Palmtree forest of Vai beach, by Emmanouil Papadopoulos, will show you what it’s like to gaze out to sea from the shade of a palm tree on the sand
Palm tree paradise: In a recurring daydream, I’m laying on a golden sand beach, looking at a tempting turquoise sea, while the gently swaying fronds of a palm tree shade me from the blazing sun. It’s something I have done on Hawaii and in the Caribbean, but in this particular fantasy I’m on a Greek island vacation.
It’s a dream that could come true for me on Crete, where Vai beach boasts the largest natural palm tree forest in Europe — over 250,000 square meters of Cretan date palms.
Vai is situated near the northeastern tip of Crete, a 30-minute, 24-km drive from the town of Sitia, which I wrote about in my December 23 post, Sitia casts its spell. Once a haven for hippies in the 1970s, Vai is now one of the most popular tourist beaches in eastern Crete.
It’s not the only scenic beach with a palm tree grove on Crete. There is a unique palm-tree-lined river lagoon behind Preveli beach on the island’s south-central coast near Plakias (about 43 km south of Rethymno).
You can find photos and detailed information about Vai beach, including driving directions, on the Explore Crete website.
Photos and helpful information about Preveli beach can be found on the We Love Crete website.
Below are several videos that have led me to picture myself relaxing on a palm tree beach. The first two show Vai, while most of the bottom video shows the Preveli beach area, followed by some views of Vai.
Το Βαϊ από ψηλά – Vai palm grove on high is a 6.5-minute aerial video shot by Heraklion-based filmmaker Nikos Sarantos. If features impressive views of the palm forest, as well as the beach, bay, and surrounding coast.
The Miracle of Vai is an artistic time-lapse film showing the palm forest and beach from breathtaking day and night perspectives. Shot by Manos Efchetzis, it was compiled from “more than 6,000 images of night and day long exposure photography, taken over a month of photo shooting and edits.”
Lake Preveli & Vai, by YouTube contributor milero1000, shows scenes primarily from Preveli lake and beach in southern Crete, but also includes views of Vai during the final minute of the clip