Preveli beach

Beach description

Nestled approximately 35km to the south of Rethymno and 10km east of Plakias, you’ll find Preveli Beach, also known as Lake Preveli or Phoenix. This gem lies where the majestic Kourtaliotikos Gorge meets the flow of the Grand River (Megalos Potamos). Recognized as the most celebrated beach in southern Crete, it has been a summer haven for countless visitors and was a preferred spot for hippies in the ’60s and ’70s.

In this oasis, a lush colony of Theophrastus palm trees flourishes along the banks of the Grand River, evoking a tropical paradise. The river culminates in a 500m long lake before joining the sea, providing year-round water. You can saunter under the canopy of the palm and other trees, following the river as it ascends through the stunning canyon, and take refreshing dips in the cool pools within the gorge.

In 2010, a major fire devastated this tropical paradise, but remarkably, the palm grove has mostly rejuvenated. At the river’s exit, a beach of pebbles and sand stretches out, where the seawater remains refreshingly cool due to the river. A striking heart-shaped rock adds charm to the eastern section of the beach. Since the area is protected, the beach remains unspoiled, with no parasols.

Venturing to Preveli Beach:

Two main routes lead to Preveli, either from the west or east. One option is driving from Plakias towards the Preveli Monastery, and 1.5km beyond the Kato Monastery of Preveli, you’ll find a spacious car park. Here begins the path descending to the beach. This parking spot offers an extraordinary viewpoint from the towering cliffs to the west, perfect for capturing stunning photos. It’s a 15-20 minute walk to reach the beach, but be prepared for a strenuous climb back up.

An alternative route to avoid the steep ascent involves driving along the paved road to nearby Drimiskiano Amoudi and taking a brief 5-minute walk to Preveli. However, this route doesn’t offer an impressive cliff-top view. You can also opt for a boat ride to Preveli from Agia Galini and Plakias.

The beach owes its name to the nearby historic Preveli Monastery, a male-only monastery established in the 16th or 17th century, dedicated to St. John the Theologian. The old and new monasteries, known as Piso and Kato Monastery respectively, are situated in the vicinity. The former, now deserted, is located just south of the ancient Preveli stone bridge.


Get directions to Preveli beach 

Most frequent asked questions

How to get to Preveli beach?

To reach Preveli Beach, you can either drive from Plakias towards the Preveli Monastery, park about 5km past the Kato Monastery, and follow the trail down to the Preveli beach (around a 15-20 minute walk). Alternatively, you can drive to nearby Drimiskiano Amoudi, take a short 5-minute walk to the Preveli beach, or choose a boat ride from Agia Galini or Plakias.

What is the history of Preveli beach?

Preveli beach has a rich history dating back to the Minoan period. It was an important port for the ancient city of Lappa and was also used as a base for pirates during the Ottoman period.

What is the significance of the palm forest at Preveli beach?

The palm forest at Preveli beach is one of the few natural palm forests in Europe. It is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including the endangered loggerhead sea turtle.

What activities can be done at Preveli beach?

Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and hiking in the surrounding hills. Boat tours are also available to explore the nearby caves and coastline.

What is the best time to visit Preveli beach?

The best time to visit Preveli beach is during the summer months when the weather is warm and the water is calm. However, it can get crowded during peak season, so it’s best to arrive early in the day.

What is the water colour of the Preveli beach?

The water colour of the Preveli beach is blue.

What type of sand is found on the Preveli beach?

The Preveli beach at the Preveli has sand.

What is the surface of the sea like at the Preveli beach?

The surface of the sea at the Preveli beach is usually calm.

Is the Preveli beach usually crowded?

Yes, the Preveli beach is a crowded place.

What facilities are available at the Preveli beach?

There are no facilities available at the Preveli beach.

What is the access to the Preveli beach like?

The Preveli beach is accessible via a paved road.

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