Experience the palm-fringed beauty of Preveli beach
You’d be forgiven for wondering what continent you are on when arriving at Preveli beach. The sight of a mountainous backdrop, a gorge spilling its river into a saltwater lagoon on the beach, and the deep blue of the sea are images of Crete at their very best. But then come the oasis of palm trees and lush vegetation running along the river within the gorge … and it’s a scene that’s straight out of Africa.
The beguiling beauty of Preveli beach, on Crete’s southern coast, has attracted visitors for decades, with the hippies of the 1960s and 70s now replaced by the families and couples of today. Even the Insta-friendly heart-shaped rock emerging from the sea just off the beach gets in on the lovefest.
But the key to Preveli’s popularity goes far beyond its exotic scenery. To spend a day here is as much to explore the surroundings as it is to laze on a gorgeous beach of sand and pebbles.
You can be swimming in the Libyan Sea one minute and in the beach lagoon the next, followed by a picturesque walk up the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. If you get hot on the way, just take a dip in one of the river’s deliciously refreshing pools.
And if that’s not enough, don’t forget to visit the nearby Preveli Monastery, made up of two buildings (Upper and Lower Preveli). Upper Preveli is still inhabited and famous for its 13th century icon of St John the Divine.
- By car or taxi: 38-40km depending on the route (50mins)
- By bus: Regular service (1hr)
From Plakias (nearest village)
- By car or taxi: 10-13km (depending on the route, about 20mins)
Arriving by car, there are two paths you can follow as you approach the beach:
- The more difficult route involves following the sign to a parking area around 1.5km after the Lower Monastery. From here it’s a 15-20min walk along a path, including 400 steps down the beach. Your reward will be a wonderful view from above the beach, but it’s not an easy walk and will require a stiff hike back.
- For easier access, turn left at the bridge before the Lower Monastery and follow the sign to Drimiskiano Amoudi beach. It’s a straightforward (if not quite as picturesque) walk down to Preveli Beach from here.
- You can enjoy the scenery of Preveli beach all year round, but swimming and sunbathing are best from April to October.
- If you do visit in July-August, do so in the early morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler and there are fewer people.
April-June and September-October are the best and quietest months to visit.
- There’s a simple canteen with soft drinks and snacks but Preveli beach has no other facilities and no umbrellas or sunbeds.
- There’s a €2 fee for the parking which goes towards the environmental protection of the area.
- Make sure you have everything you need for a day in the sun.
Beaches are delicate ecosystems so please help keep them in the best possible condition and leave only your footprints.