The trademark of Matala is the ancient carved caves on the hillside of white tufa which stands majestically north of the beach.
Since ancient times the area of Matala has drawn man's attention. The natural bay formed by the rocks emerging from the sea and their favorable position at the end of a valley extending from the interior of the hinterland were considered ideal by the ancient Minoans so to take advantage of Matala as the port that would serve the nearby palace Of Phaistos. Later on with the Romans entering the island will once again serve the shipping needs this time of the city of Gortyna.
The exact date and use of the caves is not ascertainable, but it is speculated by archaeologists that were created for burial purposes during the Roman or Early Christian period. However, caves have been found with strong habitation characteristics with similarly shaped spaces.
Even more recently, in the 1960s, the caves hosted the Hippies movement.Flower children from all over the world found here the freedom and the contact with nature, ideals of their movement, giving the place life again and making Matala known all over the world.
Matala is 70 km away from Heraklion and you can reach there by following the Heraklion - Moires national road until Moires, and then continue south.