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Vai is famous for its palm forest located right on the beach and is one of the most popular sights in Crete and one of the most beautiful and special places in the whole Mediterranean. The exotic sandy beach of Vai with the unique palm trees wood in Europe is situated at a distance of 100 kilometers far from Agios Nikolaos at the Northeast and 27 kilometers eastern to Sitia.



Vai draws thousands of visitors each year and its well organized tropical beach has been awarded a Blue Flag by the European Union. It combines sea sport facilities, cafes and restaurants with preservation and respect to the natural environment of this unique landscape. Walking northwards along the beach you will find some smaller beaches, less crowded but equally beautiful.


The name of the area, Vai, comes from vayia, which is the Greek word for palms. The palm forest of Vai covers an area of approximately 250,000 square metres with 5.000 perennial trees, making it the largest in Europe. These palms are endemic Cretan palms (Phoenix theophrastii) and were not imported although according to the local legend the forest had been grown from the seeds thrown away by Arab pirates or Phoenician merchants set ashore at the place.

Nestled into a valley behind a fresh water pond and creek, the palm forest is home to local birds and animals such as the shy Cretan Marten, a small native mammal like a stoat. The Vai forest is protected by the Forestry Service, the European Union and the relevant conventions.


Not only the forest, but the whole landscape contribute to this rare beauty like the thick sand forms dunes around and the rare plants with extraordinary flowers (mainly in spring) found at the nearby low hills.

The archaeological site of Itanos or Erimoupoli, located 2 kilometers northwards from Vai, where excavations have brought many findings of the Minoan and Hellenistic periods to light and where you will actually see the ruins of the ancient city sunk in the sea it’s worth your visit too.




Published in Lassithi Area
See also: Spinalonga »

Kosmos Rent A Car in Crete was founded in 1979 in Heraklion. Since then our company’s course has been continuously expanding and of steady growth due to professional standards and high quality in our car rental services accompanied with competitive rates. A fact that places our company at the top of the list of car rental business in Crete...