In exotic vibe
Yes, it’s true, sun and beach holidays still dominate Crete, due to heavenly beach attractions like Palm Forest Vai, located in the prefecture of Lasithi. Situated at the very easternmost area of Crete, the visitors will find a proper tropical beach, with thousands of palm trees in the background, flat turquoise waters, soft whitish sand, and unending views out over the sea that will make the long journey worthwhile.
It may take a long way to reach Vai, but the beach itself is one of the most popular sights in Crete and one of the most beautiful and unique places in the whole Mediterranean. The beach has clear, clean water and a small islet in the middle of the bay, excellent for snorkelling. In combination with the golden beach, Vai forms an impressive landscape that has been declared as a protected area, due to its biodiversity with rare flora and fauna. The palm forest belongs to the Toplou Monastery, which is situated 12 km from the palm forest, an exceptionally interesting Cretan monastery that surely deserves a visit.
The unique large palm tree grove with the Cretan Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti) forms a heavenly wide valley watered by the local rive, reminding of African and Caribbean seascapes. Unknown until the early 1970s, an advertisement of the famous ‘Bounty’ coconut chocolate, which was filmed in the region, made this unknown earthly paradise renowned throughout the world.
Palm Forest Vai is located 25km far from Sitia town and 7km from Paleokastro village. The beach gets crowded in summer, so prefer to get there early, to enjoy it best, when beach chairs are still available. On the other hand, if you visit Vai at the beginning or end of the season, you will enjoy the scenery and sea far more. There are no buildings because this is a protected conservation area, except a restaurant and a cafeteria with excellent geek food run by the monastery, located at an elevated flat space at the side of the beach. If you want to stay isolated, there is a lovely sandy beach 5 minutes north of Vai, while another option is the idyllic Psili Ammos beach in the south.
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