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What Can I Expect at Matala Beach Music Festival in 2024?

The Matala Beach Festival is one of Europe’s biggest free music festivals, and is a mix of entertainment and relaxation. The International Matala Beach Festival on Crete will happen this year from Jul 5-7 and will transport visitors back to the hippie era with music events, sports, and art activities for children. The festival will include people of all ages and will last for three days.

 

Where is Matala?

Matala is a small town on the southern coast of the island of Crete and is known specifically for the Matala Beach Festival. Visitors come from all over the world to listen to Matala Beach Festival’s music and to marvel at the beautiful sidewalk art. The unique selling point of the Matala Festival? It’s free of charge!

Matala Beach

Matala Beach is one of over 400 beaches in Greece that have been given a Blue Flag. This exclusive eco-label is for beaches that offer clean and safe swimming and have strict requirements for water quality, environmental management, and safety. There is a lifeguard and first aid, and also toilets and showers.

Also near the beach are environmental organizations, like the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.

Matala | Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer
Matala | Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer

Who is Featured at Matala Beach Festival 2024?

The headliners for Matala Festival are now released. You can find the full schedule here.

 

History of Matala Beach Festival

The festival began in 2011 as an homage to the hippies of the town’s past, and it typically takes place in mid-June. Ex-hippies from Germany first started the Matala Beach Festival, and they first called it “Hippies Reunion.” Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Matala was a major pilgrimage site for hippies in Europe. The focus of the hippie commune was the promotion of happiness, freedom, community, and love. 

 

In the 1960s and 70s, the hippies lived in the beachside caves of the town. These caves were built by settlers in the Neolithic times and were used as Roman tombs back in the first century.  The most famous visitors who lived in Matala from abroad were Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, and Joni Mitchell. After a short stay, the hippies were driven out of the fishing town of Matala by the junta in the 1960s. Nowadays, the caves are roped off.

Matala | Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer
Matala, Not Far from Agia Galini

How do I get to Matala?

The town of Matala is in the prefecture of Heraklion and is on the southern coast. Roads to reach Matala are in good condition and the drive from Heraklion takes about one and a half hours. 

 

You can arrive in Matala by car or by bus. If you are traveling by car to Matala, be aware that you might need to find parking outside of the main town. There is one large car park in the city, but it fills up quickly. If you want to get to Matala by bus, the timetable and bus tickets can be found online

 

Where do I stay in Matala?

Matala has a fair number of hotels and beachfront accommodations. For those on a budget, there are campsites at Matala Beach. These campsites are quite basic and do not have a website to make a reservation. However, there is a Facebook page and you can reach the camp hosts by phone at +302892045720.

Matala Beach Caves | Photo by Milada Vigerova
Matala Beach Caves | Photo by Milada Vigerova

What is Matala’s Beach like?

During the high season, the beach of Matala is jam-packed with lounge chairs and sun umbrellas. It gets crowded during the day and generally has a lifeguard on duty. The ambiance is quieter in the evening when you can sit in one of the low-key tavernas and enjoy a view of the sea. 

 

What is Near Matala Beach

If you want to avoid the crowds on Matala Beach, you can go to the nearby Red Beach or Kommos Beach, which are within walking distance. For history buffs, Phaistos and Gortys are worth visiting. Both are hubs for archaeologists. If you are a hiker, you will love visiting Agiofarago Gorge. When you finish your hike, you can swim and cool down at Agiofarago Beach.

Matala | Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer
Matala, Not Far From Agia Galini

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