The palm tree forest of Vai is a romantic and exotic place that worth visiting. It is located at the eastern side of Crete next to the sea approximately 20  Km east of Sitia.
The area of the forest is 200.000 square meters and is the only palm tree forest in Greece and Europe. In other areas of Crete there are small groups of trees or a few trees, but there is no forest.
Regarding the origin of the palm trees there are various stories. According to a legend, Arab pirates who came to the beach threw stones from the dates that they were eating and from these stones sprouted the palm trees. Another legend says that the forest was created in a similar way but by the Phoenicians who colonized Itanos area first.
The reality is that it consists of self-sown native palms called Theophrastus palm trees (Phoenix Theofrasti) or Cretan palm trees. That is the reason that it has been declared as one of the 19 aesthetic forests of Greece and in 1973 it was included in the category of the protected natural areas.
The name originates from the local dialect according to the Palm trees called Vagia or Vayia - Vai.