Matala Beach is famous for its splendid beauty and exciting caves. Matala is a vibrant village located 75 km southwest of Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Matala boasts a village full of a hippie vibe from its colourful murals, street art, and famous Matala Beach. Matala Beach is one of the most lovely beaches on the island of Crete. According to Greek Mythology, it is on Matala Beach where Zeus swam ashore in disguise as a bull while carrying Europa on its back. Matala Beach is a sandy and pebble beach with crystal clear water. Several water sports are available at the beach, where numerous establishments offer the opportunity to practise some water sports. These water sports include riding jet skis, pedal boats, and snorkelling, to name a few. Inside the village of Matala There are various little shops, studios, taverns, small hotels, small pensions, and a campsite inside the village of Matala. Matala Beach is 250 M long and 45 M wide. It is famous for the carved caves in the rocks and hippies of the ‘70s. During the Roman and Christian period, it was believed that caves were used as burial tombs. Matala was once used as the port of Festos during the Minoan civilization and as the port of Gortyna during Roman rule. The collection of Caves at Matala Beach is carved into the soft white limestone at the north end of the beach. Most of the caves have separate rooms, windows, and stairways, displaying that they were used as living quarters.
Matala Beach was made known to the world because of the hippies of the ‘60s and the ‘70s. Even famous artists visited the area. Currently, every month of June, a three-day festival is held in Matala Beach, known as the Matala Music Festival. Matala is now a thriving tourist destination, with the locals mainly relying on tourism. The village of Matala has several great places for families, solo travellers, couples, and people from all walks of life. However, there are still no big fancy resorts in the area. Matala is ideal for people who love quiet and peace. The best time to visit Matala is in the months of March to December, when the weather is warm. People who want to avoid bigger crowds must visit in the November to March low season. Tourism is very prominent on the island of Crete, and Matala is swiftly becoming a popular destination. In 2021, overall, inbound air arrivals on Crete totalled roughly 2.8 million.
What is Matala?
Matala is a laid-back village full of colourful shops and alleys. Matala is 75 km south-west of Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Matala village is full of murals, street art and vibrant buildings. The village of Matala features a fascinating history and a gorgeous beach. Matala Beach is a mixture of sand and a pebbled beach. Matala Beach is 250 M long and 45 M wide. According to Greek Mythology, it is on Matala Beach where Zeus swam ashore in disguise as a bull while carrying Europa on its back. One of the unique characterizations of Matala Beach is its famous caves. Long before the arrival of the “Hippies’ in the area, the caves hosted the civilizations of prehistory. It was believed that caves were used as burial tombs during the Roman and Christian period. Matala was once used as the port of Festos during the Minoan civilization and as the port of Gortyna during Roman rule. In most recent history, Matala Beach was made known to the world because of the hippies of the ‘60s and the ‘70s. Even famous artists visited the area. Currently, every month of June, a three-day festival is held in Matala Beach, known as the Matala Music Festival.
Where is Matala located?
Matala is a village 75 km southwest of Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Matala is within the community of Pitsidia in the municipal unit of Tympaki, Faustos municipality, Heraklion regional unit. The latitude of Matala is 35° 00′ 0.00” N, and its longitude is 24° 44′ 59.99” E. Matala is just a one-hour drive from Heraklion. It is 1 hour and a half from Malia, two hours from Elounda, and 2 and a half hours away from Chania.
How does the Matala Map look?
Below is an image of the Matala map.
What are the activities in Matala?
There’s a lot to explore and things to do in Matala. Starting off with the beach and then a visit to the village. The Matala Beach features sand mixed with pebbles. Its water is crystal clear, with a bottom that slopes gently. Strong waves arrive sometimes. People who love diving must head on to the north coast, where mostly some divers and diving enthusiasts are present. Several water sports are available at the beach, where numerous establishments offer the opportunity to practise some water sports. These water sports include riding jet skis, pedal boats, and snorkelling, to name a few. Inside the village of Matala There are various little shops, studios, taverns, small hotels, small pensions, and a campsite inside the village of Matala. One will never get bored when in Matala; it has a lot to offer, especially to its visitors. Visitors who visit during the month of June will be delighted to witness the Matala Beach Festival. People who love music and dancing will indeed enjoy the event.
What festival is celebrated in Matala?
One of the most celebrated festivals in Matala is the Matala Beach Festival. The Matala Beach Festival, is among the major free music festivals in Europe, on the renowned Matala Beach. The Matala Beach festival was organised to keep the myth of Matala alive. It is an eccentric festival on the sandy beach near the caves made famous during the hippie era of the ’60s and the ‘70s. Matala gained attention in the early ‘70s when Joni Mitchell released an album called “Blue,” which narrates the artist’s escapades and daily life in the caves with some young travellers. The Matala Beach Festival is a three-day event featuring well-known Greek and international artists. For three days, the crowd will be treated to endless singing and dancing at the beach. The festival’s history starts in the mid-’60s in a seaside village in Southern Crete. Young people came to Matala Beach searching for peace, equality, and freedom. People from all over the world began to arrive. Matala and its caves were flooded with young people, and they converted the caves into their homes. Matala was filled with dancing and singing, and these elements were the usual daily life of the “hippies”. Five decades later, the group of the Cultural Association Pitsidia-Matala, together with Faistos Municipality, created an instruction to revive the life of the “flower children”.
The Matala Beach festival is returning in 2023. After a three-year break ’cause of the pandemic, the festival’s 10th edition is set to be a massive celebration of culture, fun, and happiness in one of the most amazing heritage spots on the planet – the incredible Matala Caves & Beach. The theme for 2023 is all about celebrating the festival’s anniversary, and you can bet it’s gonna be a mind-blowing experience filled with loads of cool and entertaining activities. So, mark your calendars for June 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2023!
Oh, and there’s more! The super-colorful Matala Street Painting event is happening a week earlier this year, on June 18th. It’s gonna bring all the colors and joy back to Matala like never before. And since it’s the 10th anniversary of the festival, it’s an awesome reminder that southern Crete is the place to be when it comes.
When is the best time to visit Matala?
Like most of Crete, Matala enjoys a very mild climate all year round. The best time to visit Matala is in the months of March to December. The weather in Matala is nice during those months. Matala’s warm months are June, July, August, and September. Matala has dry periods in June, July, and August. The chilly months are January and February. Matala Beach tends to get busy and cramped in July and August. The perfect time to visit is in the low season of November to March. For music lovers and hippies, visiting during June is perfect. Locals and foreign visitors gathered around Matala Beach for the Matala Music Festival. It is a three-day festival held at Matala beach in the month of June.
How was the preservation of Matala?
Matala Beach falls under Natura 2000 protection, a European Union network of nature protection areas created to ensure the long-term survival of some of Europe’s most valuable species and habitats. Matala is among the 400 beaches in Greece awarded a Blue Flag. A Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label for beaches that are clean, and safe, and practise strict rules when it comes to dealing with water standards, environmental care, and safety. The caves at Matala beach are now a protected area and are currently not inhabited, and caving is forbidden. A fence secures access to the caves, and the archaeological services take care of the area. Visitors are still allowed to visit, but an admission fee must be paid.
How do you get to Matala?
Matala is just a one-hour drive from Heraklion. It is 1 hour and a half from Malia, two hours from Elounda, and 2 and a half hours away from Chania. Most visitors to Crete prefer to travel using a rented car for convenience. Several rental car companies are located in Matala. Near the beach area, there are many parking spaces. If a visitor decides to get to Matala Beach by bus, the fee is €7.80 each way for 2 hours from Heraklion.
What are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete?
Listed below are the factors to consider before renting a car in Crete.
- Insurance: Car rental insurance is essential, as it protects a passenger against the cost of damage when renting a car. Crete car rental includes insurance for collision damage waiver, and a driver’s credit card is required as a guarantee.
- Driver’s age: The legal age requirement when driving in Crete is 18 years old. The driver must have a valid driving licence and essential documents like an ID or passport.
- Driver’s gender: Women and men are permitted to drive in Crete. As long as the driver is of the legal age of 18, driving is permitted in Crete, regardless of gender.
- Car type: Travelling with groups or family members requires a much bigger car. Car rental companies in Crete offer a variety of cars to choose from. Selecting a smaller car is best when driving in Crete. The reason for that is that some Greek roads are narrow. Travellers must learn how to choose the right car to rent in Crete to have a comfortable driving experience.
- Documents needed for renting a car: One important document needed for renting a vehicle is a valid driving licence. However, a credit or debit card may be presented as well, including a passport or an ID card.
How much does a car rental in Crete cost?
The island of Crete is best travelled using a rented vehicle. Visitors get faster to Crete’s top destinations using a rented car. Crete car rental costs vary depending on the number of persons, itinerary, car type, destination, and duration. The average cost of renting a car in Crete is around €30 to €40 per day. A car rented for a whole week will cost an average of €250. Renting a vehicle for the weekend will cost around €78. Crete car rental rates differ depending on the car type. Car rental companies offer a variety of cars depending on customers’ liking. Most car rental shops in Crete offer an online booking system, whenever customers want to book a car. Simply follow the process and instantly book a vehicle on their website. Before availing of a rental car service in Crete, check and secure all the requirements.
How much does it cost to get to Matala?
Matala Beach is the finest place to speed a day and explore its famous caves. The enticing view attracts many tourists, and the caves are worth visiting. There is no entrance fee at Matala beach. However, visitors must pay a small amount of €4 to access the caves. Entry fees for EU citizens under 25 are free, and senior citizens have discounts. Caves are open from 10 am to 7 pm. Overnight is not allowed in caves. The parking fee is €3 a day, and there is no hourly fee. EU citizens under 25 are free of charge.
Where to stay near Matala?
Matala is a little seaside village that provides various accommodations for visitors. One of the top hotels to stay at Matala is the Thalasso Resort, a small complex that features two beautiful brand-new apartments by the sea. Thalasso Resort is an excellent choice to stay near the beach. The place is in the centre of the village, with tavernas, and shops just a few steps away from the front door. Thalasso Resort features plenty of balconies with majestic scenery, perfect for an early breakfast or a late glass of wine. The place has a fully-equipped kitchen where guests have the freedom to cook meals. Another splendid choice of place to stay is the Matala Luxury Apartments. These luxury flats are in the heart of the village, near restaurants, shops, and bars. Matala Luxury Apartments features comfortable beds, a nice shower, and roof terraces with gorgeous views. Included on the list is the Nikkon Summer Home. It is an ideal place for families. Nikkon Summer Home has two bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kitchen with a dishwasher, a fridge, a washing machine, and two bathrooms. Among the best hotels near Matala is the Nikos Hotel. Nikos Hotel is one of the most traditional hotels in the village. The place is quiet and ideal for families. It has simple rooms that offer necessities for a comfortable stay. Its location is very near the beach of Matala.
Is Matala safe?
Yes, Matala is a safe place to visit. Matala and Crete, in general, have a very low crime rate. The Matala Beach itself is equipped with typical infrastructure and is an organised beach. It has sunbeds, umbrellas, toilets, showers, and a lifeguard on duty.
Are children permitted at the Matala?
Yes, children of any age are permitted at Matala. Matala Beach is among the best beaches in Crete that offers comfort, relaxation, and unique beauty. The village of Matala has several great places for families, solo travellers, couples, and people from all walks of life. However, there are still no big fancy resorts in the area. Matala is ideal for people who love quiet and peace. Matala Beach, compared to other famous beaches in Crete, does not have big resorts, so it is not ultimately crowded except during the Matala Music Festival.