Enjoy and explore the small coast village of Matala. It first made into the history books as the place where Zeus, in the form of a bull. swam ashore with Europa on his back before dragging her off to Gortyna. The Minoans used Matala as their harbour for Phaestos and under the Romans it became the port for Gortyna. Ruins of these ancient settlements are still visible on the seabed.
Just a few steps from the central market square (follow the signs) visit the Church of our Lady, a pint-sized chapel which was carved straight out from a cliff apparently during Venetian times. In the church there are two marble altars, capitals from the early Byzantine period and precious icons.
Despite such an ancient pedigree., Matala are well known due to hippies. This little town played host to a colony of flower children, some of them (like Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens) famous. Rent-free living in the caves, gorgeous beach, cheap tavernas, free love and more ...
Since 2011 a Matala Hippie Reunion Festival drew scores of people but overall little of the "peace and love" is left. This takes place in the beginning of June and it is a 3 days music festival with live music, beach parties, right in front of the famous caves with music from sixties / seventies - the sound & music of the legendary woodstock festival ... an attractive program with lots of live music and party feeling, all kind of activities like Hippie bazaar, and Hippie events acoustic live music, concerts, happenings, exhibitions, children fun parc ... and more!
Matala and the area around it is also a popular nesting ground for Caretta Caretta sea turtles. The sea Protection Society has a booth near the car park.
Matala Beach is one of the four hundred (400) Greek beaches which have been awarded a Blue Flag. This “environmental certificate” is given to beaches which meet stringent criteria of water quality, environmental management and safety.
Sometimes Matala's main beach below the caves often gets uncomfortably crammed. To escape the crowds follow the signs to Red Beach reached in a 30-minute scramble over the rocks. It is hardly a secret but it does get fewer people including a smattering nudists. Bring water and snacks.
You can find some wonderful beaches close to the hotel, such as Kommos, Kalamaki, Kokkinos Pyrgos, Kaloi Limenes etc, where you can also enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Libyan Sea. Note that the north part of Kommos beach is the naturists part with no sunbeds. Kokkinos Pirgos a long sandy beach with shallow water, the east side of the beach is more secluded than the part close to the port.
Don't miss to visit the beach of Agiofaraggo (19km) at the exit of the homonym gorge. To get there you must either cross the gorge, by easy hiking of about 30-50’, or catch a boat from Matala, Agia Galini, or Kali Limenes. We definitely recommend the first option, as the route within the vertical walls of the gorge is breathtaking. On the way you will see the large caves were some hermits still live and the chapel of St. Anthony, with a well outside.
Horse riding is another way to discover the hidden paths of south Crete. In Pitsidia (4 km) there is a horse stable, that organizes horse riding excursions. All equipment is supplied to the guests.
Very close to the Villas, is located the archeological site of Phaistos, the second in size palace after Knossos. Phaistos is built on the most spectacular setting of all palaces in Crete, high on a dramatic hill, overlooking the entire Messara plain. Phaistos was inhabited since the late neolithic era will several organized settlements on the hill and the surrounding area, and the first palace was built around 2000 BC. Excavations have unearthed a rich historical strata and ruins dated back to neolithic times.
Another important archaeological site is this of Gortys (or Gortyna), near the village of Agii Deka and next to the road connecting Agii Deka with Mires.The city of Gortys is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The first archaeological works in Gortys started in 1884 by the archaeologists Federico Halbherr and Stefanos Xanthoudides, after they discovered the Great Inscription of Gortys (discussed later). In 1898 the first excavations started, which continue till today.
The Minoan Site of Kommos, 3km north of Matala along a fantastic wide and sandy beach, is believed to have been the port of Phaestos.
Museum of Cretan Ethnology, is an outstanding museum in the village of Vori and provides fascinating insights into traditional Cretan culture. This is the best museum of its kind on the island and absolutely worth a detour.
Spend a day in Heraklion, the biggest city of the island, on the north coast. Walk in the pedestrian streets of the old part of the city. Visit the Crete Historical Museum and the excellent Archaeological Museum (one hall, with all the treasures, is open at the moment), combine the visit of the museum with a visit to the archeological site of Knossos (5km from the museum). Knossos was the biggest and the most important Palace of the Minoan Civilatisation.
Get your own mask and fins and go for snorkeling. In the south coast of Crete, there is a great variety of fish and sea-plants, the visibility is excellent and there is no currents. Choose a rocky seabed where the sealife variety is wider, and go there either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
For more activities in Heraklion Perfecture, please click here.
|Hotel Information||Recommended For|
|Type:||Villas||Cheap & Chic :|
|Rooms:||2||Village Atmosphere :|
|Pool:||Private Pool||Family :|
|Dining:||No||Family hospitality :|