In contrast to the Cretan capital of Heraklion, Matala was the capital of 'hippies' in the 1970s. This little village on the southern coast of the island was home to young and old people from all over the world who came to be reclusive, at the height of the "hippie" era. Their refuge was the cliff on the beach of Matala, which had natural caves that appeared to have been carved by nature to welcome them. Although today they are empty, these caves are protected by fences, so that other residents or tourists do not intrude during the high season. Matala is busiest during the school holidays of the different European countries, especially Germany. Crammed from April to late October, its beach is deserted during the winter and Matala village plunges into a long, dark winter sleep. As everywhere in Crete, the surrounding mountains, plains and plateaus scattered with olive trees are full of historic sites.
The majority of day-trips in the region of Matala are organised by the respective tourism offices of the hotels on the north coast of the island. Often, people make a stop over here for one night without staying long before leaving to continue on a planned journey.
From the visit to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, to the Minoan ruins of Festos and the palace of Malia, history lovers will find plenty to do. You can also visit the famous Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which embraces the entirety of the Minoan civilization, or discover Fodele, the village where it is said that the painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born, better known by the name El Greco (1541-1614).
If you arrive in the middle of summer, do not overload your luggage, and make sure to bring along light cotton clothes.
Avoid making a call to the UK from your hotel room, otherwise the bill will be quite hefty. Opt for phone cards as there are telephone booths everywhere!
Restaurants are in abundance here. Here you will find typical Cretan dishes such as gyros, Greek salad, slouvakia and moussaka.
On the markets, you can find food, herbs, olive oil and Cretan cheese. In the shops, CDs of local music are sold. The raki is cherished as an institution, taste it and bring a bottle back for your friends.
The Zafiria is more an overnight hotel than a vacation location. ...