Matala Caves

Useful Information

Location: Matala, 75 km south-east of Heraklion, Crete.
Open: All year daily [2007]
Fee: Adults EUR 2. [2007]
Classification: SubterraneaCave House
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Neolithic Age caves created.
1st and 2nd century used as tombs.
1960s occupied by hippies.
1971 Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell writes song Carey about the caves.


The Matala Caves are artificial caves in sandstone, cut by man since prehistoric times. They are located above the cove of Matala, on the southern coast of Crete. The face of the cliff is spreckeled with caves, many of them can easily be visited.

Although of great archaeological interest, the caves became famous in the 1960s, because they were used as a place to live by international hippies. Obviously the local administration was not happy with this sort of squatting, but they did little against it. It is said that even famosu people of the 1960s and 1970s, like Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell stayed at the caves for some times. However, finally little remained of the enthusiastic start and the cave were becoming a home to criminals and drug dealers. At least thats what the gouvernment said when they finally closed the caves and cleaned them. Today nobody lives at the caves, but again it is possible to visit them freely.