Matala located 68 km south west of Heraklion, is one of the most popular destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of Heraklion. It is identified with the caves in the rocks, the hippies of the '70s. Located near Phaistos, the second most important palace of the Minoans, whose were port. Later on Romans, they became the port of Gortys.
Matala is located at the exit of a small valley, which formed a large enclosed bay overlooking the islands Paximadia. In front of the bay is a wonderful sandy beach 300 meters long, with fine pebbles and crystal clear deep waters. Also, the bottom has at some points plate and waves, due to the frequent westerly winds, is very large and impressive. Also on the north side of the beach, there is a large cave, on top of which, some very adventurous dive. The beach is organized with umbrellas, toilets, showers, lifeguard, first aid, golf beach volley, snack bars, water sports, excursion boats, etc. Often are organized and matches beach volley. All around you will find many options for entertainment and dining. Also, a very large part of the beach is covered by sea trees, where you can find shade. In the evenings, the bars of the beach filled with many people, locals and foreigners.
The caves of Matala
The most characteristic feature of the area are many caves carved in soft white porolitho thousands of years ago and located in the northwest of the beach. There are several underwater. It is considered certain that the caves of Matala were tombs of Roman and Christian Period. However, many of them have rooms, stairs, beds or windows, suggesting that prehistoric functioned as residences.
At Matala and in these caves found paradise the hippies in the 60s and 70s, when they gathered in their thousands to express themselves freely, to enjoy the love and create. The trademark of hippies were two fingers of victory, accompanied by the words «Peace Man». Then around there was absolutely nothing but a small fishing village of inhabitants Pitsidia, so the sense of freedom was unlimited.Matala became so popular Static hippies that attracted celebrities such as Joni Mitchell (and a song about Matala, the Carey), by Bob Dylan, the Janis Joplin, the Joan Baez and his Cat Stevens.
In recent decades, the area has developed rapidly and is not nowhere near the atmosphere of that time. Today you will see thousands of people enjoying a swim at the beach, and many to reminisce about past times. The caves can be visited for free, but the accommodation is forbidden to them.