Crete tourist guide

The best Polish website dedicated to the Greek island Crete and to a small extent of continental Greece. You will find useful information related to visiting Crete that goes beyond the offer of optional tours. On the website you will also find descriptions of the most interesting places that we visited by visiting this largest Greek island. The content complements the current news, photographs and recipes of Greek cuisine.

Palm beach of Vai

Palm beach in Vai belongs to the TOP 10 most popular tourist destinations in Crete. It is known primarily from the palm forest, which grows here. It is the largest palm grove in Europe, covering about 250 thousand square meters, which currently grows less than 5000 trees. However, not only palm trees attract tourists to this place, because the picturesque Vai is also a great sand and pebble beach, partially hidden in the shade of palm leaves. A warm and dry climate, an exotic beach with whitish sand and palm trees bring to mind landscapes from Africa and the Caribbean.

Beach in Vai

From Bounty to hippies

Vai grew loud when in the 1970s a commercial of coconut Bounty bars was filmed on the background of a palm grove, which probably most of you associate. Coconuts falling in advertising were fabricated because only date palms grow on Vai. Nevertheless, paradise on earth was discovered. The hippies first appeared here, looking for a new mecca, and Vai became a giant camping site surrounded by a mountain of garbage.

The changes were brought by the 80's. The hippie movement began to die, so representatives of this trend ceased to belong to the Vai landscape. In addition, in 1980 a regulation on the protection of palm forest was issued. The relevant regulations, the European Union and forestry services are watching today, so that no one would threaten the safety of the forest. Vai is one of the 19 areas of Greece recognized as an area of ​​special protection under Protocol 4 to the Barcelona Convention on Protected Areas of the Mediterranean. The area is fenced and is only available during the day. You can not smoke bonfires, break tents, all activities that can threaten fauna and flora are forbidden. There are also no hotels or apartments for rent. The nearest accommodation units are already built outside the protected area. This restrictive action, however, has had a positive effect, because today Vai is a clean and beautiful place, and the beach is decorated with the Blue Flag


The genesis of a palm grove

Reading various guides you probably came across various theories about the emergence of a palm forest. The most popular of them says that the palm trees grew out of date seeds, which were chewed by the Saracen pirates who came here. Pips that spit out on the ground turned into about 6,000 trees. In another theory, the place of the Arabs was occupied by Phoenician sailors who colonized this part of Crete. These legends, however, can be inserted between fairy tales, because scientists have dealt with them, who proved that the species of palm growing here is an endemic plant known as Phoenix theophrasti (Cretan Date Palm). This palm tree has been known since ancient times and its existence has been recorded in historical accounts.

Vai Beach

Although the beach is considered to be sandy, it is actually sand and pebble. The gravel turns into dust in places, which, when heated, reaches temperatures that prevent comfortable walking. For this reason, wooden platforms have been placed here. The beach is equipped with a complete tourist infrastructure. For 6 € you can rent sun loungers here with a characteristic umbrella, if there are free seats. Due to its fame, this beach in high season is heavily besieged, so after arriving there is a high probability that the seats are only in the shade of palm trees (though not necessarily) or just on the sand. Other facilities include fresh water showers and toilets.

The beach at Vai

There is a tavern by the beach, supposedly placed illegally, unfortunately offering prices at slightly inflated prices. The beach, like the palm forest, is fenced and the car should be left in a paid parking lot located 200 m in front of the beach.

On the Vai you can also do typical sports water sports (wakeboarding, scooters, water skiing), calm waters also encourage enthusiasts of watching sea life for swimming with a snorkel. It is also worth spending some time to enter the viewpoint, from where you have a beautiful view of the beach and the forest.


How to get to Vai

This beach is available for motorized tourists, because travel agencies rarely offer their customers a trip to remote Vai. You can also get here by KTEL, because there is a connection organized from Sitia, but you have to plan it well. First, ngo to Sitia, 24 km away, and catch a bus to Vai 2-3 times a day.

Vai is located 94 km from Agios Nikolaos and 24 km from the larger city of Sitia. Due to the very distant location from popular tourist centers, an excursion to Vai is worth combining, for example, with visiting the monastery of Moni Toplou, to which the whole area belongs. It is also worth taking the opportunity to look into Itanos, where there are very interesting excavations.

Access map to Vai

If your hotel is in the middle of Crete, getting to Vai will be an expedition to which you have to spend the whole day. Getting from the western part of Crete is basically unprofitable. Convenient New National Road past Lastros goes into a much narrower road full of curves to the limit. It passes into a more simple form only after the village of Skopi, not far 9 km before Sitia. For this reason, getting here takes a lot of time and is quite tiring. Next to Sitia, the landscape is compared to some of the North African ones. Overcoming the remaining road between Moni Toplou and Vai is not a problem. It is a fairly simple route, just follow the signs.

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Interesting places on Crete

↤ click the appropriate part of the island to change the bottom map

Malia
Malia

Malia

Information about one of the more known tourist cities of Crete, or about Malia. Description of attractions located in the city of Malia and a description of the specificity of this town.

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Kritsa
Kritsa

Kritsa

Kritsa is one of the largest villages in Crete. The village has a lot of shops with local crafts.

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Lasithi
Lasithi

Lasithi

The Lasithi Plateau is located about 70 kilometers from the capital of Crete - Heraklion. The average height at which the terrain of this plateau is located is 840 m above sea level.

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Dikte Cave
Dikte Cave

Dikte Cave

One of the tourist attractions eagerly visited by people spending their holidays in Crete is the Dikte (Psychro) cave. The main factors that attract people to this cave are a rich and varied dripstone robe and a close connection with mythology.

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Panagia Kera
Panagia Kera

Panagia Kera

Among the olive groves in the place called Logari, which is less than a kilometer from the village of Kritsa, there is a small Byzantine church of Panagia Kera from the 13th-14th centuries.

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Stalida
Stalida

Stalida

Stalida is located directly along the coast and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Crete, which definitely comes alive with the advent of the tourist season

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Gorge Ha
Gorge Ha

Gorge Ha

Most people crossing the route between Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra will definitely notice the large crack which is marked by the mountain located east of this road. This majestic geological creation called Ha was probably created as a result of an earthquake.

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Xerokambos
Xerokambos

Xerokambos

Xerokambos is a small settlement in which you will find literally several taverns, and most of the buildings are single-storey and one-story houses. The big advantage of this beach is a gentle sandy descent to the sea.

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Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος) is a small town with less than 20,000 inhabitants. permanent residents (according to statistical data from 2001). This city is the capital of the Lasithi nomos.

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Elounda
Elounda

Elounda

Although Elounda seems to be a sleepy fishing town to this day, however, appearances should not fool you, because this town and its surroundings can boast of probably the largest number of the best hotels.

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Elounda
Elounda

Elounda

Although Elounda seems to be a sleepy fishing town to this day, however, appearances should not fool you, because this town and its surroundings can boast of probably the largest number of the best hotels.

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Stalida
Stalida

Stalida

Stalida is located directly along the coast and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Crete, which definitely comes alive with the advent of the tourist season

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Lato
Lato

Lato

The ancient city of the LATO can be found near the charming village of Krista near Agios Nikolaos.

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Gournia
Gournia

Gournia

It is recognized that Gournia was inhabited between 3000 BC. 1,200 BC and is one of the few cities unearthed to a large extent.

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Zakros
Zakros

Zakros

Zakros is the fourth-largest Minoan palace in Crete in importance and size. This latest found, built on the east coast of the island is located in the village of Káto Zákros.

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zakros
zakros

zakros

Zakros is the fourth-largest Minoan palace in Crete in importance and size. This latest found, built on the east coast of the island is located in the village of Káto Zákros.

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Palace in Malia
Palace in Malia

Palace in Malia

The first palace was built around 1900 BC. in the place where there was a quite impressive settlement whose remains were later transformed into the central part of the city.

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Moni Toplou
Moni Toplou

Moni Toplou

Moni Toplou (Μονή Τοπλού) also called as The Great Monastery is one of the most beautiful and important monasteries in Crete.

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Moni Toplou
Moni Toplou

Moni Toplou

Moni Toplou (Μονή Τοπλού) also called as The Great Monastery is one of the most beautiful and important monasteries in Crete.

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Mochlos
Mochlos

Mochlos

Mochlos is a small town located roughly halfway between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.

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Vai
Vai

Vai

O Vai zrobiło się głośno, gdy w latach 70-tych na tle palmowego gaju nakręcono reklamę kokosowych batoników Bounty.

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Spinalonga
Spinalonga

Spinalonga

This inconspicuous little island located about 5 km from the center of Elounda is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Crete.

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Trypitos
Trypitos

Trypitos

When heavy equipment entered the promontory near Sitia, no one expected that this area contained the ruins of the Hellenic city.

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Richtis
Richtis

Richtis

The abundance of water and shade mean that even at the peak of the tourist season, this place is full of lush vegetation.

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Chamaizi
Chamaizi

Chamaizi

At the top of a cone-shaped hill called Souvloto Mouri, the remains of an unusual building with a unique oval shape were discovered.

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Moni Toplou Winery
Itanos
Itanos

Itanos

The ruins of the ancient city of Itanos are located at the eastern tip of Crete, less than 3 kilometers north of the famous palm beach of Vai. Although there are also nice beaches at Itanos, unlike its well-known neighbor, this place does not attract crowds. There are either accidental stray tourists or excavation enthusiasts here.

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Roussolakos
Roussolakos

Roussolakos

Just over 2 km from Palekastro, next to Chiona beach, there is a large archaeological site called Roussolakos

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Roussolakos
Roussolakos

Roussolakos

Just over 2 km from Palekastro, next to Chiona beach, there is a large archaeological site called Roussolakos

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Ierapetra
Ierapetra

Ierapetra

Ierapetra (Ιεράπετρα) is the fourth largest city of Crete and also the largest town located in the Lassithi prefecture.

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Diaskari - Green Beach
Diaskari - Green Beach

Diaskari - Green Beach

Diaskari Beach, also known as Green Beach, is less than 3 km from Makry Gialos.

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Koufonissi - cruise to the island
Koufonissi - cruise to the island

Koufonissi - cruise to the island

Koufonissi is a small island in the Libyan Sea, located just a stone's throw from the southern coast of Crete.

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Makry Gialos
Makry Gialos

Makry Gialos

Makry Gialos is one of the less-appreciated tourist destinations in Crete.

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Sitia
Sitia

Sitia

Less than 10,000 population of Sitia makes the city the smallest in Crete. Some even go a step further and say perversely that it is rather the largest village of Crete.

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Napoleon's house
Napoleon's house

Napoleon's house

Napoleon's house is one of the few typically tourist attractions in Ierapetra. About what could have happened here in the summer of 1798 and possibly how much in this legend is the truth we write in the article on the page below.

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Zakros and Kato Zakros
Zakros and Kato Zakros

Zakros and Kato Zakros

Zakros is a small town on the east coast of Crete, less than 40 km south-east of Sitia.

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Beach at Skinaria

Beach at Skinaria

Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism. Peace and quiet and an interesting bottom abounding in the marine flora and fauna are the biggest advantages of this beach. Under favorable conditions, crystal clear water allows visibility up to 40m deep into the sea. It should not be surprising that Skinaria is so eagerly visited by diving centers.

Elafonisi - a beach with pink sand

Elafonisi - a beach with pink sand

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Glyka Nera

Glyka Nera

Glyka Nera is one of the most spectacular beaches in Crete. Located at the foot of a majestic, steep hillside high for several hundred meters, it is one of the better places for peaceful rest. There are relatively few people here who get to this beach by boat or on their own feet. It is worth knowing that the popular London Times in 2003 recognized this beach as one of the 20 most interesting in Europe.

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