Matala Beach in Crete
You can come in Matala beach by taking the road to Mires and then follow the signs. You could also combine your visit to Matala with a visit to Phaistos. There are also regular buses from Heraklion.The caves in Matala Beach The most characteristic feature of the area, are the many caves carved in soft white stone thousands of years ago and located in the northwest of the beach. There are also several caves underwater. It is considered as certain that the caves of Matala beach were tombs of Roman and Christian Period. However, many of them have rooms, stairs, beds or windows. This is a fact that proves that the caves were used as accommodation in the prehistoric times. In these caves of Matala beach in Crete, the hippies found their paradise in the 60s and 70s. Thousands of them were gathered to express their ideas freely, to enjoy love and create. The trademark of the hippies was the two fingers of victory, accompanied by the words «Peace Man». At this period, there was absolutely nothing around, but the small fishing village of Pitsidia, so the sense of freedom was unlimited. Matala beach became so popular with hippies that attracted celebrities such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez and Cat Stevens. However, all this stopped abruptly during the Junta in Greece, when the Bishop of Gortyna expelled hippies. Then they were scattered in other parts of Crete (Preveli, Plakias, Lendas, Vai), but most went to Ios island, continuing their free life. Matala then were proclaimed by Archaeology as a protected area. In recent decades, the area has grown rapidly and does not resemble anything in the atmosphere of that time. Today you will see thousands of people enjoying a swim at the beach and many to reminisce about past times. The caves can be visited free of charge, but the accommodation in them is forbidden.
Things that are worth to see in Matala Along the coast there are other caves, natural, which are accessible by boat. Also, in the surrounding area, many archaeological finds and wrecks have been found. According to the myth, the cape south of Matala is the point where the ships of Menelaos (Odyssey) wrecked. Southeast of the village, are the ruins of an ancient temple, and near the beach, there is a marble urn. As it is known, Matala were the seaport of Phaistos and Gortyn. Ruins of the ancient city have been found in the sea, but also palaces for the nobles have been identified nearby. Also on the other side of the village, on the hill Kastri, you will see the ruins of a fortress, called Koules. Finally, the old church of Virgin Mary emerges through the rocks, and was used as a catacomb during the Christian persecutions. This entire heritage has helped to integrate the surrounding area in the Natura 2000 program. article by creti.co