Due to the characteristic curve of the Megapotamos River, which flows into the Libyan Sea, Preveli ( Πρέβελη ) is one of the most recognizable beaches in Crete. It is located at the end of a deep ravine, which starts below the buildings of the monastery of Kato Preveli. The palm trees and amazing landscape attracts thousands of tourists every year.
When in 2010 the palm forest in Preveli was destroyed by a fire raging in the surrounding hills, it seemed that this place would be removed from the list of tourist attractions of Crete for many years. Fortunately, it turned out that once again nature was able to amaze a man with his ability to regenerate. Already in 2013, only an insightful eye can see the traces of that conflagration, and fresh green leaves forming crowns of palm trees seem to contradict the cataclysm that touched Preveli.
The beach at Preveli can give rise to mixed feelings. Unfortunately, the Spartan conditions that prevail in this place are quite disappointing. There is only one, relatively expensive tavern here, where you will find the only not very clean toilets. The number of sunbeds to be rented is really limited, so arriving here in the noon hours is only sunbathing on towels spread directly on the gravel. In the season, also (but not always) water bikes are available for tourists to swim on the Megapotamos River. Unfortunately, it is not a cheap pleasure, for which you will pay about 10 € per hour.
On the other hand, this place is in many respects truly unique and unique. Although you will find a few other beaches in Crete, where the palm trees cover the area, it will be hard for you to find another one that can boast of being in a deep ravine through which the river flows. By the local Cretans, the lagoon created by the Megapotamos estuary is called the "Limni" lake.
Megalopotamu, the name of the river that flows through Preveli, is a conglomeration of two Greek words μεγα ποταμος, which means no more than a large river. Looking at her during the summer it will be difficult for you to see this great river. However, comparing it to the surrounding, often periodic, streams, this name seems quite adequate, of course for Cretan standards. The flowing water of Megalopotam has its source in the mountains surrounding the Kouartaliotiko gorge. It is crystal clear and extremely cold.
Bathing in the mouth of Megalopotam you can see a very interesting effect, in which lighter sweet water floats on the surface of heavier salt water. At the junction of these water layers a thin turbid surface called a halocline arises.
View of the Megalopotam River
When going to the Preveli beach from the northern coast area, it is best to get to the area of Rethymnon. Overcoming the part of the New National Road constituting the beltway of this city, in the central part, take the road number 97 heading south towards the town of Spili. After covering about 16 kilometers, you will reach a bifurcation allowing you to take the road leading to Koxare. In the distance you will see the Kouartaliotiko gorge, behind which there is another small town called Asomatos. In this village, turn left following the signs towards Preveli. About a kilometer from the ruins of the Kato Preveli monastery is a small, not very visible fork of roads (marked with an informal signpost). A steeply sloping, short stretch of road ends with a small paid parking lot.
The road to Preveli Beach ends with a paid car park
From here you have to take the further path on your own feet. A stone trail leading down the coastis relatively steep, and in places not very comfortable. It is worth defeating him with appropriate footwear on his feet. In several places the paths have been designated viewpoints from which you can admire (photograph) the panorama of the palm forest and the beach of Preveli. The trail ends more or less in the area of a tavern operating here.
You can also get to the beach in Preveli using KTEL vehicles. Every day from the main bus station in Rethymnon there are several courses on the route to the Preveli monastery and to the palm beach.
When traveling around Crete, it is not difficult to pay attention to the fact that most of the beaches there are relatively small and short. For this reason, people who are used to our national Baltic standards, where the sandy coast stretches for kilometers, may experience a special disappointment. However, fortunately, nothing is lost, because Crete in its rich arsenal of various beaches can boast of those that allow for long walks along the coast. One of them, our favorite is the Kommos beach located in the south of the central part of the island.
Diaskari Beach, also known as Green Beach, is less than 3 km from Makry Gialos. This quiet place with a small and simple tavern is a good way to spend a relaxing day away from more crowded places.
Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism. Peace and quiet and an interesting bottom abounding in the marine flora and fauna are the biggest advantages of this beach. Under favorable conditions, crystal clear water allows visibility up to 40m deep into the sea. It should not be surprising that Skinaria is so eagerly visited by diving centers.