One of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Crete, extends from a clump of rocks riveted in the shallow waters in the south to the Kalamaki settlement in the North. In Minoan times there used to be the ancient port of Phaistos. The antiquities lie just a few meters away from the sea.
Matala (GR: Μάταλα) was the ancient port of Phaistos and Gortys and a former fishing community which has developed into a modern holiday center. It is located 4 km south-west of the village of Pitsidia and 75 km from Iraklion. It is built on the coast line of the Messara bay inside a small and picturesque inlet. During the 60's the caves of Matala were hosting a hippie commune.
Agia Pelagia lies 20km west of Iraklion. The bay of Agia Pelagia is ideal for combining sea sports with relaxation. The visitor will find well trained instructors that offer lessons for sea sports such as water-ski, wind surf, canoe. Agia Pelagia offers unique high standard hotel facilities as well as many small hotels and pensions.
Ammoudara (GR: Αμμουδάρα) is four kilometre long sandy beach that stretches from the west end of Heraklion to Linoperamata near the village of Gazi. The sand is fine and blond and extends several metres to the land and the sea is clear and safe. The predominant winds during the summertime are N, N-W usually "meltemi" that get more fresh at the western end of the beach, where the windsurf school is located. Along the shore there are hotels, some of them very large complexes, taverns, restaurants, bars, cafes etc that offer umbrellas and sun-beds on the beach. There are also lifeguards in some spots. The area in general is touristic and offers a full range of facilities, among them the modern multiplex "Technopolis" with cinema and an open-air theater.
A small coastal village with a long sandy beach is becoming very popular with tourists due both its natural beauty and its proximity to Phaistos, Gortys and other important sites. There are quite few hotels, apartments etc and taverns, cafes by the beach.
Léndas or Léntas (GR: Λέντας), positioned almost in the centre of Cretes' south coast, clusters around a pretty bay that's dominated by an enormous rock resembling a lion's head that juts into the sea on one side of the resort. The village offers most facilities you might need during your stay; a choice of tavernas, three or four directly on the beach, two or three bars, mini-markets and even an Internet café. There is a sand/shingle beach and the sea is crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling.
Tripití (or Trypití GR: Τρυπητή) is a 400m long beach on the southern Asterousia coastline. It is located 57km from Heraklion (west gate, Giofyros) via Agioi Deka - Vagionia - Vassiliki - Trypiti road. The last 10km, from Vassiliki to Trypiti, is a dirt but in fairly good condition road. The road passes over the gorge of Agios Savvas, with spectacular rocky walls, then through a forest of olive and carob trees and finally via the gorge of Trypiti through a very narrow passage reaches the beach. This is a very interesting route with breathtaking views and fantastic scenery.
Tráfoulas is a secluded beach, nested in a cove open to the south, at the small promontory of the same name, located between Lendas and Trypiti. You can reach Trafoulas only by boat or on foot via a small canyon. The starting point is around 700m away, to the north, just above the small harbour of Loutras, around 5km east from Lendas, where there is a place for parking. You then follow the hiking path, descending for a while to meet the canyon that leads directly to the beach. The walk takes around 20 minutes and its very nice as there are plenty of oleander and the rocky walls are very spectacular continuing until the sea.
A long beach west of Lendas on the south shores of Iraklion. The name is probably a corruption of Dysikos (GR: Δυσικός) which is the one to the west. There is a small settlement with taverns and accommodation complexes, mostly rooms and apartments for rent. Dyskos used to be popular with nudists and nature lovers in the past and even in present days nudism is tolerated in the western part of the beach. The beach has small pebbles and sand. Those who chose Dyskos for their holidays will have, among other things, the chance to explore the area by small walking tours and enjoy the magnificent sunset.
The Red beach is located around 700m south from Matala. It is a beautiful secluded beach with fine reddish sand originating from the rocks of the area. The name "Red Beach" is given by the visitors due to its reddish color while its original name is Ammoúdia (GR: Αμμούδια). The sea gets a lovely blue-green color, making the landscape really unique. The only way to access Red Beach is on foot or by boat from Matala. The walk from Matala takes about 20 minutes and it can't be considered as an easy one. Red Beach however can get pretty crowded in the high season. There is a small stone-wall canteen offering snacks and drinks and a few umbrellas and sun-beds. Nudism is tolerated at the two ends of the beach.