Mirthios is a mountain village overlooking Plakias, it has a spectacular view of the bay and surrounding area. It is the ideal place for those who seek peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the town of Plakias. In the village you can find 4 restaurants, 1 mini market and a number of tourist shops. Plakias is a good 15-20 min hike downhill through the olive groves. See more photos at FLICKR.
The exotic Preveli Palm Beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Crete. It is located at the southern coast of Crete, below the Preveli Monastery, at the mouth of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge. An amazing river called Grand River comes from the Kourtaliotis Gorge ending to the Preveli Beach. On the banks of the Grand River, there is a large colony of palm trees, which give the region a sense of an African landscape. You can walk along the river, under the shade of palm trees, and start ascending in the beautiful gorge. You can swim in the cold ponds formed in the gorge. The beach is regularly served by tourist boats from the nearby resort of Plakias. See more photos at FLICKR.
The Preveli Monastery is located 10 Km away from Plakias to the east, along the Kourtaliotis River and near the famous Preveli Palm Beach. The Monastery consists of two main building complexes, the Lower (Kato) Monastery of Saint John the Baptist and the Rear (Pisso) Monastery of Saint John the Theologian which is in operation today. The Monastery has a glorious history due to the active and leading involvement of its fellow monks in all their national endeavourers for freedom and education of the Cretan people. Thus, it merits specific recognition and respect throughout the island of Crete. See more photos at FLICKR.
The imposing Kourtaliotis Gorge is a magical and diverse natural site, featuring high cliffs, beautiful waterfalls as well as vulture roosting sites. It is one of the most spectacular natural attractions of Rethymnon. Its slopes are full of caves and springs. When the wind blows you can hear the clapping of sounds in the north entrance of the gorge; in the local dialect, this sound is called "kourtala", and gives its name to the gorge. In its depths flows the Kourtaliotis river which falls in the amazing Preveli Palm Beach. St. Nikolas church is located inside the Kourtaliotiko gorge. Tradition says that when the Saint touched the rock, water sprang out of the places which he touched with his fingers. These are the five springs of Kourtaliotis gorge and are located close to the church. It is a wonderful gorge worth-visiting and walking along its riverbed, while playing with water. The gorge is crossed by a road, but walking in it is really amazing. See more photos at FLICKR.
The Plakias Old Mill is one of the most beautiful sights near Plakias, located in the exit of Kotsifos Gorge. Water came from the main stream about a kilometre further up the valley and ran in a narrow stone leat to the top of the mill. There, it dropped inside the vertical stone pipe onto the mill blades that can still be seen in a cave below. Some traces of the leat above the wheat mill can still be seen and there are the remains of a bread oven in the lowest building. According to the local people, the wheat mill was in operation until the mid-1960s. You can find the cache near the small church a little further upstream. See more photos at FLICKR.
The impressive Kotsifos Gorge is located 3 kilometers away from Mirthios village. The total length is 1800m, and the almost vertical sides reach a height of 600m. You can walk through the gorge along the river with its amazing landscape, vertical and imposing rocks with a narrow asphalted road between them and two small waterfalls (in the beginning of the route). The river is dry during summer, but full of water during spring. On your exit from the gorge, Plakias beach appears in front of you. See more photos at FLICKR.
On the way to the Preveli Monastery, an amazing venetian stone bridge can be found. The bridge was built in the 12th century from the monks of Preveli. See more photos at FLICKR.
The eastern part of Plakias long sandy beach is called Paligremnos. Characteristic of Paligremnos is a huge vertical cliff that rise to a great height ideal for climbers. It is a fascinating completely straight and flat cliff, around 50m high and more than 100m long. The cliff contains some large dark caves on it with several openings, that give a nice atmosphere with the sunlight going through and an amazing scenery to Plakias bay. Walking the path starting from the cliff along the mountain leads to some amazing caves inside the rocks, dug by Wehrmacht during the German Occupation. See more photos at FLICKR.
Timeos Stavros (means "Holy Cross") is a 433 meters summit with a small 100-year old chapel upon. It is situated close to Lefkogia village on the way to Schinaria beach. WHAT YOU CAN SEE FROM THE TOP: The view from the summit is UNIQUE! You can see in 360 degrees a breathtaking impressive panoramic view: The whole bay of Plakias lies on your feet as well as the beaches of Shinaria, Amoudi, Amoudaki, Damnoni and Souda. The view extends to the west where you can see Frangokastello as well as the White mountains at Sfakia. To the southwest you can see Gavdos island while to the south you can see the 2 Paximadia islands. To the north you can see the villages Selia, Mirthios, Mariou and Asomatos and further east, the deep cut of Kourtaliotiko gorge. Finally on the horizon far to the east you can see the coastline around Matala. HOW TO GO THERE: Drive to Lefkogia village and take the signposted road southwards to "Schinaria beach". After 300 meters you will turn left at the first fork following the unpaved road uphill. Driving for about 700 meters a steep section with concrete, you pass a chapel on your right and continue for 300 more meters until you reach the summit road. There you can find a small parking place where you can park your car and start walking to the summit. From the small parking you need about 30 min. to the summit. The last 10 min. is a track. NOTE: It is possible to drive the summit road up to the last big western bend, but you might have trouble to bend your car down again. See more photos at FLICKR.