This time we set out for the south of Crete. An amazing route to the center of Crete through the Messara plain leads you to our first stop, the Odigitria Monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary, run and inhabited by monks. It was built during the 14th century and is one of the most historical monasteries on Crete, with a vast land property. It was named after the most famous miraculous icon in the Byzantine Empire. Initially built as a fortress, it still preserves some parts of its original walls.
After a short journey through traditional villages, we reach the famous beach of Matala. This is the place where Zeus, having taken the form of a bull, swam ashore with Europa on his back before dragging her off to Gortys. Both the Minoans and the Romans used the place as their harbor. Nevertheless, for most people, Matala means only one thing: hippies. Back in the late 1960s – 1970s, this little town was a colony of the “flower children”, who lived in the caves that used to be former Roman tombs. Here we will enjoy the crystal waters, the warm sun and lunch by the sea, while later, we can explore the prehistoric caves, carved on the steep rocks of the area.