Matala is a place that my grandmother would describe as magical.
I'm not sure what it is but there's something. My grandparents first visited Matala 30 years ago and I've since visited with friends, boyfriends and family many times.
The local town is quiet and quaint. The main pebble beach which Matala is situated along is surrounded by cliffs which are great for hiking over. It's listed one of the top ten beaches in the world, has beautiful deep red sand, and happens to be a nudist beach too! We often make our own mud body scrubs with the clay from the rocks. Try it! I promise you, your skin will never have felt so good.
Matala is not somewhere you'd go on a package holiday, As such, you'll find the people who visit it are usually a tad on the 'hippyish' side, visit year after year, or go on a recommendation. All contributing to the lovely, quaint vibe here..
There's a lot of history in that little place, in the 60's the likes of Joni Mitchel and Bob Marley would play gigs there and stay in the caves. It's even mentioned in one of Joni's songs;
We used to see the guy who this song was about, he always had a flower behind his ear. The story goes that he wears it to remind him of Joni, that they were lovers but he met someone else then regretted it for the rest of his time!
Anyway, you'll hear lots of local stories if you ever visit, sadly there are no gigs in the caves these days however the place does go crazy once a year for a music festival.
The rest of the year the night life is relaxed, it's not where you'd be going for a party getaway. Having said that we did have a night or two night where I vaguely remember getting home. It's somewhere where you make friends with the locals, eat good food, and go for a hike if that's your thing. We used to hike every day to the red beach which is only accessible via boat or walking over the cliffs.
The food is always incredible wherever you eat, I'm a veggie and I have plenty of options. Most restaurants are family run and you'll often find mum and gran in the kitchen cooking up some speciality. If you need a bit more action, Komo beach is a 5 minute drive away, where there's water sports and you can walk for miles.
The flight from London to Crete takes just under 4hours, and flights to Crete and Greece are really reasonable right now.
A taxi will set you back €70 from the airport to Matala and it takes about an hour.
As you drive into Matala it doesn't look like much, but I promise you after you've spent a day or two you'll never want to leave.