Matala

Rent a car Matala with Caravel Car hire Crete

Rent a car Matala with Caravel Car hire Crete.

At 66 kilometers south of Heraklion, the beach of Matala, on the southern coast of Crete, was the site of summer celebrations in honor of the Goddess of fertility from the Minoans and yet the ancient port of Phaistos. According to mythology, when Zeus kidnapped Europe from Asia, he brought the first Matala. Much later, namely the 70’s, the beach with the tourquoise waters of the Libyan Sea and the impressive caves that resemble houses, became a gathering place and escape from daily routine, thousands of young children from Greece and abroad (Flower Children). Today Matala beach is one of the most famous beaches in Greece.

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About Matala

The artificial caves in the cliff of the Matala bay were created in the Neolithic Age. Matala was the port of Phaistos during the Minoan period. In the year 220 BC, Matala was occupied by the Gortynians, and during the Roman period, Matala became the port of Gortys. It has been suggested that the caves were once used as tombs, but it is more likely that they were used as living spaces, given their volume (corpses do not need that much room to walk around). One of the caves is called “Brutospeliana” because according to the legend it was frequented by the Roman general Brutus.

Matala was then a fishing village. In the 1960s, the caves were occupied by hippies who were later driven out by the church and the military junta. Matala is now a heavily overbuilt tourist destination relying on coach tours and summer visitors. There are many gift shops and bars. Matala’s hippie history relives during the 3 days Matala Beach Festival, every June (since 2011).

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