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Locals mainly know Matala for its annual music festival. But, everyone knows Matala for its recent history as home to the hippies in the 60’s. Sadly, they were driven out by the church and military junta back in those days. Maintaining this air though, the seaside village of Matala is buzzing with chilled vibes even today!
Matala is very easily accessed by road, driving directly from the North coast to the South, the 66km take approx. an hour’s drive from Heraklion city. Taking a bus would take you approx. two and a half hours so be sure to rent a car in Heraklion!
While most people visit for the beach, be sure make a quick pit stop by Petra at the Church of Our Lady. It can be easily overlooked as it is a tiny chapel, carved into the cliff in Venetian times which houses beautiful icons and a carved iconostasis.
The bay in Matala is ideal for swimming – as long as there are no strong winds – and the sunsets there cannot be beaten. There are also amazing spots to cliff dive from (for the thrill seekers) and feel free to venture into the Neolithic caves adorning the area. Theories suggest these could have been used in the past as tombs and/or living spaces over the years. There are plenty of taverns, rooms to rent and shops for souvenirs with a ‘must’ being MoozArt: a quaint wood art workshop for that special gift to take home.
Matala also holds historical value as it is said in mythology that when Zeus seduced princess Europa, he crossed the sea and brought her to Matala before traveling to Gortys. If looking to explore history and archaeology a little further, visiting Gortyna and Phaistos are highly suggested Minoan sites nearby. Once again, having a car to do so, is ideal! That’s why we suggest you look into car hire in Crete and Apex Car Rental services may just be the best car hire for you!
We provide you Premium Insurance, with NO EXCESS & NO RISK ( FDW + CDW ), so you don’t have to worry for nothing! 24 hours road assistance is included in the unlikely event of a breakdown.