This breathtaking, indigenous palm forest with beach is situated 8.5km (11km drive) east of Plakias. The endemic Cretan date palms (Phoenix Theophrasti) can be found on both sides of the lagoon at the end of the Megalopotamos river, which streams into the sea at Preveli beach. The humongous cliffs on both sides of the Preveli gorge make it even more spectacular. The river has water all year through thanks to the 5 springs in the Kourtaliotis gorge, just north of the village of Asomatos.
In August 2010 a fire raged through the forest and the sight was absolutely horrific, but because of the very strong wind during the fire the cores of the trees survived and within a year the forest grew back! The only thing that remains a reminder of the fire are the still blackened trunks.
The beach has a taverna/snack shop, but there are no umbrellas and sunbeds available.
The path on the left side of the river is the best one to have a walk through the forest. It starts on Preveli beach, 50 meter east of the taverna, and goes on to the first rapids in the stream. There is also a little chapel on the other side of the river.
There are several ways to get to Preveli palm forest and beach, by car, by public bus and by boat.
A great option is taking a boat from Plakias (which also eliminates 450 steps!). In the season there are several boats a day going back and forth, the first one usually around 10:00am. The boat drops you off at Preveli beach, literally. The prices are €9,00 one way and €16,00 return (2023).
If you decide to go by car or bus keep in mind that from the parking there are 450 steps down to the beach without shade (and back up again of course) and from the bus stop it is still 500 meters to the parking. For the up-to-date schedules of the bus click on the logo, choose "Departure from Rethymno" and you will find Plakias-Preveli, which goes 5 times a day in the season.
By car you skip the 500 meters to the parking lot but not the 450 steps. Another option is to drive to the other side of Preveli by driving over the stream at Preveli Bridge, turn right immediately and just follow the road (includes driving over a small, old stone bridge). You end up at the parking at Drymiskiano Ammoudi beach. Here you walk over the hill west of this beach to Preveli, which means less steps.
One of the most beautiful hikes in the surroundings of Plakias passes the palm beach and forest, walk 8.
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