Matala is situated at the south coast of Crete, 4 kilometres south-west of the village of Pitsidia, at the end of the Messara valley. The beautiful bay on which Matala is located opens to the west which gives visitors the chance in the evenings to view stunning sunsets.
A beautiful 300 metre half crescent shaped sandy beach is protected on both sides with great cliffs forming a pretty little bay. In the cliffs at the north end of the beach, carved into the rock are caves that are believed to have been inhabited during pre-historic times. Tombs from Greek, Roman and Early Christian periods have been found in the caves. In the 60’s and 70’s hippies from around the world came to live in the caves. The hippies have now long gone, but the caves remain and can still be visited during the day, for their protection, they are closed at night.
Matala is now a popular and reasonably busy tourist resort but if you had came here prior to the hippie invasion, all that you would have seen is a small fishing community with just ten houses, and one taverna, plus, of course, the wonderful beach and caves. A holiday in Matala is a combination of quiet and relaxing days on the beach with a reasonably busy nightlife.
Ruins of an ancient city that sunk into the sea are still visible on the sea bed. An archaeological search has unearthed some traces from the ancient cities of Phaistos, and Gortys, of the palaces built by the nobles. There is also a cave known as "Brutospeliana" and legend has it that the Roman general Brutus was a frequent visitor.
Next to a sandy beach located to the east of Matala, is an archaeological excavation of the Minoan settlement of Kommos. This harbour is thought to date back to the early years of Minoan civilization. It was probably the major port of entry in the Mesara Plain. Monumental buildings near the shore, and paved roads towards Mesara, suggest a customs house. Remains from the Greek era have also been found, a temple built here in the tenth century B.C. is thought to be one of the oldest in Greece.