Matala is a secluded resort near the southernmost point of Crete, the preferred haunt for those who prefer no-frills beaches with a sensation of remoteness. Although it has become a popular tourist destination, it still retains the charm and character of the quiet fishing village it started as 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. Nobody knows quite who started caves but it seems likely that they were first hollowed out as Roman or early Christian tombs. Matala it is one of just over 400 beaches in Greece that have been awarded a Blue Flag. 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. There are numerous accommodation choices in the area, including exquisite villas to rent.