Matala is a small fishing harbour which, in the 60ies, became a meeting point of hippies. It's still a little hippie place with a beautiful beach in a bay caught between cliffs in about 9 kilometers distance from Kamilari.
The most remarkable thing here, except the little covered market with many souvenir shops, is probably the beautiful natural location of the village caught in cliffs and the old caverns dug into the soft clay sandstone in the Neolithic Age. With stone beds, fireplaces, and connections to other caves, the stone-age people already created a perfectly cultivated home decor. Later the early Christians buried their dead people in the caves of Matala – sarcophagi carved in rocks have been found here.
From the caverns cross the village and go ahead in the direction of the bars at the end of the beach. You'll find a small, carved in rocks, church, when you're turning left in the small and narrow "streets". Have a look into this nice natural church.
There's a paid parking area in front of the beach as well as a supermarket and public toilets and showers. It is also nice to have a drink or coffee in one of the tavernas at the beach and watch the scenery.
At night, Matala is also a good place to have a drink or to dance to Cretan or occidental music.
Red Beach of Matala
From Matala, you can reach "Kokkini Ammos" the so-called "Red Beach" within 30 minutes walk. The path is signposted just before the village bar area begins, and it's better to wear closed shoes climbing somehow into the next southern bay. There's no shade on the track, and no water source on the beach, so please bring yours.
The track itself already deserves the (reasonable) effort: before descending down to the beach, you have from the top of the hill, on one side, the view of the Ida mountain range with the Psiloritis summit over the bay of Matala; and, on the other side, towards the South, the succession of a serial of cliffs in one of the wildest areas of the island.
Besides, the Red Beach itself is a jewel: red or orange sand, deep grey stones, crystal clear water and white and ochre cliffs. It's also one of the best places to swim in the area and there even is a dedicated area for nudists.