Vai Beach (Palm Beach) picture
Paul Mannix/Flickr

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Also known as Palm Beach, Vai Beach is mainly known for its stunning landscape. The beach is home to the largest palm grove in Europe with 4,500 palm trees that have been there for more than 2,000 years. So if you're looking to avoid renting a beach umbrella, you've come to the right place for some natural shade. The sand can get crowded with busloads of tourists, but a short hike over a hill at the south side of Vai Beach will reveal an underutilized, yet no less beautiful stretch of shore.

Recent visitors praised Vai Beach for its cleanliness and beautiful views from not only the beach but from atop the nearby hills. Travelers also lauded the picturesque drive coming into the beach. Others, however, lamented the distance and conditions of the roads, advising those who aren't staying on the east side of the island to reconsider visiting. For those who want to beat the crowds, visitors suggest hitting the sand before 2 p.m.

Vai Beach is located in the far northeast corner of Crete. The best way to get there is from one of the three direct daily buses that depart from Sitia. If you choose to drive, know that parking at Vai Beach costs a small fee.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Rethymnon Old Town

If you're in Rethymnon, then you shouldn't miss the opportunity to wander the narrow alleys of Old Town, a seaside neighborhood that dates back to the 11th century. Here you'll find prime examples of Venetian Renaissance architecture along with splashes of Turkish influence spread throughout the city.

The food and shopping options in Old Town are seemingly endless, but the maze-like streets can be perplexing. If you do get turned around, don't despair: The area isn't huge, and once you see the Venetian Fortezza or the harbor, you can easily regain your bearings. Recent travelers have actually embraced getting lost in Old Town because the streets are so charming, the locals are so kind and the food is so good. Case in point, Old Town Rethymnon is simply beautiful.

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