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Things to do in
Matala

Our most recommended things to do in Matala

Heraklion: Matala Beach, Hippie Caves, and Gortyn Day Trip

1. Heraklion: Matala Beach, Hippie Caves, and Gortyn Day Trip

Take and airconditioned bus trip through South Crete on this day trip with pickup from Heraklion. Travel back in time as you explore Cretan history at the Gortys archeological site and have plenty of free time to soak up the vibes of at the colorful, seaside town of Matala. Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in selected locations on Crete in the morning. Drive for 1.5 hours to the Gortys archeological site. Purchase a ticket to the site to uncover sights from 5000 years of Cretan history. Take a short drive to Matala and spend 4.5 hours of free time where you can go swimming, sunbathe at the beach, purchase a ticket to the local caves or have lunch at a charming seaside café. Return to your accommodation in Crete at the end of your free time in Matala.

From Rethymno: Spili, Agia Galini, and Matala Tour

2. From Rethymno: Spili, Agia Galini, and Matala Tour

Embark on a group tour from Rethymno to visit the charming ancient villages of Crete. Visit the quaint village of Spili, discover the caves of Agia Galini, and enjoy the sandy beach of Matala, with plenty of time to explore on your own. Start with pickup from your hotel by air-conditioned bus, then make your first stop at the village of Spili for 1 hour of free time. Walk the cobbled streets of a village with its well-known lion-head fountains. Browse the many stores and shopfronts selling traditional Cretan products. The next stop is at the amphitheatrically built village of Agia Galini. Here, you will have 1.5 hours to explore the village. Admire the views of small, traditional houses and the harbor, the perfect place for a coffee break. Continue next to Matala where you will have 2.5 hours of free time to enjoy the golden sandy beach. After some time sunbathing on the shore, the bus will then take you back to your hotel.

From Heraklion: Day Trip to Matala Hippie Beach and Caves

3. From Heraklion: Day Trip to Matala Hippie Beach and Caves

We reach the famous beach of Matala. This is the place where Zeus, having taken the form a bull, swam ashore with Europa on his back before dragging her off to Gortys. Both the Minoans and the Romans used the place as their harbor. Nevertheless, for most people, Matala means only one thing: hippies. Back in the late 1960s - 1970s, this little town was a colony of the “flower children”, who lived in the caves that used to be former Roman tombs. Here we will enjoy the crystal waters, the warm sun and lunch by the sea, while later we can explore the prehistoric caves, carved on thesteep rocks of the area. 11:00 Arrival at Matala – free time 15:00 Departure from Matala 16:15 Arrival in Heraklion Route: 90 km Duration: app. 8 hours Extras: Entrance Caves Matala (optional): 2,00 € Pick up Malia: 08:30 Stalis: 08:35 Hersonisos: 08:45 Anissaras: 08:55 Analipsi: 09:10 Gouves: 09:20 Gournes: 09:30 Kokkini Hani: 09:30 Karteros: 09:35 Heraklion: 09:45 Ammoudara: 09:55

From Agia Galini/Matala: Islands Boat Cruise with Swim Stops

4. From Agia Galini/Matala: Islands Boat Cruise with Swim Stops

The delightful journey commences in the scenic village of Agia Galini. A boat sets sail into the Libyan Sea, making its way towards the two petite islands situated approximately 12 kilometers south of Agia Galini, also known as "Paximadia." The locals have endearingly nicknamed them the "little elephant" due to their resemblance to a swimming elephant when viewed from a distance and at a particular angle. Although the islands do not have any human settlements, many visitors to the southern coast are unaware that, apart from cliffs and barren land, they also boast magnificent beaches that tempt you to take a dip and go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. If you're fortunate enough, you might catch sight of dolphins or the famous turtle, Karetta-Karetta, during the voyage. Once the boat reaches a charming cove for swimming, and you've refreshed yourself in the chilly water, the crew will prepare a delicious lunch for you. Hop aboard and feel the refreshing breeze brush against your face as you sail!

From Heraklion: Matala Beach and Hippie caves

5. From Heraklion: Matala Beach and Hippie caves

After a short drive through the Messara plain you reach Matala. Known for the colony of hippies in the Sixties, where they lived in large holes formed on the mountain. The rocks are holes with a Roman burial. In Matala you will have time for a refreshing dip in the water, eat something or just enjoy a drink on the beach. This is the place where Zeus, having taken the form a bull, swam ashore with Europa on his back before dragging her off to Gortys. Both, the Minoans and the Romans used the place as their harbor. Nevertheless, for most people, Matala means only one thing: hippies. Back in the late 1960s - 1970s, this little town was a colony of the “flower children”, who lived in the caves that used to be former Roman tombs

From Agia Galini/Matala: Samaria Gorge Hiking Tour

6. From Agia Galini/Matala: Samaria Gorge Hiking Tour

Drive along the coastline to Chania, then travel up to the Omalos plateau in the White Mountains. From there, embark on a trek into the Samaria Gorge, which is 18 km long, 3-150 meters wide, and up to 700 meters deep. The Samaria National Park is a significant natural reserve that showcases a range of natural wonders, including wildflowers, century-old trees, rock formations, and crystal-clear springs. The hike begins at an altitude of 1200 m on the Omalos plateau and takes around 4-6 hours. You'll pass through the longest gorge in Europe, which features breathtaking beauty and diverse scenery. The narrowest part of the gorge is only 3 meters wide, and the rock walls soar steeply by 350 meters at this point. Please note that the path through the gorge is rugged, rocky, and uneven, making it unsuitable for unfit individuals or clients with heart problems, high blood pressure, or pregnancy. Throughout the journey, there are numerous rest stops where you can find restrooms and drinking water. In the afternoon, you'll arrive at the charming fishing village of Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea, where you can relax in the taverns or swim in the crystal-clear, turquoise sea after the hike. Later in the day, you'll take a one-hour boat ride from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion, passing the magnificent rocks of the southern coast of Crete, where our bus will be waiting to transport you back home.

From Agia Galini/Matala: Rethymnon City Tour

7. From Agia Galini/Matala: Rethymnon City Tour

Discover the enchanting town of Rethymnon, hailed as one of Greece's most beautiful destinations. Meander through the town's winding alleys and colorful streets in the old town, where you can find an array of delicious restaurants and cafes. Take a walk through Rethymnon's storied history by visiting its well-preserved Venetian and Ottoman-era landmarks. You can't miss the Venetian Fortezza, a fortress built in the 16th century to defend against the Turks. Check out the Rimondi Fountain, built in 1626 by the Venetian governor Rimondi to provide drinking water. Take your time exploring the city's charms, and unwind with a refreshing swim at the beach. Rethymnon is a city that's just waiting to be discovered!

South Crete Sailing

8. South Crete Sailing

Southern Crete is a natural beauty which begs to be explored, while the region's turbulent history has left behind some of the most beautiful remains. Come with us on a day trip with no planned destinations and let us explore together the hidden gems of this magnificent part of Crete! Our crew will meet you at Agia Galini port and welcome you on board, where you will be given a briefing about safety and boat handling. We set our sails to the unexplored beaches of South Crete. We arrive at the beach of our choice. We drop our anchor and you will have free time for swimming, snorkelling, enjoying the sun and nature. We carefully approach the coves that are surrounded by the protected wildlife. Our team will tell you everything about the history and the myths of the places we will visit while a delicious meal from fresh and local organic ingredients is being prepared. After your lunch and perhaps after a quick dive, we will set our sails again to return back to Agia Galini port. We only wish to see the dolphins on the way back! Places of interest: Agios Georgios, Agios Pavlos, Triopetra, Preveli, Komos Beach, Matala, Kokkini Ammos (Red Beach), Vathi Beach, Akra Lithino, Martsalo, Agiofarago, Kaloi Limenes. **Please note that the itinerary might change due to the weather condition and the duration of the trip!

Agia Galini/Matala: Imbros Gorge & Frangokastelo Day Tour

9. Agia Galini/Matala: Imbros Gorge & Frangokastelo Day Tour

Explore the breathtaking Imbros Gorge, located 780m above sea level and adjacent to the famous Samaria Gorge. Immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings adorned with cypresses and shrubs. This 8km-long gorge can be easily walked through in just 2-2.5 hours, and at one point, it becomes so narrow that you can touch the walls with outstretched arms. As you wind through the gorge, hear the dramatic story of the 1867 Turkish occupation, where women and children tragically lost their lives while fleeing from the Turks. The journey concludes with a relaxing stop at the village of Frangokastello for a refreshing dip. At the end of the activity, you will be dropped off at your hotel, or a central location to continue your adventure. Don't miss this unforgettable opportunity to experience the beauty and history of the Imbros Gorge.

From Heraklion: Matala, Hippies Caves & Ancient Gortyn

10. From Heraklion: Matala, Hippies Caves & Ancient Gortyn

Set off on a memorable day trip to southern Crete, a journey that weaves together the island's historical richness with the stunning beauty of the Mediterranean. Visit to Gortys Site: Start with a 1.5-hour exploration of the ancient Gortys Site, delving into 5000 years of history. Wander among ruins that narrate the island's past, from Minoan civilization to Roman dominion, revealing ancient laws, temples, and the essence of life in antiquity. Matala's Scenic Charm: Then, take a scenic bus ride to the captivating town of Matala, once a haven for 60s and 70s hippies and still a magnet for those drawn to its relaxed atmosphere and scenic beauty. Spend over 4 hours enjoying Matala's clear waters, exploring its iconic cliffside caves, and savoring a seaside lunch that offers a taste of Crete's culinary delights. Peaceful Return Conclude your day with a peaceful bus ride back, reflecting on the day's adventures and the everlasting beauty of Crete's landscapes. This day trip promises a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, ensuring lasting memories.

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Heraklion

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What people are saying about Matala

Overall rating

4.7
(183 reviews)

From the moment we got on the bus we were welcome by our lovely guide and bus driver. We were kept informed about the local areas during the trip. The places we went to were beautiful especially Matala beach. A wonderfully organised trip. I left a bag on the bus and immediately contacted Markidis travel who contacted me straightaway and informed me I could collect it the next day. Excellent service. Thank you 😊

What a brilliant sunshine day in every way. Prompt pick up, plenty of time to explore Gortyn and browse shop ( got some lovely gifts too, good price) Matala was just fantastic. The sea, like a mirror, and so warm, crystal clear( though slippy as you enter.. be careful) The caves awesome, though very hot up on/ in them, fun happy place, lot of colour and fun shops/ stalls .. guide great and driver too

The tour guide explained everything and also brought us a little closer to Greek culture. Pick up everything went great. It was a very nice trip! Anytime again 🤩

Lazarus & Costas were amazing! I loved the caves at Matala.

Language-savvy and friendly travel guide Anastasia!