Matala Crete

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Matala Crete - the beach pebbles against the sea with the sun on the cave in the afternoon (image by Mark Latter)


Matala Crete
- the dramatic cliffs, the curved beach, the clear water, the sandstone caves, the tamarisk trees, the space, the warmth, the characters, the cafes, the bars and tavernas, the sun, the ancient sites, the walks to other beaches, these are just of the elements of a visit to this unusual beach in the central south of Crete.



Music Festival

Matala Beach Festival - Today is Life - Tomorrow Never Comes

A summer of loving starts here. Take yourself back to the carefree days of music, peace and love at this 3 day festival in June. Matala Beach Festival


Today is Life - Tomorrow Never Comes

Matala Beach Festival - Crete

The heady days of the sixties saw hippies camping in the ancient caves of the sandstone cliffs next to the beach. The spirit of those times has been revived for a fun-filled beach music festival in recent years.


Matala Beach Festival

This video sets the scene from the 2013 festival, featuring Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers) Kings of Pink Floyd , Locomondo , Tony Sfinos, and Harry Keyworth.



This video is from the 2015 festival produced by Rouvakis Photography & Films - Aerialart.gr | Official Photography of Matala Beach Festival.




More About Matala

More about Matala Beach here...

Located 70 km from Heraklion town and 71 km from Heraklion Airport, this beautiful beach is on the south coast of Crete in the very centre of the island. Visit at any time of the year to enjoy the sandstone caves and between May and October (or November) to swim in the clear waters.

With plenty of other beaches within walking distance, and ancient sites to visit within driving distance, this beach makes a wonderful base from which to explore Crete.

Dream about Matala Bay from the songs of the sixties and laze under the Matala moon.



Exploring Around Matala

Gortyna Historic Site, CreteThe Roman site of Gortyn is 30 km from Matala


Red Beach and Ammos Beach are close by, as well as Kalamaki,
Kokkinos Pirgos and Kalo Limenes Beaches.

Drive into the hinterland to see Zaros Village in the foothills of the Psiloritis mountains.

Just 8 km inland from the beach is Kamilari Village, a traditional village with an ecological approach to farming, with wonderful tavernas, a pizza place and three hills like camel humps that give the name to the village - with wonderful views back down over the sea, and across to the Psiloritis and Asterousia mountain ranges. Visit the village and see the historic water fountain, and the Minoan Tholos Tomb nearby that dates from 1800 BC.


Kamilari Tholos TombThe Kamilari Tholos Tomb is a Minoan Ancient Site


For The Family

Horse lovers will find a delightful farm at Melanouri just 4.4 km from Matala in the country outside of Pitsidia Village, hosted by Martina Gau and Nikos Fasoulakis and their three children, a Greek-German family with a love of all things equine. The location of the farm means it is natural to take rides along the beautiful southern beaches, take a moonlit ride or a farm visit to Horsefarm Melanouri, as seen in the video below.




Red Beach - Kokkinos Ammos

The way from Matala to Red BeachThe way from Matala to Red Beach


Walk south from Matala to the natural beach Kokkinos Ammos or Κόκκινη Άμμος or Red Beach, which is quite wild and a welcome relaxation spot after the busyness of Matala. Some people go nude here, but anything goes, sometimes it gets a bit windy, and let us say, it is not really red. The course sand is orange-ochre yet definitely redder than other beaches around here, so it is a simple way of distinguishing this beach from others on the south coast.

The sands of Kokkinos Amos are course orange ochre colour, red from a distance'Kokkinos Ammos' means 'Red Sand' - this beach is just 20 minutes walk from Matala

Red Beach or Kokkinos AmmosThe view to Kokkinos Ammos on the walk from Matala

Visitors have put up a sign on Red BeachVisitors have put up a sign on Red Beach :)


Accommodation in Matala Crete


The leafy and shady Nikos Hotel  is family-run, close to the beach and all tavernas and restaurants, kept spotless and the staff are helpful and friendly. A good affordable option in Matala.



Matala Caves Seaside Apartment
- this shoreline holiday home has prime position in Matala and is perfect for any time of the year, especially May to June which is spring and not too crowded or too hot. With views across to the sandstone prehistoric caves across the water, and just a step away from the tavernas, cafes and nightlife of Matala, this is a sea change in up gear, suitable for a couple, this is a 1 bedroom home with 1 bathroom.

Enjoy the spacious shade-covered patio, the outdoor dining table, the crystal clear views of the azure waters, deck chairs and the energetic atmosphere above the local taverna, watch the lights play on the water and see the promontory lit up at night. Enjoy the traditional stone-work of the recent renovation and the sandy, rustic boho beachside style of the apartment.


Matala Sea Caves Apartment - south Crete

Villa Accommodation

Orelia Villa near Kamilari looks over the sea

Orelia Villas - two villas for the family or for a couple. A one-bedroom villa with a double room, and a two-bedroom villa which welcomes 4 guests in comfort. Combine the villas for your extended family gathering.

With the beautiful rustic charm of a country villa but all the modern conveniences, enjoy cooking in your fully equipped kitchen and relaxing for meals on your private terrace.

Just 4 km from Phaistos, 3 km from Kalamaki Beach, 2 km from Kamilari with its cafes and tavernas and under 10 km to Matala Crete, this is a great location with sea breezes, due to its elevation.



Local Pension

Pension Aretoussa is 4 km from Matala Crete and 1.5 km from Kommos Beach, in the small village of Pitsidia. Warm local hospitality awaits guests in this old style B&B with beautiful food for the homemade breakfast and friendly service.


Matala Crete on the Map

See the location of Matala Beach in Crete on the map below.


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 easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.


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Anastasi & Apostoli - authors of We Love Crete


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