Located on the south coast, and were most likely used as dwelling places from neolithic times, before being converted into burial chambers during the Roman and early Byzantine era. Nowadays they are better known for the annual festival, with latter day hippies descending upon its beach, in the footsteps as such luminaries as Joni Mitchell (whose song ‘Carey’ was written in deference to Matala), Bob Dylan (allegedly) and Joan Baez, who all came here in the 1960s.
It is found some 25 km from Herakleion, not far from the village of Myrtia. Situated by a river, with highly mythological associations, for the ancients, who believed this to be the dwelling place of nymphs and fairies.
This is one for those who like their caves at a high elevation. Situated 1,700 metres above sea level, Kamares, also known as Kamaraiko, is accessable by a trail leading north, and upwards from the village of Kamares. Beware, it’s quite a hike to the cave from the village, and be of more interest to those with a penchant for archaeology than speleology, as this was an important site in Minoan times, with votive offerings having been found here.