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Matala – South Crete

Self Drive 


Matala has become legendary thanks to Greek mythology: here Zeus, in the form of a bull, landed with Europe, after having kidnapped her, and before taking her to Gortina and making her mother of Minos, the future king.

Matala hosted many Hippies in the 60s and 70s, who came to stay in its famous caves. That was the time when a large group of artists, including Janice Joplin, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, spent their days and nights under the Cretan sky, in the pretty fishing village of Matala

Arrival Instructions

On arrival to Herklion Airport, pls head to Danaos Office No 11 to get your details for your trip

Package includes

  • 4nights accommodation in Matala with breakfast

  • Arrival & departure transfers to and from Heraklion Airport

  • Local Taxes

  • VAT

Package does NOT include

  • Accommodation tax

  • Extra meals

  • Tips

Cancellation policy

  • 14days prior to arrival full cancellation fees

Day 1


On arrival in Heraklion, you will collect your car and drive south to Matala. A safe natural harbour on the Bay of Messara, blessed with a gently sweeping sand and pebble beach, the place in legend where Zeus swam ashore in the guise of a bull with Europa on his back. Many people make this village their base for Cretan holidays, as it is so central on the south coast, and away from the over-development of the north coast. The beach is 250m long and 45m wide. Matala has something for everyone. Although it has become a popular tourist destination it still retains the charm and character of the quiet fishing village it started at the beginning of the 20th-century, and the laid-back lifestyle of the hippies of the 60’s and 70's lives on. Half the beach is fringed by tamarisk trees, leading the eye on to impressive formations of sandstone rock cliffs with their famous caves sliding into the sea at an odd angle, creating one of the most unusual beachscapes on the island. Overnight Matala

Day 2


Matala is ideal for those who want to spend their holidays near lovely beaches, large archaeological sites and many villages which retain their traditional atmosphere. Don’t miss visiting Agiofarago, which means Gorge of Saints or Holy Gorge. It owes its name to the hermits who used to live there in total isolation. According to tradition 300 hermits lived quietly, each sitting on a different rock. The beach at the exit of the gorge is stunning, with fine pebbles and clear blue water, which is usually calm. West of the beach a beautiful rocky arch is formed, beneath which you can swim. Vertical cliffs surround the beach. If you carry your sports shoes, you are encouraged to climb the rocks to the east and go to the top. The view here is fantastic. Just behind, there is a hidden sea lake with brackish water of incredible beauty. It is called Vourvoulitis and communicates underwater with the open sea. Overnight Matala

Day 3


For whose you are interested in history a visit to the Palace of Phaestos is a must. It is one of the finest of all Minoan palaces. The preserves of the old and new palace can be seen to nowadays. Excavations in the area began in 1884 and after the declaration of the Cretan State as independent in 1898, continued between 1900-1904. The beautiful natural setting for one is something that should not be missed. Unlike Knossos, where walkways of scaffolding scared the Palace and much has been roped off, to prevent access to visitors who must look at it from a distance, Phaestos is an up close and personal experience. The site is almost never crowded, and you can idle around and discover the place at your own speed and time experiencing some of the most spectacular views that Crete has to offer. Overnight Matala

Day 4


During your stay in Matala, don’t miss visit Preveli. Preveli reminds of an exotic lagoon. It is an oasis of palm trees with crystalline greenish waters and fine soft sand. Kourtaliotis River ends at this wonderful beach, creating a delta. Apart from the superb palm trees, lush vegetation surrounds the beach and the river, creating a dreamy landscape. The palms are of the kind of Theophrastus, and they create thick shade that protects the visitors from the sun. Under the palm trees, you can see people resting and children playing around the water that flows playfully. The river exits into the sea right at the beautiful beach of Preveli. The beach is sandy, with pebbles. The waters are cold due to the river. The flora around the beach creates natural shade and attracts people who spend their day at the beach. At one end of the beach, a few meters from the shore, is a big rock in the sea that looks like a heart or a mushroom, and it is a favorite spot for pictures. In general, the photogenic landscape of Preveli Beach attracts photographers and influencers who want to take photos for social media. You can swim in the salty seawater in the lake, under the palm trees. You can also walk in the canyon, under the shade of palm trees. Overnight Matala

Day 5


Today, you will return to Heraklion Airport to deliver the car and catch your international flight

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