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This is one of the most popular tourist beaches on the south coast of Crete. Set in an inlet facing the Libyan Sea, the beach at Matala is famous for the caves at one end of the shore, which were inhabited by hippies in the 1960s, including singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. The hippies are long gone, but the allure of what drew them here remains. You can visit the caves for a small fee.
The long and wide beach here is made up of small pebbles and soft sand. Umbrellas and beach chairs run the full length of the beach, but you are welcome to set up your own equipment. Matala is also a great spot for snorkeling.
Matala is a popular day trip from Heraklion. The road over the mountains between Heraklion and Matala is incredibly scenic, and the drive takes a little over an hour.
The left side of the bay is made up of numerous restaurants perched on the higher ground offering fantastic views. In behind them is a street lined with shops selling all kinds of clothing and souvenirs.
Parking here can be tricky. There is one small lot immediately behind the beach, and it fills up fast. Street parking is available back from the beach.
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