Matala Beach

Matala Beach: Where History, Nature, and Culture Converge

Matala Beach, located on the entrancing island of Crete’s southern coast, is a captivating witness to the harmonic marriage of natural wonder and cultural significance. Matala Beach, known for its magnificent beachfront, distinctive rock formations, and historical significance, provides a diverse and enriching experience for guests seeking both rest and discovery. While many pieces will focus on the beach’s beauty and its connection to hippie culture in the 1960s, I will also discuss its geological significance and impact on the local people. Finally, my unique conclusion will provide a new viewpoint on the beach.

Matala Beach

A Beach of Myth and History

Matala Beach is home to an incredible geological formation called the Matala Caves, which were formed over millions of years by the erosion of the soft sandstone cliffs.

The region has a unique history that dates back to ancient times, when it was a shelter for seafarers and traders.

Its distinctive rock-cut caves, initially carved as tombs by the Romans, have seen different transformations throughout the years, from a place of burial to a hippie commune in the 1960s.

These caves combine to provide an alien environment that is both mysterious and breathtaking.

Matala Beach: Inside a cave
Matala Beach: Inside a cave
Matala Beach: Tombs
Matala Beach: Tombs

Matala Beach is historically significant as well as geologically significant.

The location was previously a prosperous harbor for Gortyn, which was one of Crete’s most important cities during the Roman Empire.

Many of the city’s ruins may still be visible today, and they played an essential part in the spread of Christianity in Crete.

Many sought refuge in their cavities, trying to escape the Christian hunt the Romans did.

During the hippie period, the Matala Caves, which previously housed ancient tombs, became a symbol of counterculture.

They now serve as a historical reminder of the different events that shaped Matala’s identity.

Walking into these caves is like traveling back in time, following in the footsteps of individuals who sought refuge and inspiration in this extraordinary location.


Golden Sands and Azure Waters

The beach itself features golden sands that stretch along the coast, enticing guests to spread out their towels and soak up the Mediterranean sun.

The sea’s blue waters softly lap the shore, providing a welcome reprieve for visitors seeking a dip in its crystalline embrace.

The village of Matala itself exudes a charming, laid-back atmosphere.

With its quaint streets, traditional tavernas, and local shops, it provides a welcoming ambiance for visitors to explore.

The blend of modern amenities and the timeless allure of the village make it an ideal base for your Matala adventure.

Nature's Beauty & Captivating Sunsets

Matala, in addition to the beach and caves, provides possibilities for nature lovers to explore the surroundings.

The area is densely forested, with hiking routes leading to panoramic overlooks and secret coves, offering a unique perspective of Crete’s coastal splendor.

The closest destination you could explore is Kokkini Ammos Beach, which means red sand. Kokkini Ammos has scarlet sands and beautiful blue waters like Matala.

As the day draws to a close, Matala’s guests are treated to breathtaking sunsets that create a warm, golden glow over the sea and cliffs.

It’s a lovely time to sit on the beach, unwind, and watch the day turn to night.

Events & Culture

Matala’s coastlines are filled with the wonderful sounds of music throughout the year, as the town organizes a variety of music festivals and events.

The beach transforms into a stage where melodies combine with the sound of waves, from live performances by local musicians to international bands.

The Matala Beach Festival, in particular, draws music fans from all over the world, providing memorable experiences under the open sky.

Scala Premium Sea food Bar at Matala Beach
Scala Premium Sea food Bar at Matala Beach

Embrace the Culinary Delights

The culture of Matala extends to its food scene, where traditional Greek flavors blend with new gastronomic trends. The town’s restaurants serve excellent cuisine that highlights the island’s wealth.

Food festivals and events highlight Crete’s rich culinary legacy, inviting tourists to sample local delicacies and interact with the island’s gastronomic traditions.

Savour traditional Greek cuisine in local tavernas to immerse yourself in the tastes of Crete. Fresh fish, olive oil, and locally grown products combine to offer a gastronomic experience that rivals the surroundings.

One of the restaurants that we highly recommend is called “Scala Fish Bar Restaurant”.


Sunbathing & Swimming
Snorkeling & Paddleboarding
Matala Beach Festivals
Hippie Culture Exploration
Exploring Nearby Destinations
Hiking and Nature Walks
Beachfront Restaurants
Art Galleries and Workshops
Matala Open-Air Market

We are pro life with caution!

Matala Beach is definitely a special place and it’s natural terrain provides many activities!

Some of them, though, are dangerous, especially when we do them in extreme conditions. One of them is cliff diving.

We agree that it is a great experience and worth trying, but we advise caution and definitely there is no reason to jump from a great height!

Matala Beach: Cliff Diving

How to Get There

You can rent a car or take a bus from Heraklion to Matala Beach. The trip takes around 1 hour by car or two hours by bus from the main Heraklion bus Terminal. Please keep in mind the timetables so can time your excursion better because they heavily vary depending the season. Also in high season it is advisable to reserve a seat in advance since there might not find one.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, the journey to Matala Beach is a delightful prelude to the stunning coastal views, ancient caves, and vibrant culture that await you upon arrival.


Ultimately, what makes Matala Beach truly special is its ability to captivate visitors and transport them to a different time and place. Whether you come for the history, the natural beauty, or simply to soak up the sun and relax, Matala Beach is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Timing is key!
Matala Beach is one of the most iconic destinations in the Heraklion region. The beach might be crowded, but you should plan ahead for the trip there itself. It is advisable to reserve a ticket in advance, especially in high season.
Sun Protection & Gear!
The Cretan sun can be intense. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a beach umbrella to stay protected while enjoying the sun. The crystal-clear waters of Matala offer a perfect opportunity for snorkeling. Pack your own snorkeling gear to explore the underwater world and encounter marine life.
Comfortable Footwear!
While the beach is sandy, there might be rocky areas or pebbles. Bring comfortable beach shoes for easy access to the water and to explore the coastline and the cave specifically.
Enjoy Matala's Open- Market!
Experience the vibrant local life by visiting the open-air market. Browse through stalls laden with fresh produce, handmade crafts, souvenirs, and more.Bring cash, as some beach services and local shops might not accept cards.
Matala Beach Festival!
If you're visiting in June, don't miss the Matala Beach Festival. Enjoy live music performances, dance to the rhythm of diverse genres, and experience the vibrant energy of the event under the starlit sky. You should make a reservation in order to spend the night there.
Take in the Sunset!
Stay till late afternoon to experience the stunning sunset. The changing colors of the sky over the sea create a magical atmosphere that's perfect for capturing memories.
Respect the Environment!
Matala's natural beauty is a treasure to preserve. Dispose of your trash properly and participate in any beach cleanup initiatives to contribute to its preservation.

Destinations near matala

More options for nearby locations to plan your vacations better!


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