Crete is an island of majestic mountains and gorges, colorful cities and bustling resorts, ancient ruins and world famous beaches. But even here, on one of the most popular destinations in Europe, there are quiet corners. Tourism reaches the southern coast of Crete at a slower pace than the north. The more interesting it is to discover its natural beauties and resorts, the shores of which are washed by the Libyan Sea. Where to relax in South Crete and what to see?

Sights of South Crete

On the south coast is the Phaistos Palace - one of the main palaces of Crete, not inferior in importance to Knossos. But there are much fewer tourists here, although the excavation area looks impressive, and the surrounding landscapes are impressive. From the height of the palace, views of Mount Psiloritis and the plain of Mesara open up. In Phaistos, a theater, pantries, the royal megaron, the queen's chambers, pottery warehouses with a large number of clay vessels and the remains of sanctuaries have been preserved. On the territory of the palace, the Phaistos disc was discovered, exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

History lovers should go to the ancient city of Gortyn, which is mentioned by Homer.

In the 19th century, the largest code of laws in Greece was found here. It can be seen in the Roman odeon. Other points of interest in Gortyn include the North Theatre, partly carved into the rock, the Church of St. Titus, the Agora with the Temple of Asclepius, and the Sanctuary of Isis, where the Egyptian gods were venerated.

The decoration of South Crete is the Frangokastello fortress, built by the Venetians. Many dramatic events of Cretan history are associated with it. Today you can not only see the impressive walls of the fortress, but also spend time on the Frangokastello beach, one of the best on the island. In addition to archaeological sites on the southern coast of Crete, there are several gorges at once. The most visited of them is Samaria, known for its unique flora. Less popular is the Imbros Gorge with its untouched nature.

Resorts and beaches of South Crete

There are resort villages along the southern coast of Crete. Almost all of them are suitable for a relaxing holiday away from the hustle and bustle. One of the most famous towns in this area is Chora Sfakion, the center of the Sfakia region. Here you can relax in wild bays, swim in the Libyan Sea, try Sfakian pies and get to know the color of this impregnable village surrounded by mountains.

  • In the southern part of Crete is the famous Preveli beach, which is otherwise called the Palm Forest. The exotic coast with palm trees is unique: there is a bay with fresh river water, where you can also swim.
  • Many tourists have heard of Matala Beach - in the past a well-known "shelter" for hippies, and today it is an atmospheric resort town. The beach of Matala is surrounded by ancient caves that form the unusual landscape of the coast.
  • Near the resort is the Red Beach with minimal infrastructure. Only the most hardy can reach it - you have to walk through the rocky terrain. The reward will be views from above and the opportunity to relax away from busy beaches.

You can visit Ierapetra - the southernmost city of Crete and Europe. This is one of the most developed resorts on the south coast, which has a lot to do. The city has preserved its historical heritage (the fortress, the remains of the ancient Hierapitna, the church of Agios Georgios), is famous for its 7-kilometer beach and promenade with shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. Just 15 km from Ierapetra is the village of Myrtos with snow-white houses and good infrastructure. A long beach and clear sea awaits here, the water in which is slightly cooler than in the north of Crete.