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