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Matala beach

Beach description

The beach of Matala is situated 68km southwest of Heraklion, where the Messara plain and Asteroussia Mountains intersect. It is one of the most frequented tourist spots in Crete and the most well-known beach in the southern region of the Heraklion prefecture. Matala is notable for its rock-carved caves and its association with the hippie culture of the 1970s. It lies in close proximity to Phaestus, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization, having once served as its port. During the era of the Romans, Matala transformed into a port for Gortyn.

Nestled at the end of a small valley, Matala overlooks an enclosed bay with a picturesque view of the Paximadia islands. The beach spans 300m and features beautiful sandy shores, fine gravel, and crystal-clear deep waters. However, parts of the seabed, particularly the central area, are quite rocky and waves are common due to frequent westerly winds. A large cave can be found on the northern part of the beach, from which some thrill-seekers dive.

Matala beach is well-equipped with amenities such as umbrellas, restrooms, showers, lifeguards, first aid facilities, beach volleyball courts, snack bars, water sports, excursion boats, and a camping site. The surrounding area of Matala offers a range of accommodation, dining, and entertainment options. The beach is largely shaded by tamarisk trees, providing a respite from the sun. Come evening, the beach bars are brimming with people, both locals and tourists. The internationally acclaimed Matala Festival draws large crowds every June.