The beach of Preveli, located about 35km south of Rethymno, also known as Lake Preveli or Phoenix, is located at the exit of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, where the Grand River (Megalos Potamos) flows.
It is the most famous beach in south Crete, and during the ’60s and ’70s, it was a favorite destination for the hippies. The large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, on the banks of the Grand River, gives the region a sense of a tropical landscape. The river which has water all year round, forms a small lake, 500m long, before emptying into the sea.
A big fire in 2010 burnt almost everything of this little paradise, but the palmgrove recovered most of its damage. At the exit of the river, a sandy beach with pebbles and sand is formed, with sea water being very cool. As the area is protected, the beach is not well organized, without any umbrellas.
Preveli gets its name after the nearby historic monastery of Preveli. It is a men-only monastery, founded in the 16th or 17th century and is dedicated to St. John the Theologian. In fact, there are two monasteries, the old and the new but the old one is abandoned.