Vai Beach in Crete: Adventure to the Massive Palm Tree Forest

Via Beach Crete

Vai Beach is unlike anywhere else we visited on this island, and by far one of the best places in Crete! Slightly off the typical tourist route, you have to travel to the far east corner of Crete to visit the Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest. I wouldn’t say that we went to Eastern Crete just for this beach, but it was 100% worth the trip! To help prepare you for your visit we’ll break down the history of Vai Beach, how to get there, and the three must visit places.

Crete Travel Inspiration

The Myth of Vai Beach

Legend has it that a long, long time ago, African pirates were shipwrecked on Vai Beach. They spent their days eating dates and tossing the seeds to the ground.

From the seeds, palm trees then sprouted and grew into the massive palm tree forest you can see today. The beach went virtually unknown until the 1970’s, and soon after became a popular hippy enclave.

However far-fetched the stories may be, there’s no debating this as one of the best places in Crete!

Looking to see more interesting history on Crete? Check out our article on the Minoan Palace of Knossos. 

Best Beaches in Crete

Getting to Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest 

Parking Cost: 2.50 Euro Per Car
Time Need: All Day!
Location: Vai Beach
On Site: Restaurant, Snack Shop, Bathroom, and Umbrella/Chairs for Rent

Car or Scooter: Arriving by car or scooter (as we did) is by far the easiest way to get to the Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest. Even though it’s only a 10-15 minute drive from the closest town of Palekastro, it will feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

As you follow the signs, you’ll eventually turn down a random road and head toward the beach. Once you start to see the palm trees appear around you you’re almost to the main parking lot at Vai Beach Crete!

Bus: The only way to get to Via beach by public transportation is from the town of Sitia. There is a bus that runs from Sitia bus station to Vai Beach twice a day.

The one thing to note about this is that it does not drop you off directly there. You will have to continue by foot for the final stretch till you reach the beach.

→ Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Rent a Car on Crete Greece

Crete by Moped

Three Must-See Places at Vai Beach Crete

The Beach

Hitting the sandy shores at Vai Beach makes sense right!? Plan to have a full and fun beach day because it’s unlike any other we visited on the island. The soft white sand and clear blue water of Vai Beach makes it feel like you are transported to the Caribbean.

Palm trees dot the forest line, and the perfectly protected cove makes it hard to remember that you’re still in Greece! It will be hard not to immediately take a seat on the beach, but we recommend walking down to the far end. Just a quick 10 minute walk and you’ll be away from small crowds at the entrance, and into one of the best places in Crete.

Essential Facts About Vai Beach

  • Chairs & umbrellas are for rent and the prices are cut in half late in the afternoon.
  • Wooden changing cabins are at the Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest line for privacy.
  • Bathrooms can be found in the parking lot and run on a donation service.
  • The restaurant is reasonably priced, or you can grab sandwiches from the snack shops! We had the grilled feta, tomato, and olive sandwich and it was super yummy!

Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest

Vai Beach Crete Greece

Vai Beach Palm Tree Forest

You won’t be able to miss the palm trees at Vai Beach, but make sure you take the time to explore them! They’re right behind you if you’re sitting on the beach, and they cut back towards the road.

If there’s one downside to the palm tree forest it’s that a majority of the area is not available to the public. There are maybe a hundred or more palm trees that you can see, and they will make for great photos! However, if you dreamed of spending hours lost in the thousands of palm trees you may be a little disappointed.

Crete Vai Palm Tree Forest

Vai Beach Lookout Point

Make sure not to miss out on the short walk up to the Via Beach lookout point! There is a small set of stairs leading up on the right side of the beach where the restaurants and cafes are located. The path takes less than 10 minutes to ascend to the top.

Here you’ll have an incredible view of Via Beach Palm Tree Forest, and the surrounding Crete coastline. If you head to the other side you can even see the view of another amazing cove! Just make sure to watch your step… The cliff is steep and there are no guardrails!

Crete Beach

Crete Greece Beach Guide

Via Palm Tree Forest

Have you visited Vai beach and have any tips to share? Please comment below! Otherwise, if you have questions on Vai Palm tree forest we would be happy to help.

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where To Stay Near Vai Beach Crete 

There is no hotels directly on Vai Beach or within walking distance. Nonetheless, here are our 3 recommendations for places to stay that are only a quick drive away from one of the best places in Crete!

Ultra Luxury (High End) – Cavo Plako Villas – Only 5 km from Vai Beach, this is one of the closest properties to stay at. Enjoy the gorgeous view from the wide open apartments near the ocean.

Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Sirines Apartments – Set within an olive grove, these open apartments are perfect for anyone looking for their own space. Besides Vai Beach you will also find hiking, trekking, and walking in the area.

Relaxing Holiday  (Mid Range) – Hiona Holiday Hotel – Relax on the large sun terrace or enjoy some of the daily fresh baked cookies. This apartment-style hotel offers a large swimming pool and a great location to be close to all the beaches.

For more places to stay near Vai Beach Crete you can explore the latest prices here!


Greece Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities in Crete Greece. You can find everything from taking a boat cruise to Balos Lagoon, to a guided tour of Knossos Palace, and Trekking Samaria Gorge.

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

Greece Travel


Explore Greece

Travel Planning: Planning a TripCyclades Itinerary30 FactsGreek Ferry QuestionsSky Express Review 

Rhodes: Planning a TripRenting a Car1 Week Itinerary23 Things to DoOld TownElli BeachKallithea SpringsLindos GuideLindos AcropolisMonolithos –  Melenos Art Boutique Hotel11 Best BeachesAnthony Quinn Bay

Karpathos: Fun Things to Do1 Week ItineraryMust Try Food6 Best BeachesOlymposSaria Island Boat Tour

Crete: Elafonisi (Pink Sand)Bus Tips 

More Dodecanese: Halki IslandSymi Island GuideSymi Things to Do 

Cyclades: Moon Beach MilosAdamas MilosIosNaxos BeachesNaousa ParosGalissas SyrosMykonos Old TownSantorini

Corfu: Old Town FoodGreece to Albania Ferry


*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. June 27, 2019 / 4:42 am

    Great post! Can you recommend a place to rent a scooter in Crete?:)

    • Brigitte & Jake
      June 28, 2019 / 4:38 pm

      Thanks! So many places have scooter rentals all over Crete. We usually go to the tourist offices and ask them for a recommendation when we get to each town. They will be able to to point you in the right direction to someone reliable. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *