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Visit this ancient Greek city where over 5,000 years of history have been discovered by archaeologists.

Stand in front of the ancient wall of Gortyna to see engravings of the city’s laws. Visit the ruins of the acropolis and marvel at the statues, columns and monuments that have been discovered here after thousands of years. Learn about the city’s role in Greek mythology and visit the famous plane tree under which Zeus is said to have had one of his many affairs. Don’t miss the church of St. Titus, a testament to the Christian era of Gortyna.

At 1.5 square miles (4 square kilometers), Gortyna is the largest archaeological site in Crete and one of the most important in all of Greece. Historians have estimated the earliest occupation of the area at about 3000 B.C. Evidence shows that by 1600 B.C. this was a thriving Minoan community. With the first major archaeological discoveries made here in 1884, Gortyna has been an important site for archaeologists for over 100 years.

Make a visit to the wall inscribed with the Gortyna code a priority. This is one of the oldest known examples of a written Greek law code. Examine the characters carved into the stone thousands of years ago. You can still make out the letters in most places. More than 600 total lines of code are written over the 12 columns.

Once you’ve seen the wall, move to the ruins of the acropolis, where several fragments of statues and columns have been uncovered. Gortyna has over 1,500 relics such as this, making it one of the most densely decorated archaeological sites in Greece.

Don’t miss the plane tree under which the Greek god Zeus and princess Europa had their mythological affair. Be sure to visit the Byzantine church of St. Titus. Gortyna was one of the first Greek cities to convert to Christianity and it remained Christian until the 9th century.

Gortyna is located 27 miles (45 kilometers) south of Heraklion in the Messara Plain. The site is open to tourists year-round, except for holidays, and contains a modern visitor center with a café and gift shop. There is a small charge for entry.

Top Hotels in Gortyna

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Amazing Stone villa
Amazing Stone villa
3 out of 5
Vasiliki, Gortyna

Situated in Gortyna, this vacation home is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Canyon Saint Sava and within 9 mi (15 km) of Trypiti Beach and Gortys. Museum of Messara and ...

5/5Exceptional! (5 reviews)

"Being part of the Koumasa excavation team, we stayed in Vasiliki for three nights. It was our first time at the Amazing Stone Villa, undoubtedly to be followed by many others. We got a three-room apartment with two double bedrooms and a living room / kitchen. Yiannis and Mary were very accomodating, ..."…"

Reviewed on Aug 21, 2019

Amazing Stone villa
4 out of 5
Kapetaniana, Gortyna, Crete Island

Located on the beach, this family-friendly aparthotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Trypiti Beach, Elygiá, and Katárti. Lepriás and Canyon Saint Sava are also within ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (21 reviews)

"Thalori is incredible - the best part of our trip to Crete. It's very peaceful and far from nearby towns, so if you're a fan of places like Matala, you probably will not enjoy Thalori. We did not try their activities, but spent our time gazing at the mountains and stars, reading, and listening to ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 12, 2019

Mythos Suites Diskos
Mythos Suites Diskos
2 out of 5
Diskos, Lentas, Gortyna, Crete

Situated in Gortyna, this beach guesthouse is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Mediterranean Sea and within 6 mi (10 km) of Trafoulás and Trypiti Beach. Kókkines Plákes ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (10 reviews)

"Familienapartmet Nr. 8 ( 2 Schlafzimmer mit besten Betten und great room sevices) inklusive Badezimmer und Terrasse top! Taverna MYTHOS bietet die beste Küche, die wir in 20 Jahren auf Kreta gefunden habe! Gerne wieder! - Küchenaustattung könnte etwas „gehobener“ sein - keine Mikrowelle, kein Toaster, ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 3, 2019

Mythos Suites Diskos

Popular places to visit in Gortyna

Heraklion Port
Image for Heraklion Port

Heraklion Port

4.5/5(139 reviews)

Spend an afternoon wandering around this ancient harbor and admiring the fortress and ancient walls or take a trip to one of the nearby islands.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Image for Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

4.5/5(100 reviews)

One of Europe’s most important museums has five millennia of Cretan history on display, including the exceptional Minoan exhibit.

Palace of Knossos
Image for Palace of Knossos

Palace of Knossos

4.5/5(126 reviews)

Take a tour around one of Europe’s most spectacular archaeological sites, where Greek myths have been made and great treasures discovered.

Historical Museum of Crete
Image for Historical Museum of Crete

Historical Museum of Crete

4.5/5(48 reviews)

Trace the history of this ancient town through its numerous periods and discover traditional art and fascinating stories.

Beach of Matala
Image for Beach of Matala

Beach of Matala

4.5/5(7 reviews)

Why not spend a carefree afternoon at Beach of Matala during your travels in Matala? Stroll along the seaside or discover the area's countryside.

Natural History Museum of Crete
Image for Natural History Museum of Crete

Natural History Museum of Crete

4.5/5(33 reviews)

Don’t miss the chance to learn about Crete’s unique natural environment at this excellent modern museum.

Cities near Gortyna

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Heraklion featuring a city, heritage architecture and religious elements


Crete Island featuring general coastal views


Ammoudara showing general coastal views