A green lagoon surrounded by palms, a rugged hiking trail and irresistible views. Welcome to the walk that starts and ends at Preveli Bridge, a beautiful bridge near Plakias. We are in Crete for a week of rest, but this walk is high on our list and we intend to leave early this morning. After breakfast and a short drive to Preveli Bridge, our hiking adventure begins (for directions see the bottom of this blog).
Start walking at Preveli Bridge
We park our car at the Preveli Bridge. We admire the cobbled Venetian bridge from the 18th century and take the dirt road on the right side of the bank. The road leads us along the river and uphill, a little later. The sparkling water flows below us. It is quiet; not a person to be seen and we walk alone on the blistering warm sandy road.
Little chapel on the way
After a fifteen minute walk we arrive at a small chapel. The gate can be opened, but the door of the church is locked. We admire the charming white building and continue walking. The road leads us down, back to the river. The pink oleander stands out against the yellow meadows and we enjoy this enchanting splendor of colour.
We continue walking between the rock walls. When we bend over we have a view of the river in the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. We feel a bit dizzy bending over the edge, but we do want to look inside the Gorge so we are very, very careful. As we stand back up again, we enjoy the great views, both in front and behind.
Palm Forest en Preveli Beach
We continue on a narrower path. A little up, a little down, until we finally catch a glimpse of the palm grove and Preveli Beach A few bends further on, a view emerges that we have rarely seen before. Magnificent! Nothing describes it better than that!
We enjoy the tranquility and the panorama. This is what we do it for, Crete at its best! Although we can't get enough of it, we continue on the sandy path. A little further on we arrive at a parking lot. From there we walk down. So many steps, we do not even try to count them. Finally we arrive at Preveli Beach. A sign points us in the direction of the palm forest.
Take a break at the tavern
We walk along the lagoon via a small path lined by palms on both sides. In a small, shady cove we take off our shirts and cool off in the green-blue water of the lagoon. The brackish water does wonders for our tired legs. After the welcome refreshment we walk back to the Preveli beach and satisfy our thirst and hunger at the simple tavern. A Greek salad and a bowl of yogurt with honey; our day can't get any better.
Over the river through the other side
But we still have to go further! Rested and well, we cross the beach to the other side. We first wade through the mouth of the river and our shoes turn out to be less waterproof than we hoped. With wet feet we climb the steps on the other side of Preveli beach. We arrive at a gate, here we have to go up a narrow path to the left. We place our feet carefully along the purple flowering thyme bushes and some other shrubs with nasty spines. We try to avoid them as much as possible.
Orange dots mark the path
Although orange dots mark the path, we see another path that suits us better. Stubborn as we are, we leave the orange marking for what it is and choose our own path. But over the top of the hill our 'own' path ends and we are lost. Not a good choice…. Shall we go back, or shall we continue? We see a really tiny 'sheep path' running through the thyme and thorn bushes and since we don't feel like walking back, we take it.
The further we walk the more we realize that we made the wrong choice. The thorn bushes are unavoidable and our legs are covered with scratches. When we stop for a while and don't know what to do anymore, we see a hiker in the distance left of us, who is probably walking on the right path! But to get there we have to cross a meadow and climb over a fence.
We walk between the mean bushes to the rickety fence. It is not easy to get over the fence and we are less limber than we thought. After a few failed attempts, we finally get it done. What a relief! We walk to the other side of the meadow and not much later we are back on track. We now stay neatly on the route and follow the markings. The path leads us along the right side of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. Although we find the left side of the gorge more beautiful, we still enjoy the wide views.
We walk along the lagoon via a small path lined by palms on both sides. In a small, shady cove we take off our shirts and cool off in the green-blue water of the lagoon. The brackish water does wonders to our tired legs. After the refreshment we walk back to Preveli beach and satisfy our thirst and hunger at the simple tavern. A Greek salad and a bowl of yogurt with honey; our day can't get a n y better.
Directions hike from Preveli Bridge
The route is approximately 8.5 kilometers long. With a break it took us about 3 hours.
The walk starts at the Preveli Bridge, where you can also park your car.
If you stand with your back to the bridge, walk to the right bank and turn into the wide dirt track.
Keep following the path. You pass a small church with a fence around it. You walk down a bit and follow the path further.
You keep following the path and it leads you past beautiful views of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge and later on, on Palm Forest.
When the path splits, turn right and walk up until you reach a large parking lot.
Cross the car park and follow the path down towards Preveli beach.
Via many steps you arrive at the beach of Preveli. Here you can rest for a while, eat something at the tavern.
Halfway through the beach, a small path leads you right through the palm forest. Please take a moment to walk through this. To continue the walk, you have to walk back the same path.
Back on the beach, cross the mouth of the river and walk up to the steps on the other side of the beach.
Climb the stairs to the gate. Immediately after the gate, take the small path to the left. The path is sometimes hard to find, but keep following the orange dots. You are now following the trail along the other side of the gorge.
Keep following the path with the orange dots and you will arrive at Preveli Bridge again.
Would you like to take more beautiful walks around Plakias? Take a look at the website Beautiful Plakias. Prefer to take a walk in the Netherlands? Then take a look at my walking page for the Netherlands.