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Exploring Matala, the Greek Hippie Town

Matala is a small town on the coast near Pitsidia, about twenty minutes from Sivas. It makes an appearance in the Greek myth about Zeus and Europa, and the caves carved into the cliffs surrounding the bay were once used as tombs. In the 1960s, all the rich hippies who didn’t know what to do with their lives came to Matala for Woodstock Part II. They lived in those same caves (with the dead people?!) and had concerts on the beach.

Have you ever heard the song “Carey” by Joni Mitchell? No. Well, here you go. Have a listen—it’s a good one, and it was written about Mitchell’s time in Matala.


After our tours of the vineyard and Phaistos, a group of us went to check out Matala for ourselves.

It was even more colorful than your typical Cretan town and full of fun little details, like the tree carved to look like an old man, the flower power VW, and an area of painted sidewalk that commanded us to “dance or die.” I didn’t get a picture of that one because I was too busy dancing.

I’m too young to die.

But the best part was definitely the beach. The sunset that night was the most spectacular sunset I saw during the whole trip. And just as we were leaving, the caves were all lit up. I didn’t get a picture because we were already in the car, but it looked amazing.

The night is a starry dome
And they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon

Sing it, Joni.

Read more about my Cretan adventure here.

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Jess Friedman
Jess is a Canadian-American who’s always ready for the next adventure. She loves all things living, always has a million creative projects in progress, and polishes her nerd badge daily. She is passionate about helping families make and preserve treasured memories that strengthen bonds across generations. You can read more posts by Jess here.

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2 Responses

  1. Just been down to Matala. I’m 68 so a bit late in the day. However never too late to ignite the inner hippy and sing a Joni Mitchel special . Fabulous to see pictures of Matala years ago. Now you can’t see the beach for bodies, however this meant strolling around the town was a pleasure. So atmospheric, so fun…a happy, hippy kind of place.

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