Beach festival at Matala, Crete

The annual festival of Matala beach. A large hippie movement used to live here in the nearby caves. Every summer, a festival is organized with music and dancing until the morning.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

I am on board the ship to Heraklion, Crete. My final destination is Matala. 

The ship is full, since it is summer. I have met a girl with her dog and hanged out together.


At dawn, I could see Crete from a distance as the ship was approaching. I have traveled many times on this ship and I always enjoy just sitting and watching Crete getting near me. It looks like it emerges from the water.

Matala is on the other side of the island and I had to take the bus to go there. The bus that was already there got packed, so I had to wait for the next one. This one also got full but I managed to take one of the front seats, so I could see the places we would pass by. Next to me, a young lad was sitting who was also coming from Athens. His friends were waiting for him at Matala. He worked in Athens as a singer. 

We reached Matala after about an hour. The place is very special. It is a small fishers' village with a beautiful beach, but since the time that a group of hippies had come and stayed there for some time, the whole place changed and now lives of tourism, with many different shops.

I head to the beach which is crowded and I want to go and see the caves where hippies used to live. I had to pay a three euro fare to enter. This place is also packed.

People start to gather in front of the stage that is set for the show that will take place on the beach. The place is really crowded. The mood is great and there is a lot of fun. Some still swim at the sea.

The music started and many famous Greek singers perform on stage. I got my food and drinks from some special stands that are spread around the place. There are really long queues so you have to be a bit patient.

People are dancing and having fun until the first light of the day. At some point at night I looked for a place to sleep on the beach, but everywhere was full of sleeping bags. I had not brought one with me and during the night it was rather humid and windy. I thought I should go inside the village where there was less wind. I found a staircase of a house that was surrounded by walls and I slept on the landing. In the morning, the owner could not go through me to get out of his home and he apologized for waking me up! He said there was no problem with me sleeping there and that I could go on sleeping. Nevertheless I woke up and went in a nearby cafe that had just opened to have breakfast and a hot drink because I had a long day in front of me.

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Location

Beach festival at Matala, Crete

Epar.Od. Gortinas - Matalon Matala
Timpaki, Crete, Greece