Heading south from Knossos, the zone around Arhánes and Péza is one of Crete’s major wine-producing areas. Nearby are some more Minoan sites at Anemospiliá and Vathýpetro, plus a few diverting villages. The main inland route southwest from Iráklion climbs through the mountains before winding down to Áyii Dhéka and the Messará plain. Here on the Messará, all within a 40km range of each other, lie the three major archeological sites of Phaestos, Ayía Triádha and Gortys. Once you get this far south you’re within a short drive of the coastal resorts of Mátala and (accessed via a mountain road) Léndas.