interest for visitors. The nearby coastal towns are another matter. Matala, Kamilari and Kalamaki beckon with long stretches of sandy beach and smaller inland villages such as Sivas make excellent bases for exploring the region’s ample charms. There are diversions aplenty: hiking through gorges, visiting ancient monasteries, poking around flower-festooned villages, chilling with locals on the village square or simply getting lost on the winding country roads.