Rethymnon area Scenic Road Trips

Off-Road Trip Crete: Preveli Monasteries and Palm Beach, Triopetra Beach

Off-Road Trip Crete - The wild south west Crete
After the refreshing bath at the Preveli beach we follow an equally bumpy piece of dirt road (about 2 miles) along the coast towards east, and suddenly a paved road begins to Triopetra.
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Full Day Tour

Duration of the tour: about 7-8 hours

This Off-Road Trip Crete is suitable for good drivers with an off road car or motorcycle, who do not mind being tested on a good bit of bad dust/ gravel road. You will be rewarded with gorgeous beaches and a glimpse of the wild nature of Crete. We promise a fantastic day.

The tour is a proposal for the adventurous who have their accommodation ideally in the area of Réthymnon / Plakias or Agia Galini.

Off-Road Trip Crete – Sightseeing en route:
  • Bridge Preveli
  • Short walk to the beach of Preveli
  • 2 hour stay on the beach of Preveli
  • 2 hour stay on the beach of Triopetra
  • Village Spili (1st Stop for Agia Galini holidaymakers last stop for Rethymnon/ Plakias holidaymakers)
  • Mountains and coast

Mileage: 56 km, of which about 8 km dust-/gravel road  /  Driving time: approx 2 hours  /  Walk to / from the beach Preveli: 30-40 min total

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The bridges of the Preveli monasteries
Off-Road Trip Crete - The bridge of Preveli Crete

The bridge of Preveli near to the Lower Monastery

The tour begins at the arched bridge over the river of Megas Potamos near Preveli, which was built by the locals funded by the monastery between 1850 and 1852. It is the same river which enters a few miles down into the sea at the beach of Preveli.

The stone bridge with 13.30 m length and 7.60 m in height at that time allowed access to the Monastery’s farms and to the other inhabitants of the area. The same purpose served the second and smaller bridge over the river Bourtzoukos that we cross shortly afterwards, simpler in construction and smaller in dimensions, built in 1852.

Here, at the large bridge, we leave the main road to the Preveli monasteries and turn right at the bridge left and take the dust road between the tavern (to our left) and the lake (to our right) direction south.

The gravel / dust road to the south coast – Off-Road Trip Crete

We always adhere to the right, and in regular distances one sees a small signpost “Preveli beach”. The road (about 6 km dust-/gravel road) down to the coast partly is really bad, please drive slowly and carefully, of course there are no guardrails. It was sometimes so bumpy that my rear-view mirror has fallen ….

Once at the bottom, the walk to the Preveli beach is signposted. Again, it goes over steps up the hill, I was wondering whether the strain of the bumping road for people and cars paid off. Steps here, steps also on the other side. But yes, on my way back I realized, that it makes a big difference.

The ascent on the way back is short and painless, not to compare with the 350 stairs on the west side.

Note: as mentioned above, the beach of Preveli can also be reached from the other side of the river. This and more information about the beach you can find in our article Preveli, exotic sandy beach at the mouth of Megas Potamos

Driving east towards Triopetra – Off-Road Trip Crete

After a refreshing stay on the beach and a stroll through the exotic palm forest along the river bed we walk back to our car. From here we follow an equally bumpy piece of dirt road (about 2 miles) along the coast towards east, and suddenly a paved road begins to Tri0petra. Stick to the signs, they always point to the beaches Ligres, Triopetra or Agios Pavlos.

At the eastern end of the beach Ligres (a huge beach like a lunar landscape… on its western edge, there is a tavern and rooms) the road meets again the coast, and shortly after one recognizes the Triopetra beach.

Off-Road Trip Crete: Preveli Monasteries and Palm Beach, Triopetra Beach

The name Triopetra derived from Tris Petres, 3 stones: at the promontory, 3 huge boulders protrude here from the sea. The large rocks are partially formed quite bizzare…… continue reading about Triopetra beach in Triopetra beach – 3 large bizzare rocks protrude from the sea

The drive from Triopetra towards Akoumia (after Akoumia we meet the main road to Spili / Rethymnon or in the other direction to Agia Galini) is fantastic; on one side the beautiful view to the sea and to the Paximadia Islands, on the other hand there are mountains rising in all shades of brown alternating with valleys …. a great ride.

Last (or first) stop: the village Spili with its 25-Lion heads- fountain

After Akoumia the very good and fast highway starts in both directions. Who comes from Agia Galini, has already met at the beginning of the tour the village Spili with his 25-lion heads Fountain, who came from Plakias or Rethymnon, can still enjoy a bit beautiful atmosphere at Spili’s village square.

Further information about the village Spili you find in our article Spili, on the passage of Rethymnon in the South

Off-Road Trip Crete - Spili village in Crete

At the village square in Spili

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