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View of the Hippies caves and Matala beach
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Matala is situated 68 Km southwest of Heraklion. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Crete and certainly the most famous beach in southern Heraklion. It is synonymous with the carved caves of the hippies during the '70s. It is located near Phaistos, the second most important palace and port of the Minoans. A safe natural harbor in the gulf of Messara. According to mythology, Zeus swam ashore in the form of a bull with Europe on his back.
Many visitors make Matala their base for their holidays, as they are located in the southern part of Crete and at the same time far from the urban centers of the north coast. The beach is 250 meters long and 45 meters wide.
After a day at the beach or exploring the village you can sit and enjoy the sunset across the Libyan Sea, looking out towards the Paximadia Islands, while the wind will blow hot and sandy from Africa.
Matala is one of the 400 beaches in Greece and it has been awarded the blue flag. This 'ecological label' is given to beaches with strict criteria in water quality, environmental management and the safety of bathers. There are first aid facilities in the area, as well as toilets and showers.
The most famous attraction of the area is the carved caves in the soft white porolithos north of the beach, both above and below sea level. No one knows for sure who created the caves but it seems likely that they were built in Roman times or by the first Christians as Christian tombs. There are other archeological buildings, in the eastern part of the village, even in the sea where the clear waters of the bay will help you to distinguish them.
In the caves of Matala, hippies found their paradise in the 60s and 70s, when hundreds gathered to express themselves freely, to rejoice in love and to create.
The night is a starry dome
and they're playin' that scratchy rock and roll
beneath the Matala Moon
This is how Joni Mitchell 's song' Carey 'describes the sky in Matala.
When a large group of artists, among them Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, spent their days and nights under the Cretan sky, in the beautiful fishing village of Matala.
When the slogan was 'Peace Man', accompanied by the peace sign with both fingers.
Today Matala is no longer what it used to be in 1960 and the early 1970s. They are far from the small village where the hippies used to gather, who before coming here demonstrated in Woodstock. Today the children of flowers no longer live in Matala, but have given allowed to thousands of tourists from all over the world to come here and see a legendary place, to taste a bit of the charm of the past. The caves can be visited as an archeological site.
Since 2012, the 3-day MATALABEACHFESTIVAL festival has been organized every summer.
A journey through time with a lot of music and other events, the Matala beach festival starts next to the caves of Matala, at the edge of the sea, where dancing and fun will give a dynamic presence. Live concerts by famous bands, Greek and international music scene will take you to a three-day different, unique, that will surely be unforgettable.