To the north of Vathy, we come across the world-wide famous beach of Matala. It is an arm of land made of porous stone, weathered by the fury of the waves, winds and saltiness. As a result, tenths of caves, caverns and hollows have been formed. The bay was chosen by the Minoans to become the harbour of Festos after the destruction of Kommos and the port of Gortys, during Roman times, when Gortys was chosen to be the capital of Crete by the Romans.
During the 60’s and 70’s, Matala constituted the point of gathering for restless youth and rebels from all over the world, as was the movement of the Hippies during those times. Vestiges of those times are still to be found here, through the youth festivals that take place annually, gathering hundreds of young people from Crete and abroad.