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Vai Beach picture in Crete
Paul Mannix / Flickr

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  • Beaches Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2
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    5.0
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    4.0
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    4.0

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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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Hotels Nearby

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Hiona Holiday Hotel

Hiona Holiday Hotel ...

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  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Sunrise Apartments

Sunrise Apartments ...

  • 3.2 Miles Away
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#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 ... Read more » Romtomtom / Flickr

#2 Vai Beach (Palm Beach) 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 ... Read more » Paul Mannix / Flickr

#3 Elafonissi Located in the southwest corner of Crete, Elafonissi beach sparkles with pink-tinted sand and crystal-clear Mediterranean waters. If you're feeling adventurous, you can wade across Elafonissi's shallow lagoon ... Read more » George Tsartsianidis / Getty Images

#4 The Palace of Knossos A labyrinth of massive columns and beautiful frescoes, the Palace of Knossos is a testament to the sophistication of the Minoan civilization that disappeared sometime in the 14th century. According ... Read more » Banet12 / Getty Images

#5 Samaria Gorge National Park Stretching for about 10 miles through southern Chania Prefecture's White Mountains, Samaria Gorge is thought to be one of the longest canyons in Europe. The gorge trail begins ... Read more » Panagiotis Karapanagiotis / Getty Images

#6 Historical Museum of Crete The Historical Museum of Crete, located in the capital city of Heraklion, chronicles Cretan life from early Byzantine times to the Modern period. If you're interested in the older ... Read more » tedbassman / Flickr

#7 Venetian Fortezza Built atop a hill in Rethymnon Old Town, the Fortezza (for-TED-za) stands as a symbol of Crete's tempestuous past. The Venetian ruling class, who oversaw the construction of the ... Read more » StockThings / Shutterstock

#8 Heraklion Archaeological Museum The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a must-see in Crete — and all of Greece, even — for its extensive collection of Minoan art. Highlights include a mini-statue of a Snake ... Read more » Narisa&James / Flickr

#9 Cretaquarium Located approximately 9 miles east of Heraklion, the Cretaquarium is home to 2,000 sea animals and 200 different Mediterranean species. If you're an animal lover, traveling with kids ... Read more » Lourakis / Wikimedia

Rethymnon Old Town picture in Crete
Vai Beach picture in Crete
Elafonissi picture in Crete
Knossos picture in Crete
Samaria Gorge picture in Crete
Artifacts from Historical Museum of Crete picture in Crete
Venetian Fortezza picture in Crete
Heraklion Archaeological Museum picture in Crete
Cretaquarium picture in Crete
Rethymnon Old Town picture in Crete
Vai Beach picture in Crete
Elafonissi picture in Crete
Knossos picture in Crete
Samaria Gorge picture in Crete
Artifacts from Historical Museum of Crete picture in Crete
Venetian Fortezza picture in Crete
Heraklion Archaeological Museum picture in Crete
Cretaquarium picture in Crete

Rethymnon Old Town is filled with Venetian and Turkish architecture, beckoning to be observed and explored. Romtomtom / Flickr

Many agree that a visit to the palm forest and its beach, even though it's a big tourist destination, is worth sharing space with crowds.  Paul Mannix / Flickr

Elafonissi is famous for its pink sand, which is actually thousands of broken up pieces of colorful shells. George Tsartsianidis / Getty Images

The Palace of Knossos is an impressive reminder of the accomplishments of the Minoan civilization. Banet12 / Getty Images

At 10 miles long, Crete's Samaria Gorge is thought to be the longest canyon in Europe. Panagiotis Karapanagiotis / Getty Images

The Historical Museum of Crete houses unique relics spanning the island's entire history. tedbassman / Flickr

The Venetian Fortezza, which towers over Rethymnon Old Town, was built in the late 16th century to protect Crete from Ottoman invasion (it failed). StockThings / Shutterstock

This museum is renowned for its extensive collection of Minoan art and it features a tablet whose symbols have yet to be deciphered. Narisa&James / Flickr

The Cretaquarium, about 11 miles east of Heraklion, displays thousands of underwater species. Lourakis / Wikimedia

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