Exploring the Hippie caves of Matala | Traveler by Unique


Matala beach

Visitors can find Matala beach at the very ends of a small valley. The beach is like an enclosed bay surrounded by huge rocky mountains. From the Matala beach, visitors can enjoy stunning views over the tiny isles called “Paksimadia”. This 300m long beach features a combination of fine pebbles with gold sand and irresistible clean and crystal clean waters. It has to be noted though, that the bay is not protected by the wind. If it happens to be windy, the beach becomes very wild with some massive waves. For those who seek some adventure, swimming there and diving from the rocks can be the ideal option.

Matala beach has a unique and vibrant atmosphere. As an organized beach, visitors can find every kind of amenity that meets their needs. Umbrellas and sunbeds are available along with showers and toilets. The location is also ideal for those who are interested in sports. At Matala beach visitors can find facilities and equipment for golf, beach volley and water sports. The beach provides also fine dining options and bars where visitors can enjoy refreshing and tasty cocktails.


Matala caves

Although Matala is an incredible beach with refreshing waters which are surrounded by the spectacular and full of trees scenery, people visit the location due to the infamous caves that can be found there. The caves form the most notable feature of this location as they are carved into white washed rocks since antiquity. These caves can be found in the northwest side of the Matala beach.

Visitors who enter the caves are amazed by the interior structure that proves that these caves were used as accommodation facilities. More precisely, the caves include multiple rooms, beds, windows and stairs. Indeed, archaeologists suggest that the Matala caves were used as houses during the prehistoric era. Throughout history, these caves charged purpose for a lot of times. It has to be noted that, during the Roman and Christian periods, the Matala caves were used as tombs. The exploration of these unique caves is an astonishing experience as it offers unique images and important insights on how people used to live.

Exploring the Hippie caves of Matala 1

The caves in Matala beach became increasingly popular during the period between 1960s and 1970s. This is because members of the hippie movement made these caves their home. During that period, thousands of hippies made Matala the place where ideas were freely expressed and a place where love and creation were cherishing. The hippies that were living in the caves of Matala were famous for their signature slogan “Peace Man” and the two fingers of victory. Back then, the surrounding area was not developed and hippies made this spot their preferable location as it was providing the perfect sense of freedom and isolation. Sooner or later, the caves of Matala became famous around the world as an alternative form of accommodation where people were living freely and enjoyed their lives at the maximum. People from around the world were gathering in Matala and lived there peacefully. Matala started to attract famous people such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez and Cat Stevens, who visited the beach and stayed at the caves.

Despite the popularity of the beach and of the caves, the hippie movement was expelled from Matala during the period of the military junta in Greece. The authorities opposed the ideas and the philosophy of the hippie movement and managed to limited hippies in other areas of the Island or forced them to leave the Island. Since then, Matala beach and the imposing caves were officially established as a protected archaeological sight. Today, visitors can enter the caves of Matala and try to unfold the mysterious history and atmosphere of the place. However, it has to be noted that accommodation inside the caves is forbidden.


Exploring Matala

The broader area of Matala includes some spectacular sites which are ideal for exploration. Despite the infamous caves of Matala, visitors can find several other caves that are carved into the rocks along the coastal line. These particular caves can only be accessed by boat. The Greek mythology suggests that the cape that can be found south of Matala beach is the location where the ships of Menelaos wrecked.

For those who like sightseeing, Matala provides many options. At the southeast side of the Matala village there is an ancient temple as during antiquity, Matala was the port of Phaistos. In the area, visitors can also find the church of Virgin Mary which was built in the rocks. This particular church is of great importance as it was used as a catacomb during the Christian prosecutions. The broader area of Matala is officially listed in the Natura 2000 program as a cultural heritage and as a protected natural landscape.