Along the beach and beside the ruins of the Minoan city of Lames, some fishermen had built a small settlement, Plakias and began to build their lives there. The village was called Plakias because it was built on the prolongation of an underwater plate (plaka=plate), located in the middle of the south coast of Crete. Plakias village is nestled in a fertile valley formed at the exit of Kotsifou River and located within walking distance from the beaches of Polyrizos, Korakas, Souda, while nearby can be found Damnoni, the quiet beach of Ammoudi, Schinaria and the famous lake of Preveli. Kourtaliotis gorge also crosses the area.
Plakias beach is one of the largest beaches in this area, since it starts from the village and extends to the east, offering all amenities to the visitors.
One of the attractions in Plakias is an old mill, a few kilometres outside the village, as well as the church of the Zoodohou Pigis (Life Giving Spring), which is built on the ruins of an older structure. At a close distance is located also the famous Monastery of Preveli and the picturesque mountain villages of Myrthios, Sellia, Rodakino and Kali Sykia.
The traditional festivals in Plakias are quite a few, such as sheep shearing, the feast of the fisherman and festivals of raki and tourism, in which you can participate if you happen to be in the area.
The distances to the three main cities of Crete Island are: Rethymno 38 km, Chania 96 km and Heraklio 114 km.
Plakias has wonderful beaches with crystal clear waters, some less and some more crowded. These beaches are located one after the other, between the slopes of the mountains fading into the blue water
Is one of the longest beaches in Crete, 1.3 km long. It is an ideal destination for surfing and diving as there is a diving centre. The beach is sandy, well organized with sun loungers, umbrellas and showers, lot’s of Cretan taverns which are serving local and international delicacies and also has enough space for parking.
The eastern part of the great beach of Plakias is called Paligremnos. Characteristic of Paligremnos are the nearby huge vertical rocks that rise to great heights and are a popular climbing field. Next to Paligremnos, there are some small caves, which were used as a refuge during the German occupation.
Moreover, in this area, when it is a full moon and especially since the beginning of September until the end of January, the moon is reflected in the sea and big squids go out on the sand.
Is a long sandy beach with crystal clear waters, located just 3 km east of Plakias. The beach is at the exit of a small green valley running through Finikas River. Is organized beach with sun loungers, umbrellas and water sports.
Is located 5 km east of Plakias. The beach is relatively large with beautiful turquoise waters and thick white sand. It is well organized beach with umbrellas, showers, changing rooms, water sports, diving school, taverns, snack bars etc.
Mikro & Megalo Ammoudi Beaches
Is an organized sandy beach 7 km east of Plakias. The thick white sand and clear blue waters of the beach will impress you. The beach is also ideal for diving as there is a diving school on the beach.
Schinaria Beach (Click for more info)
Is located 7 km from Plakias. It is an organized beach with sand, fine pebbles and crystal clear blue waters. For diving enthusiasts this beach is ideal as its rich seabed is ideal for exploration. There you may find a diving school.
Is an organized sandy beach located 15 km west from Plakias.
Preveli Beach (Click for more info)
Is approximately 10 km east of Plakias and is one of the most famous beaches of southern Crete. The beach is at the exit of Mega Potamos, a river which gets the waters of the imposing Kourtaliotiko gorge and the Fretian Gorge. On the banks of the river is formed the second largest palm grove of Crete, with a sandy beach with a pebbled bottom.
The overall picture of our municipality is influenced by two rivers, which helped to create the two extraordinary gorges,
Kotsifos gorge (which is noted for the high number of Cretan endemic plant species that grow there)
Agios Nikolaos Church is located in the middle of Kotsifou gorge
and Kourtaliotis gorge
Kourtaliotis gorge is one of the most magnificent natural attractions of Crete. Up to three kilometres in length and with lush vegetation, Kourtaliotis gorge takes its beginning from the Koksare village and goes between the mountains of Kouroupa (984 m) and the Dry Mountain (904 m) to end up at Preveli beach washed by the Libyan Sea.
Along its length, huge cliffs of limestone, reaching 500 meters in height, are full of caves, where many species of birds are nesting, especially raptors (the cliffs on the side of the gorge provide a roosting site for the Lammergeier vulture), making the Kourtaliotis gorge an important biotope, not only of domestic, but also of international importance. There are also clusters of Theophrastus palms (Phoenix theophrastii) in the canyon, making it the second largest palm forest of Crete.
Kourtaliotis gorge or Kourtaliotiko canyon takes its name from the air whistling that sounds like Kourtala (=castanets) when northern winds are blowing going past the cavities in the rocks.
In the middle of the route and deep inside the canyon, when following the steps along the Koksare – Asomatos road, the visitor will find the Church of Agia Kyriaki (Holy Sunday),
the Church of Agios Nikolaos and the springs of Kourtaliotis River (with plenty of water and a 40-metre-high waterfall) following the order and proportions of the fingers of one hand and according to a legend being created by the Saint himself. There is also the chapel of Agios Georgios nearby, decorated with a fresco of Holy Trinity, where the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove flying from the lips of the Father, unique throughout Greece. Along Kourtaliotis gorge, the visitor will come across an arched stone bridge over a lake, which was built because it rains a lot in winter, Kourtaliotis River overflows and cannot be easily crossed. The river runs through a part of the gorge and reaches its exit, flowing out into the Preveli Lake, after having joined the Frati gorge.
Their natural beauty makes it worthwhile to explore them either on foot or by bicycle.
It was probably founded in the Middle Ages, during the occupation of Crete by the Republic of Venice, its founder being a feudal lord named Prevelis. It developed over several centuries as a religious and cultural centre for the local population. After the Ottoman Turkish occupation of the island, Abbot Melchissedek Tsouderos led a group of rebels in the Greek War of Independence in 1821, one result of which was that the monastery was destroyed, but later rebuilt. In 1866 and 1878, the monastery was again active in organising rebellions against the Turks, which helped contribute to Crete’s eventual independence and then its political union with Greece.
In the Battle of Crete in 1941, Agathangelos Lagouvardos helped supply British, Australian and New Zealand troops on the island, and provided shelter for them. A group of Australian soldiers protected by the monastery managed to secure their rescue by submarine from the island at Preveli Beach. After this was discovered, the Lower Monastery was destroyed by German forces.
The upper monastery contains numerous religious relics and icons, and many of its buildings, now heavily restored, are open to the public. There are also a number of monuments to the work of the monastery during the Second World War, many of them financed by rescued Australian former soldiers.
Lower Preveli Monastery
HISTORY OF VILLAGES AROUND PLAKIAS
The village of Sellia is almost 800 years old, since it appeared when the settlements of Kantonia were united in order to protect themselves from the pirates. Kotsifou gorge is the entrance to the village of Sellia. Great attractions of the village are also the 15 churches dating to the Byzantine period, with the church of Agios Fotis being the most important of them all; the church was built during the lifetime of Nikiforos Fokas.
The village of Myrthios overlooks the cove of Plakias of the prefecture of Rethymno. At the foot of Mount Vrisinas the green village of Myrthios stands, whose name according to tradition originates in the word myrtiá (=myrtle), since once in the canter of the village there was a large myrtle tree.
The residents of Myrthios village do not all hail from Crete, as many moved here from different parts of Greece, while the village was also inhabited by pirates in the past. The first written record of the village Myrthios is found in the Venetian era, as a fief of a Venetian family. It is said that initially the village was built near the sea, but the frequent pirate raids forced the inhabitants to move to higher grounds.
15 kilometres away west from Plakias the natural beauty of the two small villages, Epano Rodakino & Kato Rodakino (Upper & Lower) Rodakino (=Peach), it boasts an incredibly beautiful beach with soft sand, clear waters and tranquil atmosphere. The village was totally destroyed during the Venetian occupation, with only one resident escaping. A tavern is found close to this beach. Despite the fact that it is not one of the most popular or most visited places in Rethymno, it is definitely a beautiful, quiet place that is worth visiting.
Kali Sykia Village. The Burning of Kali Sykia village is one of many atrocities perpetrated in Greece by Fritz Schubert and his men during the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II.
Friends of the water sports have many choices such as beach volley, sailing, windsurfing, banana water skiing, wakeboarding etc.
The sea in Plakias and the southern beaches of the prefecture of Rethymnon are ideal for diving. There are three diving centres active in Plakias to train you on diving.
Plakias Horse Riding Centre invites you to enjoy peaceful horse and pony riding amongst the small hills and olive groves as well as the beautiful beaches of Plakias.
WALKING / HIKING
For hiking, you can enjoy the exquisite gorgeous canyons, rich in fauna and flora, the olive groves, the nearby villages of Plakias. For lovers of hiking and cycling, a 3 km route is recommended, the one that starts at Plakias, continues through the gorge of Kotsifou and Agios Antonios and ends at the village of Kali Sykia.
Plakias has to offer you unique experiences on one of the excursions by boat. You can discover the southern coasts of Crete and visit wonderful beaches. From Plakias you can embark on a boat that leaves for Preveli beach.