Most people who visit Matala go to see the caves which are entirely man made an carved into the sandstone cliffs on the western side of the bay. They really are worth a visit. When you climb up and look inside, it is fascinating to see that each cave is completely different. Beds and even pillows are carved out of the stone. One thing that is the same throughout all of the caves is the absolutely stunning view of the beach in this rather unique small bay. No wonder the hippies moved into the caves during the 70s and stayed. Amongst the well known names was Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens.The hippie rave still takes place annually and draws up to 10000 people to party on the beach! Matala seems like a really small town once you get there, but there is a good collection of shops selling all kinds of goods manufactured on Crete, from light cotton clothing to truly beautiful pottery. There is a really comfortable feeling about the village mainly because the traffic is severely restricted in the central village as most cars and buses are parked on the outer edge of the village. The village is also inundated with tourist buses during the day time, but the evenings it is really just the people who are staying either as residents or tourists on holiday and there is a really good atmosphere. The tavernas are good and food is available in every price range. The beach is the gem of Matala. The local authorities are also very good about keeping their beach and even the sand clean. As one heads down towards Matala, one seems to pass many hotels, but don't let this deter you it still is a lovely place and come sunset time, all the bars have a terrace for you to enjoy this spectacular sight as the sun sinks into the sea. The turn off to Matala is clearly marked from the main road from Heraklion which is 75 kms away. From Mires onward it is an easy and gentle drive through the olive groves and through the village of Pitsidia down to Matala.