Vai, in the east of Crete, is famous for its palm trees and the location of a dim and distant Bounty advertisement. If you holiday in the east of Crete, you’ll see coach trips to paradise being offered by most agents.
Sadly, the reality is often a long coach ride to a remote, but very crowded, noisy beach. We drove there once, years ago, looked around in dismay, bought some over ripe, over priced grapes, had a paddle, and left.
However, being in Crete during these odd corona virus times, we decided it would be a good time to revisit Vai. As you can see, we were the third car in the car park at 10.30 a.m. Unusually for Crete there was a car park charge; a modest €3 for the day. The only people I know to have seen the car park this empty is my sister and her husband when they once left Kritsa before 5.00 a.m.!
We cheated, rather than make such an early start we’d booked two nights in studio accommodation near Sitia.
To the left of the beach, there are steps up the rocky headland for an excellent view. The rows of neatly spaced sunbeds gives evidence to the usual number of visitors. When we paid for our sunbeds, (€10 for two ordinary or €30 for two luxury) the ticket seller said each lounger would have several occupants per day in a typical season. Perhaps just as well it was quiet as each set needs cleaning after use and is then left for two hours without occupants. Even at the peak, less than a third of the sunbeds were in use during our visit. This was good for us, but horrible for the local economy.
The crystal clear water was a shade cooler than at our local beaches near Istron, and even more refreshing. All the facilities including a restaurant, snack bars, shops and toilets were open. However, thanks to our self catering accommodation, I’d made our picnic lunch, so I can’t comment on the quality of the Vai meals/snacks.
If only I’d thought to buy a Bounty Bar, I could have had some fun taking photos of it on Vai until it melted (or I ate it). I searched on YouTube trying to find the original advert, but none of the clips I found seemed set on Vai.
By mid afternoon we were ready for exercise, so we drove off to explore the nearby ancient remains at Itanos. To find out more, click this link to one of my favourite websites, Cretan Beaches.
Our route back to Sitia was on the more desolate road that passes Toplou Monastery. I have lovely memories of visiting this place with my mum and although it’s off the beaten track, it is well worth a visit. Here is another Cretan Beaches link about Toplou Monastery.
As for us, it was back to Sitia to enjoy another evening. First, a stroll along the harbour.
Right at the end of this harbour walk we found an excellent place to sit and watch get dark.
For a treat I had a cocktail, well it was my holiday! Our meal could have been any of the waterside places. They all looked tempting and covid safe. We chose Zorba’s as we’d not been there for many years – an excellent choice.
That was it, our two night holiday was over. Somehow we never get that end of holiday feeling when we are returning home to Kritsa. Nearing the Mochlos turn at ‘coffee time’ it seemed silly not to enjoy a drive down, stroll and enjoy a bit of wave watching.
If you have any worries about visiting Crete during this pandemic, I assure you that all the accommodation, shops, cafes, restaurants and beach facilities we have visited are doing a first-class job. So, forget that package holiday, book a flight and find your own accommodation – we used Booking.com. Now, watch this….