Vai Crete Beach is a beautiful unpopulated beach of fine sand and pebbles at the far eastern tip of Crete. It has a unique and luscious palm forest of a species found only on Crete. Even without these wonderful tall, leafy palms, it is a spectacular beach with clear, clean water, excellent snorkelling and plenty of room for everyone. This beach does not have a village or accommodation, in summer season the carpark is full of temporary services such as food, beach gear, cameras and drinks. There are beach chairs and umbrellas to rent, and the nearby monastery runs a restaurant right on the beach which serves delicious Greek food.
The beach itself is worth the drive of 24 km from Sitia and the palm forest, now protected by the ICUN, is well worth the visit. Nestled into a valley behind a fresh water pond and creek, the palm forest is home to local birds and animals such as the shy Cretan Marten, a small native mammal like a stoat, which we saw darting out of the bushes, as we walked near the forest. This palm forest is the largest in Europe, the palms are Phoenix Theophrasti and are unique to Crete.
Windsurfing and jet-skiing are popular here, topless bathing is common and nudist bathing is popular at the beautiful small beach of Psili Ammos, reached by a track over the headland from the south of Vai Beach. Wildflowers line the roadside, and traditional farming surrounds the palm forest reserve. The locals are very proud of the bananas grown in hot houses here, in fact all over Crete they refer to the bananas grown here with pride.