Matala is located 68km southwest of Heraklion, where the plain Messara meets Asteroussia Mountains. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of south Heraklion prefecture. It is famous for the carved caves in the rocks and the hippies of the ‘70s. It is located close to Phaestus, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization.
Matala is located at the exit of a small valley, which forms an enclosed bay with nice view to the islands of Paximadia.There is a beautiful sandy beach, 300m long, with fine gravel and crystal clear deep water. Around Matala you will find many options for accommodation, entertainment and eating. Also, a large part of the beach is covered by tamarisk trees, where you can find shade. In the evenings, the bars on the beach are full with many people, both locals and foreigners. Especially in June, the internationally renowned Matala Festival takes place.
Kali Limenes is located 75km southwest of Heraklion and is the largest seaside village in Asterousia Mountains. It is one of the very few coastal areas of Asterousia, where you can get through asphalt road. To get here, you have to drive from village Pompia, in Messara Plane and follow the road to village Pigaidakia. The road is quite narrow and has several sharp turns, but is surely worth the effort.
You will certainly be enchanted by the beautiful beaches of Kali Limenes, which are suitable for swimming all year round. As its name name suggests, sea in Kali Limenes (i.e. Fair Harbors) is almost always calm, except in winter.
Agiofarago Gorge is located in south of Panagia Odigitria Monasteryand the route ends the amazing beach Agiofarago. Along the route in the gorge, vertical cliffs with caves rise, but the course in the flat bed of the stream is very easy and smooth. Just before reaching the sea, there is a climbing field and it is very common to see some climbers.
There are several ways you can get to Agiofarago. By boat you can go from ports of Kokkinos Pirgos, Agia Galini or Kali Limenes. You can also reach through a dirt road starting from the historic Monastery of Odigitria near Sivas, to which the area belongs.
Komos is located 66km southwest of Heraklion, just 2km north of Matala and close the village Pitsidia. It is actually the southernmost and the most isolated part of the long beachfront of Messara Bay. You can access Kommos by driving in the road heading to Matala, till you see a sign to Kommos near Pitsidia.
The views to Paximadia islets is stunning, especially during sunset. There are only a few tamarisk trees around, not buildings, because Kommos is a protected archaeological area and building is restricted. Next to the archaeological site, on the south, there is an organized beach with umbrellas, sun beds, toilet, showers, a canteen and a lifeguard. All around there are sand dunes where you can admire the white lilies of sand, which sign the end of the summer. If you want to find a place to stay overnight or to eat, you can walk to the nearby Kalamaki, or drive to Pitsidia and Matala.