Preveli beach guide Crete
Holiday visitors are in picture postcard territory at the glamorous beach of Preveli.
It lies at the end of a steep gorge and is backed by a spectacular lagoon separated from the sea by a long spit of white shingle.
The beach allows room for sun loungers while the lagoon is ideal for swimming and for boating. Tracks through lush vegetation offer inviting walks along the river bank.
The are two access routes to the spectacular beach at Preveli, neither of which is particularly easy. The first is marked by rough signposts just before the turn to Preveli Monastery and follows the river down to the sea, but the way is long and rough underfoot.
The alternative is below the monastery where a tarmac road drops to a car park and a very steep climb down to Preveli beach.
Valiant efforts have been made to ease the way with stone steps and a staging post half way that is little more than a large litter bin. But this is still a steep and tricky climb.
Preveli beach itself looks stunning with a small lagoon draped in palms and oleanders and protected by a large bank of grey gravel sand. Unfortunately it is not quite the paradise that is touted in the holiday brochures.
A ramshackle taverna tunes into a loud disco radio station, a seedy hamburger café appears to hold the franchise on sunbeds and barrowloads of soft drinks cans litter the old huts that are hidden in trees behind the Prevelli lagoon.
Well-trodden pathways snake back alongside the lonce-lush lagoon. They would make pleasant, shady walks had they not been used so obviously and freely as open-air toilets. And in August 2010 the rare Cretan palms were badly burnt by fire, but new growth has raised hopes that they will survive.
Rowing boats are for hire to paddle up the Prevelli agoon for 30 minutes. Over the headland is a more substantial taverna and the path back to the river access route.
Those heading back up the cliff from Prevelli beach face a rougher ride. There are more than 700 steps on the steep climb back to the car park.
The city of Rethymnon on the north coast of Crete is packed with colourful parades and impromptu street parties in a celebration that has been running more than 100 years.
An intricate mosaic of pebble and stone cover a complex of buildings at Koumos, including a taverna and even a chapel, in an architectural extravaganza that will take your breath away.
Also, among the weapons on display at the Arkadi Monastery are some of those used in the famous siege, including flintlock rifles and long-barrelled pistols as well muskets.
Crete may be a holiday hotspot today but the islands was once the scene of a ferocious firefight between Allied troops and German paratroopers now buried in war cemeteries.