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Traditional Villages of Heraklio Prefecture


So small but so famous is the small settlement of Matala. Though it is a poll of tourists and hotels and apartments can be found close to it, Matala reserves it traditional character. The character that along with the sandy beach of Matala, has made back in the 60's the hippies to fall in love with it.

This tiny village 66km on the south of Heraklio city has gathered in the 60's and 70's hippies from all over the world. The local fishermen have started taking advantage of the popularity of their village, and have invested into small tourist industries. Small seaside cafes and souvenir shops that can be found today at Matala are run mainly by the 250 permanent inhabitants.

matala village matala beach

The history of Matala does not of course start 40 years dates back to the prehistoric ages. The caves in the cliff of the Matala bay are artificial and were created in the Neolithic Age. During the Minoan period, Matala has been the port of Phaistos. In the 1st and 2nd century the caves were used as tombs. According to legend Brurus, the Roman general, frequented to one of these caves, which is known as "Brutospeliana".These caves attracted hippies from all over, which occupied them as well as the nearby sandy beach in their search for the hidden "utopia". All day long parties, rock music and drugs have been free at Matala, which have attracted even the most famous rock stars of that time, like Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and others. It was during the military coup of 1967 that due to the oppression of free speech steadily made the hippies that have literally occupied the territory leave.But even today Matala owes a great proportion of its visitors each years to the hippies movement.

koutouloufari koutouloufari village

Close to Hersonisos, a famous holiday resort of Heraklio Perfecture of Crete, lie three small and wonderful traditional villages:

old hersonisos old hersonisos

Piskopiano, Koutouloufari and Palaia Hersonissos. All three of them are that close to the touristy Hersonissos that you can reach them on foot. Koutouloufari and Palaia Hersonissos are usually preferred by locals, who are looking forward to a traditional taverna or a cozy bar, but wish to avoid the crowded Hersonnissos. These three villages are built at the foothill of Mount Charakas. The houses constructed according to traditional architecture by stone impress Greeks and foreign tourists. Also the traditional oil press at Piskopiano is characteristic of the old villages and worth's paying a visit. The taverns at the main square of Palaia Hersonissos ( Tria Adelfia and others), are highly recommended for all those of you who wish to taste the real Cretan cuisine. At Piskopiano Lyhnos Tavern is a good choice for local cuisine lovers. And for those who wish to have their drink there, we recommend.

piskopiano piskopiano village

Kainourgio Chorio, meaning in Greek new village is the name of a traditional village, which dates the middleages. In particular it evolved into the cultural centre of the area during the 14th century and it has been the feud of the Venecitian family Rosa Sagredo and afterwards of Foscolo family. Part of the venetian castle, which belonged to Andrea Foscolo, can be seen today. Moreover at Kainourgio Chorio visitors can discover the winepresses of the period Crete was under the Venetian occupation. These winespresses are the largest of the island.


At an altitude of 610m lies the traditional settlement of Prinias. We do not know the exact date of the foundation of this Cretan village but it is included in the censuses of the Venetian period as well as the census of 1671 (when Crete was under Turkish occupation). Nowadays Prinias has 417 inhabitanata and is one of the most beautiful villages not only of the Perfecture of Heraklio but of Crete island. At this village visitors can find the archeological site of Rizina and the ancient cemetry. For those of you that are more of an adventurus spirit, take my advice and visit the summit of the mountain on which Prinias is built, known as Perdikokorifi. From there you can admire the whole of Heraklio Perfecture ...a view that will leave you breathless.Lastly one should notice the Valley of Prinias famous for its natural, unspoilt beauty. All over the valley one can find rocks with various carves, to which the locals given various names according to their shape ( for instance "old woman's cheese")

heraklio village heraklio village

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