On the south coast of Crete, on a beautiful bay of the Libyan Sea, are the sandy beach and the 'Red Beach' of Matala.Matala is a tiny village with less than 100 permanent residents, but it is world famous. It owes its reputation mainly to the hippies who lived here at the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s.
For today's visitor, Matala still has so much to offer that you can easily spend two pleasant hours here. The main car park is right next to the old village centre between the campsite, the sandy beach and the rock face with the caves where many hippies lived back then. They were originally hewn out of the soft rock in ancient times and used as graves. You can climb them and walk into them: The view from a cave of the beach, the sea and the historic fishing village is a super photo motif!
Afterwards, it is best to walk along the approximately 200 m long coarse sand beach to the old fishing village. Its inhabitants were poor, but made life easy for the hippies with their hospitality. Today, most of the simple houses are used commercially as taverns and bars, but the original atmosphere is still clearly noticeable. You should rest here.
Then head back through the newer part of the village towards the car park. Keep to the left on the lane along the shore, which is a bit like a North African bazaar for about 100 m here. Jewellery, textiles, carved olive wood and much more are on offer. At the end of the alley, turn right and you will find yourself in the main square of the village, directly in front of the small village church.
If you want to see a bit more of historic Matala, you can turn right at the barrier and walk along the road lined with small guesthouses until the buildings stop. On your right, you will see the sadly neglected remains of a Roman harbour settlement. If you're really tireless, follow the road, which soon turns into a path, and after about 30 minutes you'll reach Red Beach, where some hippies also settled back then.
You can also swim on the beach directly in front of the car park where your car is parked. The islets you see out in the sea are uninhabited. They are the Paximadia Islands. Why they are called like the Cretan rusk is unknown. They rise 252 and 166 m high 10 km off the Cretan coast from the Libyan Sea.
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