Crete - Messara Bay

Project areas

Crete - Messara bay

The bay of Messara is located in southern Crete, 65 km from the city of Heraklion. The nesting beach has a total length of 8 km, and great natural beauty. Building and tourist pressure is observed in a few places, thus the area offers moments of peace to its guests.

Messara bay has been included in the European Ecological network NATURA 2000.

You can meet the volunteers of ARCHELON and learn more about sea turtles by visiting the Information Station at the entrance of Matala.

Attention beach users!

We all share this beach with the Loggerhead sea turtles, which lay their eggs here every summer. Sea turtles are globally protected species.

How to enjoy the beach without disturbing the breeding sites of the sea turtles

We are all welcome in the beach from sunrise to sunset. Please avoid the beaches during night hours.

Also, keep in mind that…

  • driving on the beach and sand dunes is forbidden
  • all beach furniture and umbrellas must be put away at night to allow space for sea turtles to nest.
  • the use of artificial lights, bonfires and parties on the beach at night are not allowed.

How can you help?

  • The protective cages over the nests are important – please respect them.
  • The hatchlings must reach the sea on their own – please do not touch them.
  • The beaches must stay clean – please do not litter.
  • Request ARCHELON’s educational presentations in your hotel or camping site.

Turn off or cover the lights! Mother- sea turtles need free space in dark and quiet beaches to come ashore and lay their nests. When the baby turtles hatch, they will find their way to the sea by following the light of the moon and the stars. Artificial lights on the beach confuse the hatchlings, which will lose their way to the sea, and will die from dehydration or get run over by cars.

More than 500 volunteers from all over the world help us protect the sea turtles in Greece every year. In 2022 about 110 sea turtle nests were recorded and thousands of baby turtles found their way to the sea with the volunteers help.

ARCHELON the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece was founded in 1983 and is a non-profit Association active all over Greece. All of ARCHELON activities on Crete, which include monitoring and protecting the reproduction of sea turtles as well as raising public awareness, are performed in close collaboration with the local authorities.


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