Vai Palm Beach
A memorable family visit to the largest palm forest in Europe
Vai is a breathtaking exotic beach 24km east of Sitia and 94km east of Agios Nikolaos (Lassithi, East Crete). Ιts name derives from the word “vaion”, which in Greek means “palm tree leaf”. The palm forest of Vai with its 5,000 palm trees is an incredible sight to behold!
The beach became famous in the early 70s when a commercial for the “Bounty” chocolate bar brand was shot there. Today, it is one of the most visited beaches of Crete and definitely one of the most beautiful.
Swim in stunning turquoise waters, build sandcastles in fine white sand, and relax under the shade of the endemic palm trees. The waters at Vai are shallow and usually calm, which makes the beach ideal for families with younger kids.
According to legend, the palm trees of Vai grew from the discarded date pits that Saracen pirates left behind. In reality, the palm grove of Vai is about 2000 years old, much older than the time of the pirates, and it is the largest palm grove in Europe!
As thousands of tourists come here every year to enjoy the Caribbean card-postal scenery, Vai now offers some basic facilities and services. The endemic Phoenix theophrasti forest is protected in a fenced area and can only be accessed during the day.
If you wish to escape the crowds, avoid visiting Vai in high season or on weekends, or escape to the nearby secluded beach of Psili Ammos, following the trail that starts from the east end of the beach.
Looking for family-friendly accommodation near Vai Palm Beach? Have a look at some of our highly suggested accommodation options on East Crete, or contact us at [email protected] for many more beautiful suggestions for families.
Families should know
- The beach is well organized for families with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, toilets, water sports, and a restaurant/canteen (and quite pricey, compared to other Cretan beaches!)
- There is a private parking lot by the beach where you can leave your car in safety. There are also buses running from Sitia and all travel agencies in Crete organize daily tours
- Apart from water sports, there are lots to explore around, so can definitely keep your little ones busy for hours
- The closest rooms to rent are located outside the protected area
Best season to visit
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