Lato was one of the most important Doric city-states of Crete; its port was at Kamara, on the site of the present-day town of Agios Nikolaos. It was built on a mountainous spot, 3 kilometres north of the village of Kritsa, at the north-east foot of Mount Dikti. Its privileged, naturally secure location was considered ideal, since it facilitated the control of the pass from Central to Eastern Crete, the whole surrounding area and a large part of the bay of Mirambello.
The territory of Lato included the current areas of Agios Nikolaos, Kritsa, Katharo plateau, Kalo Chorio and Prina. Cemeteries used by its residents, as well as smaller settlements and small fortresses, built for the control of the area, were to be found around the city.