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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Plakias

Plakias Holidays

Backed by mountains and lined with seemingly endless scenic stretches of beach, Plakias is an upmarket resort situated between two spectacular gorges. It's a relaxing destination for holidays in southern Crete, with classy dining and waterside activities, and well connected to livelier resorts.

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An exclusive retreat

With its busy shores, tavernas and diving centres, you'd never know that up until 50 years ago, the popular resort of Plakias only had a population of six. Nowadays, its rocky coast and endless stretch of beaches are sought out by visitors searching for that one-of-a-kind patch of sand to call home, at least for the afternoon.

Located on the southern coast of Crete, Plakias enjoys a location that feels remote and exclusive, but is actually pretty close and well-connected to little surrounding villages like Mirthios and Selia, which feature panoramic views of Plakias Bay. Plakias is also located along a bus route that ends in Rethymnon, one of the most popular resorts in Crete.

Sandwiched between two awe-inspiring gorges, views from the top are highlights to any Cretan holiday. There are also an incredible range of beaches that are alive with water sports and diving excursions.

A collection of chic restaurants and tavernas is nestled into the hillside or along the coast, so every cocktail and plate of moussaka can be enjoyed in a gorgeous setting.

Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthodox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • GMT +2

Endless beaches

Plakias is home to one of the biggest beaches in Crete, as well a number of smaller sands that offer diverse relaxation scenes. The main shores are Plakias Beach, which provide ample space for stretching out on sunloungers, plus shelves of sand that slope gently into the sea, making them a safe spot for children. The beach here also tends to get a little windy, so it's popular among windsurfers. The east end is where naturists go for that all-over tan.

Damnoni Beach offers rows of sun loungers and umbrellas for basking under the sun, while it's a little bit of a hike to get to Finikas Beach, but its vibrant shores are worth it. Souda Beach and Triopetra Beach are on the remote side, while Schinaria is a favourite for scuba divers. And finally there are the teeny shores of the aptly-named Micro Amoudi, wedged between tall rock faces and popular with naturists.

Unique touring

The two gorges framing Plakias offer endless opportunities to get outdoors and explore the town's scenic landscape. You can join a tour group and drive to the top of Kourtaliotiko Gorge or go at your own pace and hike or bike past the date palm forests and river cutting through the rocky coast. Either way, you'll be treated to incredible views of Plakias and its placid shores.

With its many beaches, Plakias also offers a number of diving schools for divers of all levels, so you don't have to limit your adventures to just those on land. For a completely different touring experience, there's even a horseback riding centre that'll have you saddled up and following trails with skilled guides.

Preveli Monastery

If you've opted to rent a car on cheap holidays to Crete, you can drive up to Preveli Monastery, a little chapel with a whole lot of history. During the Greek wars with the Turkish and in World War Two, the monks at the Preveli Monastery provided refuge for soldiers and assisted rebellions in the fight for freedom.

Subsequently, the monastery was repeatedly destroyed, but has been consistently rebuilt to house a museum providing an inside look at its vibrant story. It's also located just above the beach, so you can combine a day of light learning with a swim in the sea.

Hillside dining and coastal views

Restaurants in Plakias not only offer stylish venues and traditional Greek food, but stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Many eateries are tucked into the hillside or stationed just along the coast, so images of the Libyan Sea are almost always on the horizon.

It won't come as a shock to hear that the vast majority of the cuisine on this part of Crete is Greek, but you will find a range of American, Italian and Asian eats, if you want to mix things up.

Plakias isn't a nightlife hotspot, but there are a handful of bars serving cocktails late into the evening. Throughout the day, coastal tavernas can double as day-drinking locales, as the outdoor terraces facing the sea make for top lounging spots.