With a palm grove, saltwater lagoon and dramatic Cretan gorge as scenery, Preveli Beach, in southern Crete, takes exotic to another level.
You’d be forgiven for wondering what continent you are on when arriving at Preveli Beach. The sight of the mountains in the background, 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. Spending a day here allows you to also explore the surroundings as well as lazing on a gorgeous beach with sand and small 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, you might be interested in visiting 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.