Matala is the hippie beach of Crete, where hippies used to ( and some still do ) live in caves. Now you can visit those caves and see for yourself how a hipster life looks like. There are some hippie festivals during the summer and otherwise, it has a nice, chill atmosphere. I don’t even know why, but Matala was immediately on my wish list when I came to Crete. Not even some crystal clear waters or pink sand attracted me so much. Maybe I am a hippie at heart.
When I finished working in Crete I had some days off for discovering and of course, I took my course towards Matala. It is quite a long drive from Rethymnon. About a two hour drive. The road there is not so bad because compared to many other roads in Crete this one is an asphalt road all the way there and rather wide. Only, the ride is much longer than I am used to and you know, in Crete one can’t escape hills and curves.
I really like driving, except at times when the road gets so crazy that it slightly freaks me out. One of those times was when I drove through Spili, a little village. It was Sunday, and Sunday is a church day so the tiny streets in that village were filled with cars, people, and a massive traffic jam. My curse word vocabulary was not big enough to relieve my stress. Anyway, I ended up stuck in traffic on a narrow street with an uphill curve, cars right in front and stuck behind me. People did not care about the cars either because they had just been to church and God was with them now.
The second time was a surprising massive turn with a steep rise. There was a sign that the road will rise 10% but I think they forgot to put one zero behind. I had cars behind and in front of me and it was quite funny that we all got so slow after the turn and barely dragged ourselves up. After those two incidents, I safely arrived at Matala.
The beach is unique due to this massive cave wall where people live. Also, I liked the village itself with street art all around and little shops and restaurants. What I did not like so much is that it was more commercial than hippie. Some restaurants were pretty fancy and some shops quite expensive selling made in china stuff.
I chose my lunch spot according to where I could charge my phone. Not the best criteria, but I could not risk driving home with an empty battery. After lunch, I went to discover the caves for a little entrance fee. Some of the top ones are quite tricky to climb. For a person who is afraid of heights, maybe not the best place to live. On the other hand, you have a gorgeous view of the sea and you can go to the beach in under a minute. I would like to try to spend a night there but would definitely prefer camping somewhere if I’d ever move outdoors.
Matala checked ✓… and the ride back home could begin. Driving back was much easier. After completing so many crazy drives in Crete, I slowly started to become a pro. Road trip, anyone?