Matala, Heraklion, Greece
30 minutes drive.
The Red Beach is located at location Moudia, 68km southwest of Heraklion and just 800m south of Matala famous resort. To get here you have to walk a trail that begins north of the settlement of Matala and crosses the hill north of Matala. There used to be some signs showing the way. In the beginning of the route you have to climb some rocks and in the final meters you have to descend a steep cliff, but it’s not particularly difficult. After walking 15-25 minutes from Matala and after passing a shepherd’s door (close it back, in order goats not to escape!) you will see the magnificent Red Beach from above. The view from the hill is great and is an ideal place for watching the sunset. Alternatively, if you do not want to hike, you can catch a boat from the Matala harbor.
Reddish sandThe secluded beach is really beautiful, but is vulnerable to the western winds blowing frequently in the region. Characteristic of the coast, as implied by its name, is the reddish sand originating from the rocks of the region. The colors of the sea get a lovely blue-green color, making the landscape really beautiful. The Red Beach is not organized, but there is a primitive stone-wall coffee shop (which is not always open), where you can get some food and drinks. There are also a few umbrellas, which may be already taken if you come late. Thus, it is good to have mats and umbrellas with you, because the only natural shade is offered by a couple of tamarisk trees next to the canteen.
The Red Beach used to be one of the favorite destinations for hippies in the 60's and 70's. Many fans still come to the beach since that time. The beach still remains nudism- friendly (especially its northern part). Indeed, the beach has been voted as one of the top nudism-friendly beaches in the world. Moreover, the Red Beach and its surrounding area is protected under the Natura 2000 international program.
Its northern part is protected by a long rocky limestone, which is a miniature version of the Matala limestone. There you will see a lot of carved rocks, with representation of ancient Minoan and Egyptian sea figures. The sculptures are not ancient, but they have been created by a romantic Belgian old fan of Matala, called Gerard. These amazing sculptures have become an integral part of the beach. Between Matala and Red Beach, near the shore, there is a large called Theosini, that has an amazing view to Messara Bay. The rock has been broken into parts by the sea, forming a big marine cave, called Kouroupi, which can be accessed by boat. The endangered mediterannean seal and several wild pigeons find shelter inside Kouroupi.