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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and hiking in the surrounding hills. Boat tours are also available to explore the nearby caves and coastline.
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.
The water colour of the Preveli beach is blue.
The Preveli beach at the Preveli has sand.
The surface of the sea at the Preveli beach is usually calm.
Yes, the Preveli beach is a crowded place.
There are no facilities available at the Preveli beach.
The Preveli beach is accessible via a paved road.
Preveli beach has received 0 reviews with an average rating of out of 5
© All rights reserved. Crete Locals