On a small bay of the Libyan Sea on the south coast of Crete is the unique palm beach of Preveli. Behind the sandy beach is a mountain stream that runs into a gorge lined with Cretan date palms. This unique 'tropical landscape' is certainly one of the most photographed bays on the island. Do as the locals do and enjoy the view again and again while relaxing on the descent.
There is no road leading to Preveli Beach and the palm canyon. You can either get there in the morning by boat from Plakias and Agia Galini - or you can hike down in about 20-30 minutes from the large car park. You reach it via a spur road from the road to the Piso Preveli monastery.
Soon after the Ottoman bridge at the Kato Preveli monastery, the Megalopotamos enters a desert-like canyon with reddish rock walls. For the last kilometre, this canyon resembles a palm oasis. Then the river widens and winds over a coarse sandy beach and loses itself in the Libyan Sea.
On the shadeless beach, sunbathers lie between warm salt and cold fresh water. Trails lead into the palm grove. Clambering, wading and partly swimming, you can hike up the river over cataracts - an adventurous pleasure even for older children. When the river has relatively little water in autumn, you can even hike to the Ottoman Bridge and back again - but great caution is called for. You also need a waterproof bag for your valuables.
old towns fascinating
ancient sites imposing
boat trips extraordinary
stalactite caves adventure
& thrills secluded
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