Vai (Crete)

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Vai palm forest
Coast near Vai
Panorama of Vai beach

The palm beach of Vai (Greek: Βάι) is one of the largest attractions of the Mediterranean island of Crete. It features the largest natural palm forest in Europe,[1][better source needed] made up of Cretan date palm (Phoenix theophrasti).

For tourism Vai was discovered at the beginning of the 1970s by Richard White and friends[citation needed][who?] from North London, Belfast and Bavaria, at the end of that decade it was popularised by the last hippies who fled the hot-spots Matala and Preveli. At the beginning of the 1980s Vai was full of backpacker tourists from the whole world, leading to a mixture of chaotic campground and garbage dump. Vai was enclosed and declared as a protected area. The unique forest recovered, the beach became clean.

The palm beach, which belongs to the Moni Toplou, is the touristic centre of East Crete, with thousands of visitors each year. Vai lies close to Palekastro, Sitia and the Dionysades islands.

I the 1970's Vai beach was apparently used to film a UK advert for the confectionary bar Bounty.


  1. ^ "Vai Crete - the only palm forest in Europe, a stunning beach". We Love Crete. Retrieved 2019-02-16.

Coordinates: 35°15′16″N 26°15′39″E / 35.25444°N 26.26083°E / 35.25444; 26.26083