The exotic Vai, the biggest palm forest in Europe and one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, is 95 kilometers in the east of Agios NIkolaos and 25 kilometers in the east of Siteia.
The area of the palm forest is about 250 acres, in a very hot and dry area. The palms are of the Phoenix Theophrasti species and are watered by the water that flow in the area.
There are several myths about these palms as they are very rare today in Crete. There were palms in Crete in the ancient years.
Vai is one of the 19 forests in Greece that are described as “Aesthetics Forest” and is a “specially protected area”, according to the convention of Barcelona about the protected areas in the Mediterranean. That is why camping, fire or any other activity threatening the flora and fauna of the area are not allowed.
Many migratory birds find shelter in Vai.
The beach of Vai is after the impressive palm forest. The golden sand, the blue and green water and the palms remind exotic places.
The awarded beach is organized with deckchairs, umbrellas, wooden paths, showers and W.C. You can also do water sports or climb the stairs that lead to the observatory and enjoy the panoramic view from there.
Vai was inhabited in the beginning of 1970s by hippies that were sent off from Matala. There were permanent tents until 1980. It was declared as a protected area in 1980.
There are two myths about the existence of palms in the area. According to the first, Arab pirates had stopped in the area. They ate dates and, then, threw the dates seeds in the place where the forest is today.
A similar story is also said about Phoenician sailors.
Its name came from the Greek word “vagia” that means a palm.