Exciting Things to Do in Matala, Crete’s Last Hippie Beach!

beach, sea, caves, Matala, Crete

Matala is a popular destination on the rather solitary southern coast of Crete, in the region of Heraklion. The place shelters a unique hippie atmosphere, and even just one day spent in Matala is enough to feel its vibe and connect with the bohemian side of Crete.

So, let’s discover how to get to Matala, what to do in the village, the surrounding area, and everything there is to know about Malata Beach. Let me show you the best things to do in Matala during your holidays in Crete.

Posts include affiliate links to products or services. I might earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Matala Beach Crete
The Ideal Hippie Scene on Crete Island

Matala Beach

>> Join our Facebook Group!

Be sure to book ahead of time to ensure availability!

🛎️ Find the best hotels in Crete here

📍 Top tours I recommend on the island:
Boat cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa
Ticket to Knossos Archaeological Site

🚘 The best way to get around Crete is by car. Check rental car rates for Crete here.

📲 Book a consultation call if you need help planning your trip to Crete!

Located about one hour south of Heraklion, the capital of Crete, Matala is a famous hippie destination as well as a super popular seaside resort on the southern coast, facing the Libyan Sea.

matala beach
Sitting by the legendary carved tree at the entrance of Matala.

The laid-back village with colorful shops and alleys shelters the famous beach of Malata, a wide sandy bay with a deep crystal clear sea.

The most fascinating trait you will see on the beach is a series of man-made caves carved on the rock on a low hill on the shore’s western side.

Why You Should Include Matala in Your Crete Road Trip

GREECE - CRETE - MATALA AFTERNOON

It’s certainly a great idea to rent a car and visit Crete on the road, road trips offer great opportunities to explore lesser-known areas and hidden spots.

It also lets you pack and leave if you find that the place where you are doesn’t have what you are looking for. In my opinion, car travel in Crete is the best way to discover the island’s most authentic side.

>> Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking engine.

matala beach
The shore and the hippie caves of Matala.

Still, road trips need some planning, which can sometimes come with doubt. If you are uncertain whether to make Matala one of your stops, consider what you expect to see and do once in the village.

If you are going to Matala hoping to find spectacular, solitary beaches, soft sand, and shallow waters, then forget it. Set your GPS to another destination and go somewhere else.

Matala is not the best beach in Crete, but it is one of the most popular. And there’s a lot to discover, even if it’s just for a day. So let’s see now what things to expect when visiting Matala!

Pro tip: If you are in Heraklion, visiting the hippie village of Matala is among the top things to do in the region. This full-day tour to Matala with transport from Heraklion is a good alternative if you don’t want to drive!

Matala Map & Distances From the Rest of Crete

matala beach

If you’re wondering how much you need to drive before reaching Matala, these are the distances you’ll have to cover to get there from some other popular areas in Crete:

  • Sitia – Matala: 190 km, about 3 hours
  • Agios Nikolaos – Matala: 124 km, a little less than 2 hours
  • Ierapetra – Matala: 123 km, 2 hours and 20 minutes
  • Heraklion – Matala: 65 km, just 1 hour and minutes
  • Rethymnon – Matala: 80 km, 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Chania – Matala: 134 km, about 2 and a half hours.
  • You might also want to learn how to get from Heraklion to Matala.
matala beach

Getting to Matala from North Crete: How to Reach Matala from Heraklion

Map Heraklion - Matala, Crete.
Heraklion – Matala map 2024.

It is not difficult to reach Matala from Heraklion. The road from the capital, on the northern coast, takes a little more than one hour to the opposite side of the island (the shortest road is about 66 km).

From the center of Heraklion, you must head north up to Gazi. Once there, take the national road Heraklio-Festos (also written as Faistos and Phaistos on the road signs).

The journey is pretty straight for the first 20 minutes or so until the village of Agia Varvara. Once there, keep going for about 15 minutes until you reach the village of Moires. You can stop to visit the Archaeological Site of Phaistos. In that case, you keep on the same road and follow the signs to the archaeological site.

Instead, if you want to go straight to Matala, once in Moires, turn left and take the Miron-Pompias / Koraka road. After no more than 5 minutes of driving on the Gortinas-Matalon road, turn right and follow the signs. The road goes straight to Matala Beach. 

Getting to Matala from South Crete: The Road to Matala from Ierapetra (East Crete)

Map Ierapetra-Matala Crete island
Ierapetra – Matala map 2024.

If you are coming from the southeast of Crete, it will take longer to get there. The trip from Ierapetra to Matala lasts about 3 hours, and it can get tedious at times, but you can devote half a day to the whole trip and make frequent stops to discover places you would otherwise miss. This will make the trip more enjoyable:

The first time I took this road trip, my first stop was Myrtos, about 15 km from Ierapetra. The village is small and very picturesque, has a beautiful beach, and is worth a short visit. The beach in Myrtos is sandy and good for kids because it’s protected from the winds.

If you are not interested in going out at night or are looking for a relaxing holiday, this is a top destination for a peaceful vacation in South Crete.

GREECE - CRETE - LASITHI - MYRTOS
Myrtos.

In Myrtos, you can see the Minoan settlement of Pirgo (also Pyrgo), which is reachable on foot and has nice sea views.

After this first stop, you can keep driving to Matala. After about a one-hour drive, you will come across a very traditional Cretan settlement, Ano Viannos, about 560 meters a.s.l.

matala beach
Ano Viannos.

Ano Viannos (Upper Vianos) has always been among my favorite villages in the Heraklion region. The mountain landscape has colorful honey bee boxes, abundant and fragrant thyme bushes, and olive trees.

Ano Viannos is a small village cut in half by a narrow main road with traditional cafés and tavernas on both sides. Locals are proud of their extra virgin olive oil and honey, which you can taste in one of the few local shops on the village’s main road.

Stop here for a driving break. Have a glass of homemade orange juice or strong Greek coffee, stretch your legs, and return to the car. There’s still a long way to Matala.

Best Things to Do in Matala Beach, Crete 

matala beach
Another great thing to do in Matala, Crete, is to check out the local hippie art. The carved tree is at the entrance of Matala.

Once you’ve arrived in Matala, I suggest exploring the beach and visiting the village afterward. You can also check out the surrounding area, archaeological sites, and other beaches.

Arriving at Matala Beach

matala beach
Matala

Parking in Matala

Once you’ve made it to the seaside village, the first thing you’ll find is a parking nightmare, especially in August, but not only.

As soon as you find a parking spot, make it yours.

There is one big parking lot at the village’s entrance. It is easier to find a spot here, but you will need to walk a few hundred meters to reach the shore.

matala beach
Bigger parking lot.

There’s also a parking spot right by the beach, but it is smaller and often full (they will let you know at the entrance whether you can go down and park or if you need to maneuver in the chaotic lot and go back to the main road to park somewhere else).

matala beach
Access to the smaller parking lot close to the beach.

The fee to park here is about €3 for the day, there is no hourly fee. The mini-market and grocery stores near the parking lot offer drinks and snacks for your beach day.

matala beach
If you’re lucky enough to find parking near the beach, €3 will settle you for the whole day.

The Beach of Matala

The beach is fairly long and wide but gets very crowded in July and August.

Matala is one of the most popular destinations on the island. Remember that to avoid any unexpected frustration.

matala beach

There are dozens of restaurants, bars, and taverns by the sea, all of which used to be super convenient. In the last years, though, the village has become very popular, and more tourists visit each year.

matala beach
Afternoon at Matala Beach.

This has caused prices to go up quite a lot for eating and sleeping in Matala. However, do not worry. Some places remain where you can eat and drink at affordable (more Cretan-like) prices.

matala beach
Matala Beach.

The beach is a mix of pebbles and sand. The sea is wavy and gets deep quite close to the shore, so you must always be extremely careful if you’re traveling with kids.

matala beach
View of Matala from the caves.

On the positive side, Matala is well protected from strong winds. Being a rather deep bay and embraced by hills (the famous caves we will discuss next), It is well protected from the strong winds. However, there are frequent sea currents as well, so be careful.

matala beach
When the sun goes down at Matala…

The sea in Matala is not calm and shallow, and it is not the perfect beach for small kids. On the other hand, though, it is a great spot for divers and submarine experiences.

matala beach
Sunset, Matala Beach.

Matala is also a great place to spot the sunset. It is the most popular time on the beach and the best moment to visit the caves so as not to climb under the heat of the afternoon sun.

matala beach
Chill by the sea at sunset.

Most people gather on the beach to witness the sunset and have a drink at one of the few beach bars on the sand. Chill, listen to music, and let the sun go slowly down behind the sea.

Explore the Matala Caves

matala beach
A view of the beach from inside the caves.

Different sources agree that Matala’s caves are the work of men who carved them out of the cliffs on the north side of the beach, and they are thousands of years old.

In Ancient times, Matala was the port of Phaistos during the Minoan period (although some sources claim that Kommos was the port of the ancient Minoan Palace.

Then, back in 220 BC, Gortyn took over, and subsequently, during the Roman period, Matala became the port of Gortyn (also known as Gortys and Gortyna).

matala beach
Roman cemetery, Matala Caves.

It has been suggested that the caves were once used as tombs from Roman times, and in fact, you will see signs indicating the place as a Roman cemetery.

matala beach
Inside Matala caves.

However, for a more extended period of time, they were mostly used as living spaces. The caves in Matala are thought to belong to the Early Christian period, but there is no fact that proves any speculation.

matala beach
The kids exploring the caves in Matala.

Most of the caves show spaces with areas devoted to sleeping or storing food. They are not simply caves, they have windows, porches, and even carved seats and beds.

The caves of Matala were used as real homes thousands of years ago. You can visit the caves, but it’s not allowed to settle for the night.

A protective fence surrounds the cave (to avoid entering but not actually to protect you from falling as you visit), and a small entrance fee (€4 in 2024).

matala beach
Ticket booth.

The caves are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The best time to visit is one hour before closing because it’s not so hot, and the sunset views can be amazing. 

Access is free for EU citizens under 25 showing proof of ID. Reduced fees apply to senior citizens, journalists, and other categories.

matala beach
Prices, opening hours, and warning signs at the ticket booth, Matala Caves.

It’s essential to be careful during the visit. Yes, you will see people climbing the different levels of the caves, but I wonder if that is simply a consequence of the caves being right by the beach.

I suggest you pack a pair of tennis shoes to visit.

matala beach

They are not dangerous, but if you’re not super skilled, pay attention when climbing (especially when going down).

You will even find a sign at the entrance that says: Enter at your own risk. If you’re visiting with kids, always pay close attention to them.

matala beach
Matala Caves.

The area became popular during the early 1960s when Matala was an unknown fishing village. The Hippies slowly occupied it until the next decade, when the Greek military Junta (1970s) sent them away.

matala beach
Matala caves.

Matala’s hippie atmosphere is pretty much alive all year round. However, it fully comes to life every June when locals celebrate the Matala Beach festival, which features bands from the mainland, music, and dances for three days.

You might also want to read about the hike from Matala to Red Beach.

Enjoy the Laid-Back Hippie Village

matala beach
Matala.

The town still lives on the fame gained during the sixties. Back then, alternative rock singers such as Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell lived in the caves for long periods, composing and enjoying this remote island pretty much unknown to mass tourism. 

Does the line under a starry dome…beneath the Matala Moon ring the bell? It’s Carey, the song in which Joni Mitchell talked about the free life of flower children.

Life Magazine Cover Matala Crete

>> Do you want to read an authentic source from the 1970s? Click this link to open a Life Magazine issue with an article describing the nomads of those years and their lives in Matala!

matala beach
Matala main square.

Hippies all over the World overtook Matala in the ’60s and ’70s, a place and time when they could live a simple and natural life made of love, peace… and probably other ingredients!

matala beach
Matala’s main square.

Today, the village is small and easy to visit, full of small bars, pubs, taverns, and souvenir shops. There are colors and music everywhere, street artists, and a fun, entertaining atmosphere at all hours. Most cafeterias surround a small central square with trees and flowers.

matala beach
Seaside walk.

The best places to hang out are on the eastern side of the beach, where a long promenade extends to the end of the bay. Here you will find lots of bars playing cool music until almost the morning after.

Other interesting places to visit in Matala are the bookstores, most of which sell curious books about the island and Matala’s glorious past and famous residents. Some also sell old records and classic CDs.

matala beach
Souvenirs.

If you’re like me, you’ll love this place if you enjoy curious bookshops, music from the 1970s, elephant pants, colorful sarongs, hippie outfits, handmade leather sandals, crochet bags, and handmade ceramics!

matala beach
Emerald green water, Matala.

Finally, and for families with kids—but also the child still living in you—the colorful roads painted by visitors who gather especially for the occasion are amusing.

Every year, street artists worldwide come to Matala to paint and leave messages on the streets.

Shopping for Souvenirs in the Village and Market of Matala

matala beach
Gorgeous souvenir shops on the streets of Matala.

The village’s streets seem to be a considerable souvenir market with dozens of colorful stalls and shops selling handcrafted souvenirs. However, a traditional market (Paradosiako Agora Matalon) was established in 1973.

matala beach
The market, Matala.
matala beach
The street market.

Stalls mainly sell hippie memorabilia and flower-power garments, including leather sandals, t-shirts, hippie bags (like the one I bought for myself, see the picture above inside the cave!), beachwear, sarongs, and elephant pants.

matala beach
Hand-painted T-shirts.
matala beach
Matala cups.
matala beach
Souvenir shop.
matala beach
Souvenirs
matala beach
Colorful sarongs.

The shops outside the market sell ceramics, home decor, cups, paintings, music, books, and much more.

Prices can sometimes look a bit high. If you’re on a budget and still want to buy your Matala set of souvenirs, I suggest you buy your beach sarong at the nearby village of Kalamaki to save a few euros.

Matala Street Art

Matala Village Crete
A table in a local café.

Matala is the place to visit in Crete if you enjoy street art and graffiti. Everything is lively and colorful everywhere you look.

On the main road, a few steps from Matala’s small parish of the Assumption and opposite one of the few ATMs in the village, you will be greeted by a legendary black Beetle painted in Matala style, which has appeared in all photos of Matala during the last decades.

It belongs to a shop that sells the same stickers that decorate the car. You can also get them for your house as a Matala souvenir (we got our sticker flower for our car, too!).

matala beach
Matala’s legendary Beetle.

Here are some photos of Matala’s best colors…

matala beach
Street art in Matala.
matala beach
Street art in Matala.
matala beach
Street art in Matala.
matala beach
Souvenir shop.
matala beach
matala beach
matala beach
Street art in Matala.

Where to Eat in Matala Beach

The beachside tavernas are colorful and picturesque, and many are convenient. In general, not all are heavily priced (nor truly memorable), but the food quality is good.

matala beach
There are tons of places where to eat in Matala.

If you’re on a budget, avoid eating by the sea or choosing fish as a main course. Instead, head to the center of the village, the main square, or the clothes market.

Here, a few small grills serve regular gyro wraps and souvlaki; you will eat great food, and your pocket will be happy.

matala beach
A fancy restaurant facing the bay.

A few pubs in the central square are also great for an afternoon drink, an ice cream, or a sweet, but a meal at a Matala pub can be expensive.

We often ate at the market at midday when we wanted something quick and light. We also had a fairly informal lunch by the sea once (grilled octopus and dolmades – grape leaves stuffed with a rice mix, shaped into little rolls, and boiled-) at Taverna Eleni, right on the beach.

The food was pretty good, and the kids ate without any fuss… and that’s saying something. The usual shot of tsikoudia for dessert came with delicious warm loukoumades and tons of local honey. The prices were affordable.

matala beach
Taverna Eleni, Matala.

Another good place to eat is Gianni’s Family (you must book as it is always full). We had rabbit stifado and delicious grilled meat. The place is almost at the end of the main road, heading to the sea.

Boho Beach Bar is perfect for pancakes with all kinds of delicious chocolate sauces on top. It’s really affordable and is in a fantastic location.

matala beach
Matala.

Sunset Taverna is another simple and traditional tavern by the sea. For premium seafood, visit Scala also by the sea. And for a drink, don’t hesitate to head to Marinero, right next to the sea. The cocktails are good!

GREECE-CRETE-MATALA-BEACH-HUTS
Matala.

All in all, I have always enjoyed visiting Matala, the atmosphere, and the beach. Shops and bars have a bohemian touch, and bookstores and pubs are everywhere. Everything is colorful, cheerful, and stimulating to the senses. It’s a little fishing village where you can spend a day or many, that’s up to you!

Matala in Greek Mythology

matala beach
Carved tree in Matala.

According to Greek mythology, Matala played a key role in developing Crete’s history. The myth reveals that Zeus seduced Princess Europa by taking the form of a white bull and that, later on, he crossed the sea, bringing her to the beach of Matala.

Once there, he changed his shape from a white bull into an eagle and flew her to Gortys, where he had sex with her.

Europa and Zeus had three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon. Later on, she married Asterios, turning into the stepmother of his daughter, Crete.

You can also read about what to do in Heraklion here.

Archaeological Sites Near Matala

There’s more to Heraklion than Knossos. The region is a great place to explore if you love archaeological sites, and you can visit a few of them in the area surrounding Matala. Take a look.

The Archaeological Site of Phaistos (Φαιστός)

Matala - Festos Map, Crete island
Matala – Festos map. 2023.

One of the best things you can do near Matala is visit the Minoan Site of Phaistos (Faistos and Festos). It’s located in the Messara Plain, roughly in the south-central portion of the island and a little more than 50 kilometers from the capital, Heraklion.

It’s also close to another spectacular archaeological site, Gortys, just minutes from Matala. Phaistos is one of Crete’s most important archaeological sites, receiving many thousands of visitors annually, so get ready to queue here (and not just in Knossos).

Phaistos is “Φαιστός” in Greek, and it may be written as Festos, Phaestos, or Faistos, but you pronounce it Festòs.

matala beach
Phaistos.

As archaeological studies have confirmed, the Minoan Palace of Phaistos corresponds to a flourishing city that arose in the fertile Messara Plain in prehistoric times, from 6000 BC to the 1st century BC.

The palace’s history is turbulent and filled with legendary stories. The first Palace of Phaistos was built about 2000 BC.

King Minos is described as its mythical founder, while his brother, Radamanthys, was the first king in the palace.

matala beach
Phaistos.

The palace suffered from the consequences of a strong earthquake in 1700, but it was rebuilt immediately.

The site has been the main religious and cult center of south Crete for ages, and a visit to the ruins confirms its magnificence.

A few hundred years later, decadence occurred in Phaistos when the neighboring Gortys took over and dominated the region, which started its slow decline.

Find out more about other remarkable archaeological sites in Crete

Best Things to See in Phaistos

matala beach
Phaistos.

The palace’s almost perfect unique architecture makes Phaistos the finest and most typical Minoan palace and the best-preserved of all. The most beautiful characteristic of this Minoan Palace is the impressive monumental entrance known as the West Propylon. 

The palace is contemporary to Knossos, but if you have already visited the first one, you might either be stunned at the differences or recognize the similarities between the two archaeological sites. Phaistos did not undergo the same level of restoration that interested Knossos.

On the other hand, certain construction traits are shared by both sites, and the other two unearthed Minoan Palaces in Crete (Malia, close to Heraklion, and Kato Zakros in Lasithi).

Both the old (protected by a shed) and the new Palaces of Festos are spread on different terraces and are completely built with blocks of stone (known as ashlar). Remember to check the storerooms, workshops, and royal quarters. 

The court of the new Palace of Phaistos and the Temple dedicated to the Great Mother Rhea are also quite stunning. However, they belong to a more recent period in history.

Remember that you can see all the artifacts and findings from Festos in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, including the enigmatic Disc of Festos or the Disc of Phaistos.

Hours, tickets, and special fees

The Archaeological Site of Phaistos has the following timetable:

Summer – April 1st to October 31st
On Mondays from 1 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
From Tuesdays to Fridays, from 8 a.m to 7.30 p.m.

Winter – November 1st to March 31st, from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ticket
Full price €8, Reduced fee €4.
Reduced fees apply to the following categories:
– Greek citizens and citizens of other European countries over 65 years old (ID card or passport needed)
– Escorts on educational visits (primary schools)
– University students (high education institutes or equivalent, student ID card needed)
– For free admission categories, check this site.
– This tour takes you both to Matala Beach and Phaistos Palace on a day trip.

The Archaeological Site of Agia Triada (Αγία Τριάδα)

matala beach
(O. Tausch, Wikimedia Commons).

Agia Triada is another imposing archaeological site located 4 km from Festos. The site is on a scenic spot overlooking the Gulf of Messara.

Despite the unique frescoes and vase findings, among the finest examples of Minoan art (and also exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion), the site is considered a royal villa.

Others believe, instead, that the place was the home of some wealthy merchant or even a prince.

Agia Triada might not be as popular as Knossos or Festos, but that’s what makes it special. There are no crowds or queues to visit, and the views are inspiring. The ticket’s full price is 4€ (2€, reduced), and there’s more information about the site here.

Places to Visit Near Matala

When spending some time in South Heraklion, explore more and discover the following areas… You won’t regret it!

Red Beach (Kokkini Ammos)

matala beach
Soft sand at Kokkini Ammos.

Red Beach was a legendary shore on the island among locals and visitors. However, today, the magic of the place is not what it used to be—everyone wants to hike to Red Beach!

matala beach
The road to Red Beach.

Famous for being a naturist beach in Crete, the only way to reach this secluded bay is through the mountains. You will need to hike up and down to get there, but you will be rewarded by the views, both of the sea and the inland.

matala beach

As its name tells you, it has reddish-golden sand, and the waters are crystal clear; it’s a good place for snorkeling thanks to the colorful seabed.

The hippie spirit is more authentic than the more popular Matala. There is just one beach bar, and its trademark is mojitos.

Gianni’s Mojito Bar is a legendary place on the Red Beach.

Matala- Red beach map
Matala – Red Beach trail. Map data © 2024 Google.

The price for a mojito was €8 (September 2022), but trust me, it was delicious. And the tavern is a great place to cool down when the beach gets hot. There are music and wall decorations in authentic hippie style!

matala beach
The beach from Gianni’s Mojito.
matala beach
The color of the sea is amazing.
matala beach
Mojito Bar, Kokkini Ammos
matala beach
Gianni’s mojito, Red Beach.

Read about more nudist beaches in Crete here.

If you decide to hike, follow the white arrow signs. There are plenty in Matala, literally everywhere! Remember to carry water and a hat, or even better, check what to pack for a remote beach in Crete.

Kommos: the Village and the Archaeological Ruins

Matala - Kommos map ,  Crete
Matala – Kommos map – Google maps 2024.

Kommos is worth visiting and not just for finding convenient accommodation. You can also visit Ancient Kommos.

Unfortunately, the archaeological site of Kommos, which looks pretty big, remains closed to the public, but you can take a very good look at it from the perimeter fence or from above.

Kommos
The archaeological site of Kommos ( O. Tausch Wikipedia Commons)

Experts consider Kommos to have been a Minoan harbor town (probably the main port of Agia Triada or even Phaistos). There is also a beach, which is very pretty on days without wind.

There’s no worthy accommodation in town; Kalamaki is the closest place to sleep.

matala beach
Kommos ruins.

If you decide to spend the night here, check out Kritkies Elaia, a traditional Cretan house made of limestone, the island’s typical building material. Studios have always been a cheap and popular option, but you can upgrade to a villa for just a few euros.

Spend the Night in the Area: Matala and Other Villages

matala beach
Visit the caves before the sunset.

It can be tricky to find accommodation in Matala if you show up without a reservation, especially during the high season. Therefore, I’ve written a special guide to Matala’s best hotels and rental homes.

But if you plan to book in advance, some of the best places are the Matala Caves apartments located right opposite the legendary caves of Matala with a great view of the sea and the bay.

Where to Sleep in Kalamaki

Kalamaki Beach
Sun setting on the horizon. Beach of Kalamaki.

Not far from Matala, there is a good place to stay if you are doing Crete on the road and want to avoid overpriced accommodation in Matala.

Kalamaki is a small town. We found only a few tourists and even fewer shops. If you plan to stay for more than a night, choose Rodanthi Guest House.

The atmosphere is more relaxed and solitary. The sandy beach is great for kids, and the distant landscape includes Crete’s wonderful mountains and Agia Galini village.

It’s a perfect place for sunset pictures. It was authentic, magical, powerful, silent, and memorable—maybe with a more hippie spirit than Matala.

Where to Sleep in Kamilari

where to stay in south crete

The village is located on a hill and, due to the ex-pat community that lives here, has a decent and varied offer of tavernas and accommodation.

It’s a good compromise if you want to avoid staying in Matala but still want a place for a drink at night with a bit more sophistication than the usual Greek taverna.

Villa Lemoni is a beautiful house that can accommodate smaller and bigger groups.
Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Where to Sleep in Pitsidia

matala beach
Pitsidia Village

Many consider Pitsidia a great alternative to Matala in terms of accommodation opportunities. It is only 5 km from the beach and is, in fact, less crowded.

The village is quite characteristic and preferred by younger travelers, so the options for accommodation, lunch, and dinner are quite affordable, too.

Kritikies Elaia is a traditional Cretan stone house offering excellent accommodation in Pitsidia.
Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Do you plan to visit Matala this summer? You won’t regret a minute of it!

🏖️ Please, help us protect the beaches in Crete. Respect the environment and don’t leave any trash behind.

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • With my consultation call services, I have assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Email me for more information!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

>> Join our Facebook Group!

More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion or Rethymnon, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Heraklion

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these hotels in the city:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Discover Cars is the engine I use to find a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.

Pin it Now! Pin This Guide About All The Things to Do in Matala For Your Crete Travels!

Matala Beach

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the island. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *