Vai – largest palm forest in Europe
The eastern end of the island of Crete is known to all by the palm forest surrounding the sandy beach of Vai.
In Vai the palm Phoenix theophrasti endemic to the Aegean coasts forms on over 2 acres of wooded area the largest palm forest in Europe and is set entirely under protection; only a small strip on the long, sandy beach is permitted for a visit.
Again, as in Matala, there were hippies and sleeping tourists in the end 70s / early 80s, the pioneers for today’s hundreds of one-day tourists who reach every day this magnificent site for a few hours per excursion bus.
The beach itself is well organized, there are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas, and water sports are on offer, and of course there is also a café / restaurant. But at the far end of the bay is enough space for your private bath towel in the sand. The sea water is crystal clear and fresh.
My recommendation: visit Vai in the early morning or in the afternoon, when, after the tour buses rush again the calm has returned. Also visit the nearby monastery Toplou with its biological vineyards. Or the ancient site Itanos where there are still more also beautiful but much quieter bays.
Other interesting places nearby are
- Sitia, important coastal town and port of the east
- Minoan palace Kato Zakros – centre of commercial exchange
Find and book a hotel in Crete
Find your hotel in: Chania
Find your hotel in: Paleochora
Find your hotel in: Loutro
Find your hotel in: Kalives
Find your hotel in: Rethymnon
Find your hotel in: Plakias
Find your hotel in: Agia Galini
Find your hotel in: Matala
Find your hotel in: Heraklion
Find your hotel in: Hersonissos
Find your hotel in: Malia
Find your hotel in: Agios Nikolaos
Find your hotel in: Sitia
Find your hotel in: Makri Gialos
Find your hotel in: Ierapetra