Matala is located in the southern part of Crete in Bay of Messara, near the Minoan palace of Phaistos, about 71 km away from Heraklion Town. Driving to Matala you can follow two paths: From Heraklion follow the road to Moires and then the exit to Pitsidia- Matala, otherwise for those who want to visit the summer palace of Phaistos you can cross Moires reaching the Tympaki village, following the sign for the Phaistos Palace and then head to Pitsidia-Matala. You will need about 1 hour by car to reach this area.
Matala is a small seaside village with a natural harbor, where marine trades were taking place to the palace of Phaistos and Knossos in the period that the Minoan civilization flourished. The local people were mainly occupied in fishing. On the coast there are artificial caves used as tombs in the Roman period. The area, which is designated as archaeological zone, is accessible, visitable and prohibited to stay inside the caves. This landscape attracted the attention of hippies, where in 70s the village was filled with them. Children of Flowers, as they called themselves, used to live in the caves, enjoying the nature, and had another culture of life. They were expressing their opposition to violence and war. Some of the famous artists who had this perception and lived that period with the hippies were Bob Dylan, the Janis Joplin and Cat Stevens. The hippie lifestyle were very misunderstood those years so that, the time of the Junta in Greece, the Metropolitan Gortyna ordered the persecution of hippies from Matala.
Matala is an area full of natural beauties. It has a lovely natural sandy beach called the “Golden Beach” near to the caves. Some of them are inside the sea and they are clearly visible because of the clear waters. Discover the unique “red beach” which got its name from the red sand. Walk through the narrow streets of the village, enjoy your coffee in the traditional café and taste the local cuisine. You will find many handmade souvenirs for your gifts.
The nightlife in Matala is quiet, but there are too many bars to enjoy your drink next to the sea. For those who have been lucky enough to be in Matala in the middle of July, you will have the opportunity to attend the festival of hippies, which takes place every year in that period, and hippies from all over the world are gathered.
Visit the Church of Virgin Mary at the begging of the village, one of the oldest churches in the area, where drinking water passes. Near the village is the summer palace of Phaistos. Admire and walk into the Minoan civilization, discover the summer palace of Holy Trinity, the antiquities of Gortyn and the famous cave “Vroutospilia” where is said, that King Brutus had lived. Walk through the Agiofarago which ends up in a magnificent but not very famous beach.