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Heidi's Diary of a Backpacker.
Heading South For Plakias...
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Plakias Seaside.
Plakias Seaside.

My bus from Rethymnon left at 10 am and after less than an hour, I arrived to Plakias. My ticket cost 3,10 euros but this time the bus was somewhat old fashioned. It was fitted with vinyl seats and in the heat my shirt and shorts became damp and were sticking to the seat. This was very uncomfortable and most annoying. I was so glad when we finally arrived to Plakias. As I got out of the bus in the village centre, I decided to continue walking on away from the direction we had come. I had not noticed any nice hotels from the bus window, so I went to find other hotels. I found the hotel Despina almost at the end of the village; there were just two or three restaurants or hotels after this point. I met the owner upstairs finishing cleaning up one of the rooms. That room was to be my room for the next 4 days. I considered myself very lucky that I got this room. It was the only room left at that time, there were only two apartments at the hotel, and despite it being a big apartment for 3 people I got it for 30 euros per night and just for myself! It had an air-conditioner, a big bathroom, a big balcony and a little kitchen in one corner. It was perfect! My room faced the sea and there were only like 50 meters to the nearby beach! My hotel was a little aside from all the noise and bustle in the centre, but still close to everything. Plakias being only a small place, everything was in walking distance. Supermarket next door, all the restaurants, bars and cafés only a few hundred meters away, beach at the opposite end and another one half a kilometre away.

Fotinaki Beach
Fotinaki Beach

After I had settled in, unpacked my bags and cooled off, I went walking and checking out the place. At the supermarket I bought drinks to fill my fridge, vegetables and fruits for snacks and for the first time some breakfast ingredients. So far I had had breakfast in a café or just bought a patong from a café but this time for a change I had to make my own breakfast and I had a kitchen for that! Plakias seemed very peaceful and nice, there were some tourists but not too many. Plakias is also favoured as a place to make daily excursions. There are many nice resorts also nearby. The beach here in Plakias is endlessly long and sandy, with all the possible facilities. During my stay it was a bit windy which produced big waves daily. Unfortunately though they were not big enough for wind surfing, even though all of the south coast of Crete is considered to be suitable for wind surfing.

Preveli Beach
Preveli Beach

Near Plakias, some 3 or 4 kilometres away is another holiday resort called Damnoni. One big hotel of Hapimag covers almost the entire area. Its massive, I admit, but the area would be full of hotels anyway, because the beach here is great! It is the perfect place for kids, perfect for snorkelling and perfect for a tranquil day on the beach. This place is easy to access also by bike from Plakias. On my second day I rented a bike and took off to Damnoni. Rent was 11 euros per day for a 27-gear-mountain bike. On these roads it was heavy to bicycle, the tires are so thick and made for dirt roads. The ride was mostly up hill but luckily on my way back, it was visa versa. After some hours in Damnoni, I took off again and bicycled back to Plakias, and on in the direction of Souda. I found a nice little cove called Fotinaki. Had I cycled just a little further, I would have found a sweet water beach in Souda. I didnt feel like cycling any more, so after a relaxing and cooling swim I returned back to Plakias. 

Preveli Monastery.
Preveli Monastery.

 Preveli monastery and the famous Palm Beach are some 12 kilometres away, accessed by car or by bus from both Rethymnon and Plakias. The bus from Plakias leaves at 11am. The beach is very popular and people come here even from a distance, from Chania and Rethymnon. There is a parking lot where you can leave the car or moped, for 1-1,50 euros and this is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. All the money collected from parking will be used for the restoring of the monastery and neighbouring area. The beach itself is difficult to access. There are a lot of steps and these are deep in some places. Partly stone, partly concrete with lots of loose chippings on the steps. There is not a handle all the way down but bushes give you something to grab if necessary. You should be very careful when descending but its well worth the effort.

Preveli Beach
Preveli Beach

 
The beach is just outstandingly beautiful! A river runs from the mountains through a gorge crossing the beach to the sea. You can swim either in the sea or in the river and there are also little boats and canoes for hire. Palm trees grow on both sides of the river making the beach look very lush and green. The beach was half empty when I arrived at noon, but by the afternoon it was packed with people. Arrive early if you wish to enjoy the beach properly. If you arrive by bus, cost 1,55 euros one way, it will leave you by the main road from where it is about 800 meters to the parking lot and then there are the steps down to the beach.

Preveli Beach
Preveli Beach

The Monastery of Preveli is some 1,2 kilometres from this point, and that is the final stop for busses. Climbing back up took all the strength, it was hot and steps were uncomfortable. It made me puff and pant but finally I make my way up. The last bus back to Plakias leaves at 5.45, so I had time to walk to the monastery and caught the bus there. The monastery is beautiful and well restored. I hadnt planned on going in to the monastery and in my beachwear I wasnt even properly dressed. The dress code is very strict and its not even allowed to use video cameras once inside. Near the monastery there is a monument honouring the locals who risked their lives helping to evacuate the allied troops from here during the WW2. Should you wish to hike your way to the beach you can get off the bus some 4 kilometres before the bus stop and trek your way through a gorge.