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  • Palm trees and sunbedsPalm trees and sunbeds© Stavros Hatzidakis


It is a must on Crete’s postcards as an exotic paradise. The reality is quite different. Yes, the palm tree forest is rare and impressive (you can find smaller ones around Crete, eg Agios Nikitas, Preveli etc), the scenery is fascinating but… Vai has become a very popular tourist destination. This means that here you will find armies of tourists, sunbeds and umbrellas, tourist buses. And then, don’t dream that you will be able to walk inside the forest; there are fences to protect it. One more thing: it is quite expensive to rent an umbrella, a sunbed or to grab a bite at the tavern: God bless Moni Toplou (Toplou monastery) that owns the area.

The place though is still beautiful and the palm forest is unique. This scenery has charmed the hippies back in the 80s, after they left from Matala. Our advice is that you come, walk around, take photos, take your car and go in one of the beaches nearby; they are equally beautiful.