Matala is located 68km southwest of Heraklion, where the plain Messara meets Asteroussia Mountains. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of south Heraklion prefecture. It is famous for the carved caves in the rocks and the hippies of the ‘70s. It is located close to Phaestus, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization. Matala served as a port of Phaestus, and on the Roman Times, it became a port of Gortyn.
Matala is located at the exit of a small valley, which forms an enclosed bay with nice view to the islands of Paximadia.There is a beautiful sandy beach, 300m long, with fine gravel and crystal clear deep water. Moreover, the seabed is quite rocky in some places (especially in the central part of the bach) and waves are common, due to frequent west winds. Furthermore, there is a huge cave on the north part of the beach, from the top of which some people dive. The beach is very well organized with umbrellas, toilets, showers, lifeguard, first aids, beach volley courts, snack bars, water sports, excursion boats, a camping site, etc. Around Matala you will find many options for accommodation, entertainment and eating. Also, a large part of the beach is covered by tamarisk trees, where you can find shade. In the evenings, the bars on the beach are full with many people, both locals and foreigners. Especially in June, the internationally renowned Matala Festival takes place.
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