- Vai, on Crete’s east coast
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Drive out to Crete’s remote east coast to see Finikodassos, a blissful golden sandy beach, with a crystal-clear turquoise sea. It’s backed by Europe’s largest natural palm grove, made up of 5,000 towering trees, dating from Biblical times, and giving the beach an exotic desert-island vibe. In peak season, daily excursion buses arrive from afar, but if you stay the night at the nearby Metohi Vai Village – an old-fashioned inn with seven rustic apartments plus an open-air eatery serving traditional Cretan fare – you’ll have the beach all to yourself from late-afternoon till mid-morning.