One of the most fascinating places in Crete is the stunning Preveli beach, a unique destination in the south of the island. The splendid beach has a little river running into the sea from the mountains, surrounded by palm trees and offering an incredible experience while visiting Crete. Also known as Palm Beach, this is one of those places that captures the heart and imagination of every traveler. Here are the most important things to know about Preveli beach in Crete.
Where is Preveli Beach
Preveli Beach is located on the south coast of Crete Island, a little over 100 km from the capital of Heraklion and the main airport of the island. It is closer to the city of Chania and its airport, yet still one hour away by car. The distance to the town of Plakias is 10 km, while the city of Rethymnon is 43 km away. The beach and the lagoon are not the only spectacular sights in the area, as the famous and beautiful Monastery of Preveli is located close to the main parking area, the stunning Preveli Gorge can be found further up the river and there are many other interesting places to see nearby. Travellers landing at the airport in Heraklion can reach Preveli beach by renting a car and driving to the south of the island.
How to get to Preveli beach
Getting to Preveli Beach by Car
It is fairly easy to get to Preveli Beach with a car rental from Heraklion or car rental in Heraklion Airport. The trip takes about one and half hours and follows the coastal road towards the west, then driving south through the heart of the island. There is a parking area close to the beach and visitors will have to walk the rest of the way, following the stairs down from the cliff. It takes about 10-15 minutes to go down the trail, and about double that time to come back up.
Getting to Preveli Beach by Bus
There are no direct buses from the capital of Heraklion to Preveli, the best choice would be to rent a car and drive there. There are boats that go to the beach from the nearby town of Plakias or the village of Agia Galini. These are sold as boat trips and half (or full) day excursions.
Best Things to Do in Preveli Beach
Give its relative remote location, visiting the beach of Preveli can be an adventure on itself and offer an inciting experience. There are plenty of amazing sights close to the beach and others a short drive away. Visiting the beach with the family is extremely safe, although during the high season it becomes quite crowded. The fine sand and clear blue waters are perfect for swimming and even snorkeling, while the charming palm trees give shade in hot summer days. There are not sunbeds and umbrellas on this small beach because it is located inside a natural protected area, yet the cold river that forms a lagoon and the charming palm trees make for an unforgettable experience. For the perfect day visiting Preveli Beach, travelers can spend a few hours enjoying the sun and the sea, then admire continue to visit the other attractions in the vicinity, including the famous Preveli Monastery, the spectacular gorge of Kourtaliotiko or the smaller Preveli Gorge, the beautiful Venetian Gorge and many others.
Visit the Monastery of Preveli
One of the oldest and holiest monasteries in Crete, the Monastery of Theologos as it is also known was founded in the 17th century, on the site of an older 10th century chapel. Visitors and admire the church, the icons and other relics inside the museum, while learning about the history of Crete. Visitors should not miss the other site known as the Lower Monastery of Preveli (Kato Preveli), deserted now and offering a quite insightful image into the past of this area. It was founded in the Middle Ages, during the Venetian rule over Crete and destroyed by the Ottomans centuries later. It has a few restored buildings and a small museum.
Explore the Kourtaliotiko Gorge
The spectacular gorge of Kourtaliotiko has been created by the same river that flows into the sea at Preveli beach. Over the course of millennia, it has created this deep gorge for about 3 km, creating some magnificent natural wonders along the way. The gorge starts from the village of Koxare and there are several hiking trails following the gorge along with the road, to discover its treasures. The steep ridges on each side sometimes reach over 600 meters high and are filled with caves, preserving unique vegetation and wildlife, including vultures. There are also small churches, old ruins, stunning waterfalls and unforgettable panoramas along the way.
Admire the Venetian Bridge and the Resistance and Peace Memorial
This charming little bridge is also known as Preveli bridge, as it was actually built by locals with the help of the monks from the monastery. It dates back to the 18th century and is located about 2 km north of the old Preveli Monastery. It is also the starting place for one of the many hiking paths through the stunning Kourtaliotiko Gorge. On the road from the new monastery towards the Preveli Beach, there is a small yet impressive commemorative monument, dedicated to the Cretans and Allied soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, who fought during the Battle of Crete.
Discover the nearby Beaches
The closest bigger resort town to Preveli Beach is in Plakias and there are a lot of activities to try in this lively destination, including the long and enchanting Plakias Beach. It offers all the services a traveler might need, including sunbeds, umbrellas and water sports, while the town has a lot of places to stay and eat, as well as several interesting attractions. It is actually made of several smaller beaches with different names, so visitors can choose their favorite. Between the town of Plakias and Preveli, there are several small beaches, some extremely remote and caught between rocks like Ammoudaki, Klisidi or Skinaria beaches. To the east of Preveli, other small villages and idyllic beaches can be found, like the spectacular beach of Katsouni, found between the longer beaches of Ligres and Agia Fotini.
Where to Stay in Preveli, Crete
Although there is no accommodation option next to Preveli Beach, a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, studios and private apartments can be found in the villages surrounding this amazing destination, as well as the resort town of Plakias. The settlements of Agia Fotini, Lefkogia, Kokkina Chorafia and others are all filled with wonderful accommodation choices. There is also the option of staying in the fascinating city of Rethymno, on the northern coast, or the capital of Heraklion. A good idea is to book the accommodation long in advance of the holiday, as these destinations in Crete are extremely sought after.
Villa Palm River
Ideal for family holidays, this secluded location in Assomatos is located just a few minutes away from Preveli Beach, surrounded by gardens with olive groves and palm trees. It has a capacity of maximum 6 people and offers traditionally furnished rooms, a large swimming pool and splendid views of the mountains.
☎ +30 694 141 7766
Plakias Cretan Resorts
Located right next to the beautiful beach in Plakias town, this splendid resort is a complex of private studios and apartments that also includes three swimming pools and a bar. It is one of the most upscale accommodation options visitors can find in the area, combining the comfort and accessibility to the beach. Preveli Beach is about 10 km away (20 minutes by car).
Located right next to the charming Ammoudi Beach and 15 minutes away from Preveli Beach, this small 2 star hotel has charming rooms overlooking the sea or the mountains, a delicious Cretan restaurant and all the necessary amenities.
Where to Eat in Preveli Beach
Located just a few hundred meters from Preveli Beach to the east, this small family tavern has a terrace overlooking the sea and serves delicious Cretan meals for lunch and dinner. The location is extremely well reviewed by its guests for the great food and warm hospitality.
Located a few minutes from Preveli Beach, this charming tavern is just next to the old Venetian Bridge. It offers traditional homemade food with fresh ingredients, including meat, seafood, salads and desert recipes that are extremely appreciated.
Agia Fotini Tavern
Located in the pleasant village of Agia Fotini, just 4 km from Preveli Beach, this tavern offers amazing food, with a combination of traditional Cretan dishes and Mediterranean specialties. It overlooks the sea and is praised by previous guests.
Best Time to Visit Preveli Beach
Weather is quite nice in Crete most of the time, except a few months in winter when it is too cold and humid for the amazing beaches on the island. The peak of the tourist season is in July and August, but this could also mean a lot of visitors on Preveli Beach, making it extremely crowded. Truth is that the best time to visit Preveli Beach is outside the high tourist season (July – September), when there are lot fewer people, yet the temperature is still warm enough to enjoy the experience.