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 2023, this festival will take place (hopefully) 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 is highly recommended in this context. This restaurant is built on 2 floors and is located directly on the beach of Matala. Enjoy the beautiful sunset and a glass of Greek country wine or the small bottle of raki that the chef will bring to your table personally - free of charge, of course.
The tavern "Alexis Zorbas" is also located directly on the beach - with a wonderful view of the offshore islands and the fantastic sunset - where guests will find a typical Greek selection of dishes of excellent quality. The familiar and lovable setting in this tavern makes eating a real pleasure (we can personally highly recommend the tavern). The restaurant "Petra & Votsalo" also offers an extensive menu with delicious dishes, the new restaurant "Georges Yard" offers dishes from an unusual interpretation of Greek cuisine (definitely worth a try). The restaurant "Scala", which specializes in fish dishes and can be found at the end of the village, is also recommended.