Vai palm beach is one of the major attractions on the island of Crete. It features the largest natural palm forest in Europe. Regarding tourism, Vai became popular in the 70’s by the last hippies who fled the hot-spots Matala and Preveli. At the beginning of the 1980s Vai was full of backpackers from all over the world. Vai was enclosed and declared as a protected area. The unique forest recovered and the beach became clean again. The palm beach, which belongs to the Moni Toplou, is the touristic center of East Crete, with thousands of visitors each year. Vai lies close to Palekastro beach, the town of Sitia and the Dionysades islands.