Mátala is a village on the Southern coast of the Greek island of Crete. According to the Greek myth, Matala was the place where Zeus - in the shape of a bull- went ashore with the Phoenician princess Europa, who was abducted by him. He transformed into an eagle and brought Europe further to Gortys.
In the Neolithic period, numerous caves were dug in the soft and porous rock of the bay. First, these caves were used as tombs during the period of Roman occupation of Crete, in later times also used for living. Until today theycaves have remained the most famous attraction of Matala.
In the 60s, hippies from all over the world settled in the cave dwellings (including many young Americans who refused to participate in the Vietnam War), and established a large commune. Temporarily, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell stayed here. When one of the caves collapsed and a person was killed during that incident, the hippies were expelled from Matala.
In memory of the flower power era, the "Matala Festival" was organized in 2011 for the first time. Also in 2018, this festival will take place again as this great event attracted flower people from former days and tourists alike to Matala.
Today Matala is a fishing village offering the amenities of a modern resort. Cozy taverns can be found right on the beach. From here, you can enjoy a unique sight on the wonderful sunsets. Some cafes and bars offer a variety of entertainment until the early morning. Also, you find shops for the daily needs.
You will find a wide range of tavernas in Matala. Many taverns offer local dishes or even tourist menus. When Matala was discovered by the tourists in the 70's, some taverns have adapted to European standard. However, this has changed recently. A lot of Taverna owners noticed that visitors prefer the typical Cretan cuisine and are now offering accordingly.
The restaurant "Sirtaki" by Vassilis has to be especially recommended. This place is built on two floors and is situated directly at the beach of Matala. From here, you enjoy the beautiful view on the sunset while drinking a glass of Greek wine or a small bottle of Raki personally served by the owner - of course, free of charge.
Also highly recommended is the restaurant "Scala", which specializes in fish dishes and can be found at the end of the village. Direct next door you find the restaurant "Sunset" - here you can enjoy the wonderful view on the beach and the caves from Matala and enjoy a very good greek meal and also good fish. The restaurant "Petra & Votsalo" also provides an excellent card, the new restaurant "Georges Yard" offers dishes of a reinterpretation of Greek cuisine (definitely worth a try). In the "Lions" - due to the size of the restaurant - you always find a free and nice table and the meals can be selected directly in the kitchen, included a friendly and helpful advice.