Matala Caves, located on the southern coast of Crete, Greece, are a stunning testament to the island’s rich and varied history. These man-made caves, which date back to the Neolithic period, have served as homes, tombs, and even places of worship throughout the centuries.
The caves are nestled in the rocky cliffs overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea. They were first carved out of the soft sandstone by the ancient Minoans, who used them for storage and as living quarters. Later, during the Roman era, the caves were expanded and used as tombs for the wealthy.
In the 1960s and 70s, the caves gained international fame as a hippie haven. Countless young people flocked to Matala to live in the caves, seeking an alternative lifestyle and spiritual enlightenment. Famous musicians such Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens are rumoured to have stayed in the caves.
Today, the caves are a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world to explore their intriguing history and stunning natural beauty. Visitors can climb up to the caves, which are now protected by the Greek government, and see firsthand how the ancient inhabitants of Crete lived and worked.
While the Matala Caves are certainly a must-see attraction for visitors to Crete, it’s important to respect their historical and cultural significance. Visitors are asked not to touch or disturb the carvings, and to stay on designated paths to prevent damage to the fragile sandstone.
The Matala Caves are a fascinating glimpse into Crete’s ancient past, and a testament to the island’s rich and varied history. Whether you’re interested in archaeology, history, or simply exploring the natural beauty of the island, the caves are a must-see attraction that shouldn’t be missed. So why not plan a trip to Crete and discover the secrets of the Matala Caves for yourself?
Admission Fee: 4 euro, reduced 2 euro, free for under 25yo.
Opening Times: Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 19:00