Red Beach {Matala, Crete}

Red Beach {Matala, Crete}

Red Beach

  • Distance – 3 km (will likely be more as you will explore the cliffs and beach)
  • Elevation – estimated at 80 meters
  • Type of Hike – Out and Back
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • TrailheadSouthside of Matala Beach
  • Logistics – Park in the Matala town main parking. The last 100 meters to the Red Beach parking area is full of massive potholes and rocks. Unless you have a 4WD, don’t head here.

Crete is a lovely place to explore. If you are lucky enough to find yourself on this island, make sure to find your way to Matala at sunset. Red Beach in the evening light is amazing and if you scramble back up the cliffside as the sun starts to drop, you will be lucky enough to watch the sun dip into the ocean from a gorgeous cliff.


Matala Beach
The hike starts from Matala Beach, also a lovely place to explore!


This adventure is worth putting on your ‘must do‘ list.


Hiking Details.


After finding a place to park, head towards the beach in Matala. Walk south along the crescent-shaped beach until you hit the restaurants along the tiny cove. Keep walking along the waterfront until you can find a set of stairs up to the main road or follow the waterfront around to the end of the restaurants to go around the last restaurant and then find yourself on a road. You are looking for a sign painted on the road that says, “Red Beach.” Once you find this sign, you are well on your way. You will be hiking up a steep road, which is basically someone’s driveway. After a couple of turns, you will be on a path with stairs that help you quickly gain elevation up the headland.


Signs for Red Beach Crete
I am pretty sure if you can’t find the start of the trail, you can just ask around. There were a ton of signs painted on the walls and streets; pretty hard to miss!


Within a few minutes, you should be on top of the headland. Do not get distracted by the paths that lead you towards the ocean. These goat paths are for watching the sunset from the cliffs; they do not lead to Red Beach!

Continue on the path until you find a gate with locks that people have left there to signify their love for each other. Open the gate and start heading down towards Red Beach. As you descend, there will be a sign for mojitos and drinks and you will see a small building and some palm frond umbrellas.


This is Red Beach.


Red Beach Crete


At this point, expect to see all shapes and sizes of people without a stitch of clothing on as it is a nudist beach. Let’s just say, there are just some things you cannot unsee once you’ve seen them!

The beach is a beautiful cove with soaring cliffs and wonderful rocks to climb over.

To lose the people, head away from the umbrellas and climb over the rocks on the opposite end of the little cove that is Red Beach. The views of the white cliffs are stunning and they gleam in the evening light – sunset is the prime time to visit this beach.


Views from Red Beach
Once you’ve found Red Beach, keep walking to the other end of the cove. The views are stunning and you will have the place to yourself!


We enjoyed most of the sunset from the beach and then just as it was nearly done, we ran up the cliffs to the bluffs and sat there while the giant pink orb sunk into the ocean. It was perfect.


Sunset at Red Beach
I was glad we made it here for sunset. The driving around like idiots and going without lunch was worth it!


Expert Tip. Plan on staying in Matala for the night. After you watch the sun fall off the edge of the earth, eat dinner on the waterfront while the white cliffs of Matala gleam in the moonlight. We had an amazing dinner at Plaka – wonderful food and service with incredible ambiance.


10 Stars!

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