Preveli is located about 35km south of Rethymno and 10km east of Plakias. The Beach of Preveli, also known as Lake Preveli or Phoenix, is located at the exit of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge, where the Grand River (Megalos Potamos) flows. It is certainly the most famous beach in south Crete, accepting thousands of visitors every summer. During the ’60s and ’70s, it was a favorite destination for the hippies.

On the banks of the Grand River, there is a large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, which give the region a sense of a tropical landscape. The river, forming a small lake, 500m long, before emptying into the sea, has water all year round. You can walk along the river, under the shade of palm trees and other trees, and start ascending the beautiful canyon. You can swim in the cold ponds formed in the gorge.

A big fire in 2010 burnt almost everything in this paradise, but paradoxically the palm grove 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 due to the river. In the eastern part of the beach, there is a beautiful rock reminding of a heart The beach is not well organized because the area is protected, 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. There are two monasteries, the old and the new, called Piso and Kato Monastery respectively. The old is abandoned and you will meet that a few meters south of the old stone bridge of Preveli.

This landscape, characterized as one of the most beautiful in Europe, seems to have attracted Homo erectus who might used to swim here, before 130,000 years.. The archaeologist Professor of Art History at Providence College in Rhode Island, Thomas Strasser, who conducted excavations in the Southwest coasts of Crete (2008-2009), at the annual meeting of the American Institute scientists (01/07/2010) reported archaeological tools of that distant era inside the Gorge of Preveli.