Matala

MyCretaCab - Matala

Distance from Heraklion: 66 km

Distance from Chania: 136 km

Best time to visit: May – September

Activities: Matala beach festival, sports facilities, activities for children

Website: matalabeachfestival.org


Matala is a small coastal village in southern Crete and certainly the most popular beach in the prefecture of Heraklion, just 68 km southwest of the city. The special feature of the beach is none other than the cliff-side carved caves on the coast, once allegedly used as tombs, although some of them have rooms and windows. According to legend, Zeus swam off into the sea as a bull with Europa on its back until he arrived at the shore.

Although lots of pages of history have been made in Matala, no one can say for sure who built the caves. At the early 20th century, these caves became a haven for dozens of “flower children” from all over the world. Wishing to isolate themselves from the rest of the world, the hippies chose Matala to live like the first humans and become deified.

So every summer, time rolls back to a great 3-day music festival. For three days and nights, the beach of Matala turns into a large music scene featuring famous Greek and international artists, while creative activities are planned throughout the festival. Under the slogan “Today is life. Tomorrow never comes”, the festival of Matala has been organized since 2011 and is an attraction for thousands of young and old alike. Although Matala has become a popular destination, it still retains the allure and nature of a quiet fishing village. Matala is one of the 400 beaches in Greece that has been awarded the Blue Flag, which is given to beaches that meet all the stringent criteria in water quality and environmental management.

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