Located about 35km south of Rethymno and 10km east of Plakias, Preveli is a renowned beach destination in south Crete. With the Grand River (Megalos Potamos) flowing out of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge and forming a 500m long small lake, the area is home to a large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, giving the region a tropical feel. Despite the destruction caused by a big fire in 2010, the palmgrove has recovered, and the beach at the river’s exit is now a popular spot, with its sandy shore, cool sea water and a heart-shaped rock.
To reach Preveli, one can drive from Plakias to the Monastery Preveli and take a 15-20 minute walk down a steep path from the parking lot. Alternatively, one could drive to nearby Drimiskiano Amoudi and walk the short path that leads to Preveli in just 5 minutes. There are also small boats running from Agia Galini and Plakias to Preveli. The area is also known for its historic monastery of Preveli, founded in the 16th or 17th century and dedicated to St. John the Theologian, consisting of the old and new, Piso and Kato Monasteries respectively. Archaeological tools from 130,000 years ago have been found in the Gorge of Preveli, suggesting that the first Cretans may have lived here.