Vai Palm Forest

Α palm tree forest stretching on a marvellous valley and sandy beach, next to the ancient Itanos, 28 km away from Sitia.

It is 8 km away from Palekastro and 6 km away from TOPLOU Monastery.

It covers 200 acres and consists of self planted palm trees of Theophrastus (Phoenix Theofrasti).

It is unique of its kind in Greece, Europe and probably the world.

There are many legends about how it was created. It is said that it was created by the Phoenicians who as it was believed were the first to settle Itanos, while according to other versions it was created by the seeds of dates that Egyptian soldiers of Ptolemy VI (pilometor) used to eat, or the soldiers of King Mithridates of Pontus who came as allies to that area, or Saracen pirates or invaders.

Whatever may be the cause of the Vai forest’s existence, one thing is for sure, it is maintained due to the dry, hot climate and the underground water of the valley.

In addition, the palm tree existed in ancient Crete as mentioned in the works of Theophrastus and Pliny and the depiction of the palm tree on coins and pots.

Apart from palm trees, you also find other species of African vegetation that contribute to the biodiversity of this area.

This location is also the meeting point, the crossroad for migrating birds.

Vai because of its special value and beauty is protected by the Greek state, European Union and international contracts.

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