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    Vai

    Vai beach has fine golden sand and pebbles at its north end. You can leave your car in the car park behind the forest, which costs 2.5 euros (2009 prices).

    The beach is 200 m from the parking area and is fenced, as is the forest, in an attempt to protect the area. The beach is fully organised, with sun loungers, straw umbrellas and wooden walkways for easy access. It costs 6 euros to rent an umbrella and lounger, but the palm trees offer free shade to anyone quick enough to spread their towel underneath.

    Naturally such a popular place as Vai has thousands of visitors each summer. If you come in July and August, be prepared for the crowds. If, on the other hand, you visit Vai at the beginning or end of the tourist season, you will enjoy the scenery and sea far more.

    At the side of the beach, near the steps to the viewing platform, is a restaurant and a cafeteria with chairs and tables set out in a pretty, flat space among the palm trees.

    The cafeteria is the only one near the beach, and its prices are normal for Crete in spite of the fact that it has a virtual monopoly. There are also toilets on the beach and outdoor showers for washing off the salt after your swim.

    You can also try watersports at Vai, including banana boat, jet-skiing and wakeboarding.

    If you feel like a walk, climb the steps at the side of the beach to the viewing platform, which offers a panoramic view of the whole area and the beautiful palm forest of Vai. Here you can take wonderful pictures and see the small neighbouring beach, 5 minutes’ walk north of Vai.

    If you decide to go for a walk in the palm forest, you will see - if you’re lucky - a small lake formed by rainwater among the trees. This phenomenon is more frequent in early summer or in September.

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