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Vai beach

Location

Vai is located 24km from Sitia, 92km east of Agios Nikolaos and 8km north of Palaikastro.
Vai beach, also called Finikodassos (i.e. palm forest), is a beach of exceptional beauty due to the endemic Cretan Date Palm forest which covers an area of about 250 square metres.
It is the largest known palm tree forest throughout Europe which has been standing there for over 2000 years.
According to a legend, Saracen pirates threw the cores of the dates they were eating which were washed up by the sea and some 5000 palm trees grew.

Characteristics

Not the same number of icons and labels.

Facilities

Umbrellas and sun beds, showers,  water sports (windsurfing, scuba diving trips), parking, cafe, snack, beach bar, restaurant.
Accommodation options can be found about 20 minutes away.

Notes

Vai was discovered by the hippies in the late 70s after a commercial for the Bounty chocolate was filmed here.
In the 80′s this tropical beach was still a pole of attraction for backpackers whose carelessness unfortunately degraded the area.
As a consequence, Vai was declared a protected area by the Forest Authority, camping was forbidden, the palm grove got fenced off and entrance to the beach is nowadays only allowed from sunrise to sunset.

During July and August, the beach is packed with tour groups and gets overcrowded even during the weekdays.
Should you visit on such a day, you could take the steps up the rocky hill to take in the magnificent view of the entire Vai beach and then head down to the footpath that leads to a wonderful sandy and secluded beach which attracts only a few bathers.

*The sea bed is slippery in a few places, thus entering to the water can be a bit tricky.
**It is among the most protected beaches on the eastern coast of Lasithi on windy days.

How to get to Vai

Vai is located 24km from Sitia.
If you choose to drive from Sitia, take the road to Moni Toplou (Toplou Monastery) and continue another 8 km past it.
There are also public buses from Sitia several times a day and all travel agencies organise daily tours.
Vai is about 2.5 hours’ drive from Heraklion, 4 hours from Rethymno and a 4.5-5 hours’ drive from Chania.

Note:

As parking near the beach is a bit expensive, many drivers choose to park on the side of the road little before the beach.

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about Crete

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea. With an exquisite 1,000 kilometer-long coastline, Crete boasts about 400 beaches most of which have earned a Blue Flag. The innumerable beaches combined with impressive mountains, steep gorges and fertile plains make Crete the island with the most diverse landscape in Greece.

Why Crete?

Since the island's touristic development, which dates back in the 60's, Crete nowadays demonstrates from luxurious resorts to really cheap accommodation. The visitor will find countless hotels, apartments, studios and villas to ensure a memorable holiday. Moreover, the abundance of fresh products and the renowned for its life-prolonging qualities Cretan cuisine served at the island's restaurants, make Crete a holiday destination which has it all!