The only palm forest in Europe, with the beautiful beach and clean waters, is situated on the northern edge of the region on the headland of Sidero and its beauty is unique in Crete. The palm trees grow naturally here and their fronds cover the banks of the small stream that leads to the sea.
Quite apart from its beauty, Vai is also of significant ecological worth. It is a wetland recorded by the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre site: “Vai Marsh”, code no. GR432405000. It is a natural, seasonal, coastal wetland running down to a wonderful beach.
The wetland, along with the whole Vai area, is part of a large 24.8-hectare expanse with a palm forest, freshwater springs and a small water-meadow on the east side, near the sandy beach. The water comes from the drainage basin of the palm forest valley and at the end of the valley ponds and marshes are formed, creating an ideal resting-place for migratory and other birds.
The Vai Palm Forest is a verdant oasis in a hot and arid landscape, which, however, boasts significant biodiversity as a wildlife refuge.
Strictly protected in the heart of the Natura area, the palm forest has also been declared a special protection area, an area of outstanding natural beauty and an aesthetic forest.