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Matala is a beautiful and picturesque seaside village southwest of Heraklion that has been inhabited since antiquity, and has become famous throughout the world by the hippies in the 1960s and 1970s.
Ancient Matala
Matala was an ancient city of Crete and was the port of Phaistos in the Minoan era and Gortys in the Roman. There are remains of an ancient settlement and castle. Here, the ships of Menelaus (Odyssey 293) were wrecked, while Zeus swam to the shores of Matala in the form of a bull, having the Europe on his back and reaching Gortyna. The archaeological site next to the village, the core of the city, began to be excavated in the 1980s and brought to light large buildings and workshops of metals, pottery, carpentry, etc. The city seems to have been at the edge from the 6th to the 7th AD century, but has never been abandoned ever since. Southeast of the village, there are ruins of an ancient temple, and a marble shrine was found near the beach.
Matala Beach
At the beautiful Matala Beach you can dive into the Libyan Sea and relax in the sandy beach with the few pebbles, 250 meters long, where the tall rock of sandstone is said to have been carved in the Roman era.
The hippie shelter
The carved caves of the rock that found shelter thousands of hippies were inspired by famous artists such as Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchel who visited Matala in the 1960s and '70s. Joni Mitchel even wrote the well-known Carey song when he met Carey Raditz in Matala's cafe.

"The night is a starry dome
And they're playin' that
scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon"

"Oh Carey get out your cane
I'll put on my finest silver
We'll go to the Mermaid Café
Have fun tonight I said,
Oh, you're a mean old
Daddy but I like you
But you're out of sight"

The spring of the 1970s was the end of the Hippies utopia in Matala. Although the junta government in Greece has been holding a neutral stance for years over Matala, it changes in May 1970 when US President Nixon sends a telegram to Athens and asks to close Matala and arrest the American deserters of the war in Vietnam. The caves closed definitively for hippies around 1977.
Matala today
Matala is now an organized and developed tourist picturesque village and provides the visitor with many options for shopping, food, drink and many activities. At the entrance of the village dominates a carved tree, in which the artist Spyros Stefanakis took the form. The caves that were finally closed for the Hippies in 1977 are archaeological sites, which can be visited daily until 19:00, with the ticket at 3€.
Matala Beach Festival
The Matala Beach Festival, Europe's largest music festival with free admission, is on the legendary Matala Beach, next to the famous caves where the children of flowers once carefree.  The festival is a reference year for thousands of visitors who want to live carefree, entertain, sing, dance and feel this unique freedom safely in the place where the Hippies lived for many years.  People of all ages from all over the world come to Matala to live a unique weekend, a weekend alongside the famous caves of love and next to the sea, with the time to turn back, away from the stress and stress of everyday life.