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.
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.
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.
Agiofaraggo (GR: Αγιοφάραγγο the gorge of Saints) is a small gorge at the southern shores of Heraklion close to the village and the beach of Kaloi Limenes and 6 kilometers south of the Monastery of Odigitria.
Kokkinos Pirgos (GR: Κόκκινος Πύργος) is a small coastal community, 2km away from Timbaki with a nice, long sandy beach, one of the longest in Crete, and a clear transparent sea. The part of the beach to the north west of the harbour is called Makrimaliana (or Kakoskalo) and the south east part of it is called Katalyki . The harbour in front of the village of Kokkinos Pirgos, offers docking facilities for sailing and fishing boats. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. across the harbour and along the beach. You can always find good fresh fish in the taverns of the village. Kokkinos Pirgos (meaning red tower) , took its name from a castle that use to be there during the Middle Ages, which was built by red clay earth.