Matala, at 68km southwest of Heraklion, on the boundaries of the plain Messara and Asteroussia Mountains, is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of Heraklion. It is known for the carved caves in the rocks and the hippy communities of the ‘70s. Matala it is one of just over 400 beaches in Greece that have been awarded a Blue Flag. This exclusive eco-label is given to beaches that offer cleanliness and safe bathing areas and has strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental management and safety. There is a lifeguard and first aid facilities, as well as toilets and showers. A large part of the beach is covered by tamarisk trees, where you can find shade. In the evenings, the beach bars bustle with life giving Matala a festive atmosphere. Matala is located close to Phestos, the second largest palace of the Minoan civilization. Around Matala you will find many options for accommodation, including villas for rent, good entertainment and eating choices.