The Palm Beach of Vai in eastern Crete
The Palm Beach of Vai is quite rightly one of Greece's most famous beaches. Not as many palms grows anywhere else in Europe as here. The palms grow partly along the beach, partly along a large area inland. It's as awesome as it sounds. The beach was "discovered" by the hippies in the 1970s, hippies that got tired of the exploitation of the former hippie paradise Matala.
The palms in Vai are truly impressive.
Vai became popular among backpackers in the 1980s. The beach was then full of wild campers and the beach looked more and more like a refuse dump. The authorities became tired and decided to protect the unique beach: camping was banned, the beach was fenced and it was only allowed to visit it during the daytime.
Today, Vai is one of Crete's most visited beaches. Busload after
busload is pouring in every day, and of course those like us who arrive
with rented car. It costs nothing to visit the beach, but you have to
pay about 3 € to park the car. There is a taverna and a snack bar.
The nearest accommodation is in Paleokastro and Kato
Zakros south of Vai.
The Palm Beach of Vai in eastern Crete.
Is Vai worth driving to? Yes, I think so, at least if you're in the neighbourhoods. But be prepared for the fact that there are a lot of people here and the sunbeds stand closely together. However, I think the palm beach of Preveli in the province of Rethymnon is much cooler than Vai beach.
If you think that Vai is to claustrophobic, you can drive to Itanos a few kilometres north of Vai. Then you drive straight on in the intersection, instead of turning down to Vai.
The Palm Beach of Vai.
Vai is located 24 kilometres northeast of Sitia, and 9 kilometres northeast of the famous monastery Moni Toplou, and near the lesser known palm beach Itanos.