Yes, good 3 hours roundtrip is quite a drive from Heraklion! But be aware: in order to get any further than customary and touristy sites, you have to put up with lengthy, at times whirlwind drive. It is worth it!
We head down the fertile Messara valley and land right in the Ancient Gortyn – Crete’s Roman capital, also known for its oldest church and the code of law. It is also a legendary birthplace of Minoans - right here under the plane tree the great god Zeus revealed himself to princess Europa.
We advance further South, dive deeper into history and head to Minoan palace of Phaistos - even more impressive than its famous sister Knossos, thanks to its picturesque location and authentically preserved ruins. Having done with history, we head to beach – not just any but Matala beach – the same where Zeus disguised as a bull brought princess Europe to the shore of the Libyan sea (before taking her to Gortyn). Nowadays, it is a picturesque fisherman’s village with sandy beach (great for a swim), celebrated centre of the hippie community, with sandstone caves. Right here Joni Mitchell created her hit “Carrey” in 70. Fresh fish for late lunch in a tavern and optional walk to explore Matala’s red beach (accessible only on foot).
Visit the palaces of the Minoans, stroll through picturesque seaside villages, and see the evocative ruins of Phaistos. Learn the early mythology of King Minos and the Minoans, and feel the ruins of ancient cities come to life in the company of our guides - all of whom are expert. Please email us for pricing.
Note: this is a private tour and can be modified according to your interests and preferences
“Wonderful tour of the Villages of Crete, Greece by Joseph Batis”Joseph Batis truly showed us the secrets of Crete, Greece. We went to villages and were a part of the daily life of Crete, visited small museums with vibrant histories, had an unexpected surprise stop where we attended a greek celebration on holy spirit day..
You WILL learn secrets of Crete! How many ways can you prepare Greek Coffee? Are dark olives and green olives different varieties? Why is the sea called Aegean? You will find out these and 100's more amazing facts if you hire Secrets of Crete...
יוסי מסיורים בכרתים ויוון, הוא מדריך.... מקצוען, בעל יידע נרחב איש לבבי וסימפטי, טיילנו בשנה שעברה... היה פשוט מדהים כיף... כיף... כיף... ממליץ בחום למי שמגיע לכרתים ויוון להשתמש בשרותיו המעולים. תודה יוסי על הסיורים ,האוכל, הטברנות, היה תענוג גדול ! ! ! מאתנו: אורי אילש, אלי גנט, יגאל גרינשטיין, נטלי גרינשטיין, אור גרינשטיין
“Fantastic and memorable day with Joseph”Joseph is a pleasure to spend time with. He is educated, knowledgeable, extremely well-traveled, articulate in at least 5 languages, personable and also has a lovely sense of humor. Most importantly he has an honest love of Crete that comes through his tours.
"Secrets of Crete" provides a fascinating Private Tour My husband and I had the good fortune to have spent the day with Joseph Batis, who has tours exploring some of the lesser known parts of Crete, Greece. In our correspondence with him prior to the day we had available, he customized the itinerary to fit our specific requests.
"Great way to discover Crete off the beaten track" Joseph from Secrets of Crete organised a brilliant tour in the mountains of central Crete today, going off the beaten track to very atmospheric small roads and old villages where we saw no other tourists, only locals.