Matala Beach

This page may contain affiliate links, see our disclaimer here.


Relaxed Groove

Matala Beach, Crete Greece (image by Mark Latter)

Matala Beach, Μάταλα on the south coast of Crete, 75 km from Heraklion is a beautiful popular beach. It is a picturesque cove, with unusual rock formations and interesting caves, located well inside the Bay of Messara, so protected and calm. Explore the surrounding Heraklion region.


The western end of Matala Beach with the caves and tamarisk treesThe western end of Matala Beach with the caves and tamarisk trees


Matala Beach

With a sand and pebble beach, clear clean waters and great tavernas, Matala deserves its popularity.

Many people make this village their base for Cretan holidays, as it is so central on the south coast, and away from the over-development of the north coast.

Today the beach at Matala is ringed by shops and tavernas, yet still has a camping ground and tamarisk trees right at the beach edge, which gives it a relaxed feel.

There are plenty of small hotels, rooms and domatia, but no large resorts in Matala.

Matala has a sand and pebble beach with caves in the sandstone headlandMatala has a sand and pebble beach with caves in the sandstone headland

I visited Matala beach in October and the water was still a perfect temperature for swimming. It is really worth taking your snorkelling gear as the waters of Messara Bay are very, very clear. There are ancient ruins to see under the water. 

The caves and the history here can take some time to learn, as with other destinations of Crete, there have been many pages of history here. The caves are now protected and managed as an archaeological site. There are other ruins at the eastern end of the village.

Matala is still balanced, even after its popularity and the hippies of the 60’s, it is not ruined. Still it is a very small development, with rustic elements, and even though it is really busy in summer, it maintains its character and charm.


Matala bay and caves with fishing boat (image by Mark Latter)

Fresh seafood is great here, shopping is good for organic wines, herbs and olive oil.

We like Matala for its cove and its relaxed groove. There is nothing like sitting back on one of the balconies overlooking the beach, watching the sunset over the Libyan Sea, gazing metaphorically over Africa.

Matala History - its fascinating history, the hippies in the sixties, the modern beach music festival and the beautiful Matala moon.

Matala Music Festival - a summer of music and wide open spaces.

How to get to Matala by bus and all about the Sea Turtle conservation projects...

Stay inland at Kamilari Village - experience countryside village life in Crete and still be close to the beach - just 8 km inland.

Visit Vori Village which is a historic protected village to see and feel an authentic historic yet modern and vibrant Cretan village - just 15 km inland



Accommodation Matala Beach

Elektra - Matala Crete

Ageliki - a small, stylish studio perfectly positioned in the centre of the village, this is a beautifully modern comfortable pad. Central to Matala village, cafes and restaurants. Look out over the peninsular with its curves and caves from the balcony. 20 metres from the beach.

Nikos Hotel - leafy entrance

The family-run Nikos Hotel is leafy and shady, close to the beach and all tavernas and restaurants, kept spotless and the staff are helpful and friendly. A good affordable option in Matala, just 100 metres from the beach. Private parking available. Just a few minutes walk to the famous caves.


Kritikies Houses in Pitsidia Crete

Cretan Houses - in the small village of Pitsidia you will live like a local in the narrow village lane ways. Beautifully restored homes, 4 km from Matala. Stone traditional Cretan construction, a wonderful quiet location. Enjoy life on your own patio or terrace or stroll to the village cafes. Receive true Cretan hospitality here.


Patriko Country House Vori, Crete

Patriko Country House is a free standing home on the outskirts of the village of Vori yet just 300 m from the centre. It has a beautiful private leafy garden as well as 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom housing 6 guests in comfortable, quiet rural surroundings.


Thalori Retreat Crete

Inland, higher up in the mountains, is the unique retreat of Thalori Resort in the village of Kapetaniana. Get away from it all in the fresh air and open spaces, feel the pulse of the land and mountains here, in this beautifully restored mountain village, 41 km by mountain roads from Matala Beach.



Exploring Around

Agiofarago Beach, south CreteAgiofarago Beach can be reached by walking through the gorge of the same name

Red Sand Beach, Komos Beach and Kokkinos Pirgos Beach are nearby.

There are many beaches in the south of Heraklion region to explore.

Within walking distance to Matala are Red Beach and Komos Beach. With a vehicle you can explore Kokkinos Pirgos and Agia Galini, as well as the more remote beaches of:


Clear waters diving off Matala (image by Mark Latter)Clear waters diving off Matala


Getting to Matala

Hire car icon

Hire a car from Heraklion Airport

Driving from the airport, take the national road south for 75 km via Agia Varvara, Agioi Deka, Mires, Petrokefali and Pitsidia.



On the Map

map icon

See the location of Matala in the centre of the south coast of Crete on the map below:






Sunset video

A video of the beach - a meditative sunset  - a calm, relaxing homage to this special place - with just the sound of the waves to lull you into a peaceful state...






Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.

More on flights and ferries below.



Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and an easy online booking procedure. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid or non-hybrid vehicles.


Green footprint logo
Go green hybrid logo
Book My Car



Anastasi & Apostoli - authors of We Love Crete


"We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the team at
We Love Crete. Evíva!"

Contact us with further questions or feedback. We love to hear about your travels in Kríti and Greece. Let us know of any updates or additions, errors or omissions. Help us make this website the best it can be. Kaló Taxidí!



Crete Travel Guide
Travel to the Greek Islands
Travel to Athens
Crete to Santorini
Crete to Mykonos









We Love Crete Agapame tin Kriti Logo

Sea Turtles are our major charity in Crete