Welcome to another article about Crete !
This article will be about Matala, an amazing place, one of the best know villages in Crete.
It was world famous in the 60’s, during that time Matala was a fishing village. In the 1960s,
the caves were occupied by hippies who were later driven out by the church
and the military junta.
Today Matala is heavily overbuilt and it relies on touristic activities.
You will find a lot of cafés, bars and restaurants just next to the sea.
How to Get to Matala
If you arrive at Heraklion airport you can rent a car and visit Matala. Matala is about 58 minutes
away from Heraklion airport, about 65 km. Another option is to arrange a transfer with your hotel, or to take the
If you arrive from Heraklion port the procedure is the same Is the same as from Heraklion airport
since the port and airport are not as far from each other.
From Chania Airport the distance to Matala is 140 km and it will
take approximately 2 hour and 20 minutes drive. From Rethymno Port the distance to Matala is 78 km
and by car it could take you up to 1 hour and 30 minutes drive.
Visiting Matala as a Tourist
Matala is a touristic place. It has a lot to offer like the famous Matala Caves, Komos Beach,
Red Sand Beach (kokkini ammos), kalamaki beach, agio farago, the palace of festos,
horsefarm Melanouri, Moni Odigitrias. Some of those places are in Matala others just a few
km away. Of course Matala has a lot of cafés, restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels and apartments.
But let’s explain them one by one.
Matala Cave is one of the most famous places in Crete.
The man-made caves carved out of the rock thousands of years ago in the steep cliffs that rise above the
north side of the bay and beach.
No-one is actually certain when the caves of Matala were made.
Current thinking is that they are Roman or Early Christian
tombs. They became famous during the 60’s when they were occupied by the hippies. Some years
later they were driven out by the church.
Matala’s hippie history relives during the 3 days Matala Beach Festival, every June.
Kommos is 1,5km away from Pitsidia, close to Matala and Phaistos. Kommos can be reached from the village of Pitsidia,
either by car (which is preferable) or on foot.
From Heraklion to Kommos beach. Kommos beach is about 65-70 kilometres from Heraklion. You have to take the road to Messara, Moires and Pitsidia. After Pitsidia there is a sign to Kommos.
To get to Kommos from Chania and Rethymnon, drive towards Agia Galini. Continue to Tymbaki, pass it and turn off towards Kamilari, continuing until you find the road to Matala.
Komos is also an archaeological site in Heraklion Prefecture. One of the most important ancient towns in Crete.
Komos is a very large sandy beach one of the biggest in Crete. If you visit Matala visiting Komos is a must
source inspiration: https://www.explorecrete.com/crete-east/EN-kommos-beach.html
Red Sand Beach (kokkini ammos)
This one is also a nudist beach. Just a few km away from Matala.
It is called red beach due to it’s sand the color of which is red.
It can’t be accessed by car. Either by boat or hiking
about 30 minutes from Matala.
Furthermore, there is a marine cave formed by the tall rocks that
surround the beach on the north side. Adventurous visitors can explore
the cave that can be reached by canoeing or even swimming.
Kalamaki beach is located in Kato Galatas just 7 km away from Matala right after the beach
of Komos. From Heraklion airport the distance is about 65 km, one hour drive. From Chania airport
the distance is 135km about 2h and 20 minutes drive.
It is an awarded beach with a blue flag. It’s length is about 620 meters.
It is a well organised beach with sunbeds, umbrellas, watersports and restaurants nearby.
It is a sandy beach with crystal clear water.
Agio Farago Beach
This one is not so close to Matala, but it’s beauty is beyond your wildest imaginations,
so we could not resist but recommend it. It is 21km away from Matala about 43 minute drive.
From Heraklion airport the distance is 75km about 1 hr 24 minutes drive. From chania airport
the distance is 148km about 3h drive. Agio Farago is called the gorge that leads to agio farago beach.
Crystal clear waters, sandy beach. Almost no waves due to the natural bay.
West of the beach is formed a beautiful arch, beneath which you can swim. Just above,
there are towering vertical cliffs, standing imposingly. Do not be surprised if you see an ascetic praying on the rocks.
If you climb the rocks on the east side of agio farago you will see a hidden treasure. Vourvouliotis
sea lake. It is a lake that communicates with the sea. A miracle of nature.
Source inspiration: https://creti.co/blog/agiofarago-beach-crete/
The palace of Festos
The Palace of Phaistos lies on the East end of Kastri hill at the end of the Mesara plain in Central Southern Crete.
To the north lies Psiloritis, the highest mountain in Crete.
It is likely that in the Early Minoan period small settlements were scattered over the hill on which the Palace later stood.
Dark on light pottery (Agios Onouphrios ware) has been found in the prepalatial levels on the hill,
but no Vasiliki ware from the Early Minoan II period has been found on the site.
The palace was inhabited from 4.000 B.C. The first palace was build in 2.000 B.C.
An ancient site that is worth the visit.
Melanouri is a horsefarm about 4.3 km, so 6 minutes from Matala.
They started with just 5 horses and now they have 10.
In addition there are goats, chicken, rabbits, cats and dogs on their farm.
If you enjoy the presence of animals and horse riding horsefarm Melanouri
is a place you have to visit.
The Holy Monastery of Odigitria is a male monastery, an old Stavropegian one,
offered on the western border of the Asterousia Mountains, in a fort.
Its access is at an altitude of 250 degrees and access to applications is possible
from the time of Siva Pyrgiotissis. For branching from Moires – Petrokefali – Siva or from
Phaistos – Agios Ioannis – Siva. Today it belongs to Pigaidakia.
Visiting Matala can bring you that hippie aura of the 60’s. A wonderful
place with a unique calmness in the air even when it is full of people and full
of cafés and bars.
Watch our video drive through from Pitsidia to Matala