Vai is located 94km east of Agios Nikolaos and 24km east of Sitia. It is the most famous beach in east Crete, as its main feature is the large palm grove with the Cretan Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti). Its name derives from the word vai, meaning palm in Greek. The palm grove is the largest in Europe with approximately 5000 trees.
The beach has whitish sand and flat turquoise waters. In a few places, there are slippery smooth rocks, while on the opposite there are small islets that beautify the landscape. The beach is slightly organized (whatever the protection scheme allows) with umbrellas, showers, water sports and a canteen.
Named after the word “vagia”, meaning “palm tree” or “rims of palm tree” in Greek. According to the local legend the wood had been grown from the stones of dates thrown away by Arab pirates set ashore at the place.
With some 5.000 palm trees, a real oasis at the desert-like landscape of Eastern Crete, a breathtaking environment!
It is quite impossible to describe in words this landscape of unique beauty! Only whoever has visited it can perceive what is it like. Due to the palm trees wood it looks rather like an African beach with sand and fine pebbles, placed on the territory of Europe.
Discover and explore Vai with Us. Find out the best time to go and read our top tips.
If you’re looking for a great day out, try our tour to Vai -East Crete and Toplou Monastery.
Toplou is a Monastery with a long history which played a significant role in the struggles of the Cretan people for freedom.
Stalis/Malia: 5:10/5:05- 23:00
Hersonissos: 5:20 – 22:45
NOTE: The pick-up and drop-off time can be changed during the season.
The correct pick-up time will be shown on your ticket.
The drop-off time is approximate and delays can occur.
Entrance to Samaria gorge – €5
Boat ticket – €11 (children 5-12 years old – €6)
Entrances are free for:
Сitizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID
University students and Students of Higher Education Institutes, Technological Educational Institutes, Military Schools or equivalent Schools of member states of the European Union, as well as Schools of Guides, upon presentation of their student identity card
Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age
Vai, or more specifically the palm forest of Vai, is one of the most popular sights in Crete and one of the most beautiful and special places in the whole Mediterranean. Vai draws thousands of visitors each year. They come not only for its wonderful palm forest, but also for the large sandy beach spread out at its foot.