Matala Hippies Beach
Discovering the Enchanting Village of Matala: A Hidden Gem on the Shores of Crete
Tucked away on the southern coast of the captivating island of Crete lies the picturesque village of Matala. Known for its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and intriguing historical significance, Matala offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. From its breathtaking beaches to its ancient caves, Matala is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.
A Coastal Paradise
Matala is renowned for its remarkable coastline, which boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Crete. The main beach, aptly named Matala Beach, stretches in a gentle curve and is characterized by its golden sand and shallow turquoise waters. Sun-seekers can bask in the warm Mediterranean sun or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear sea.
For those seeking a quieter and more secluded spot, Red Beach and Kommos Beach are nearby alternatives. Red Beach, named after its distinctive reddish sand, is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and offers a more rugged and unspoiled atmosphere. Kommos Beach, on the other hand, is known for its expansive stretch of sand and its status as a protected nesting site for loggerhead sea turtles.
The Mystical Caves of Matala
Matala's most iconic feature is its ancient caves, which have attracted visitors for centuries. These man-made caves were originally carved out of the cliffs as tombs during the Roman and early Christian periods. In the 1960s and 1970s, the caves gained further fame as they became a haven for hippies and bohemian travelers seeking a countercultural escape.
The vibrant atmosphere of the 1960s hippie era still lingers in Matala, and the caves continue to captivate visitors with their historical significance and mystical aura. Walking through the caves, visitors can imagine the ancient civilizations that once inhabited these dwellings and appreciate the bohemian spirit that once thrived in this enchanting village.
The Village and Local Culture
Beyond its natural wonders, Matala village itself exudes a laid-back and welcoming ambiance. The village is adorned with colorful houses, quaint tavernas, and charming shops, where visitors can browse local handicrafts and sample delicious Cretan cuisine.
Matala also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing visitors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local traditions and customs. From music concerts to art exhibitions, these events showcase the vibrant cultural scene and artistic talent of the village.
Exploring the Surrounding Area
While Matala itself offers a wealth of attractions, the village also serves as a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. Just a short distance away lies the ancient city of Phaistos, an archaeological site of great historical importance. Phaistos was once one of the most significant centers of the Minoan civilization and is home to a well-preserved palace and a fascinating array of ruins.
Nature enthusiasts can venture into the nearby Agiofarago Gorge, a breathtaking natural wonder that offers hiking opportunities amidst stunning rock formations and hidden beaches. The gorge is also home to a small church, Agiofarago Monastery, which adds a touch of serenity to the awe-inspiring surroundings.
Getting to Matala
Matala is easily accessible by both car and public transportation. The village is approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Heraklion, the capital of Crete, and can be reached by a scenic coastal drive. Alternatively, regular bus services operate between Heraklion and Matala, making it convenient for those without a vehicle.
Visiting Matala promises a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you are captivated by its stunning beaches, intrigued by its ancient