Lasithi, the easternmost administrative division of Crete, is synonymous with the famed palm forest at Vai, but also houses a large number of other rare ecosystems and one unique piece of geomporphology.
As well as the main island Koufonisi, the region includes smaller islets – Stronguli, Makrouli and Marmara to the north, with only Trachilos to the south. The sea comprises 60% of the designated territory. Koufionisi itself is a small island with a hot and dry climate. It has both sandy and pebbly shorelines.
Selakano Forest is one of wild beauty, one of the most important ecosystems on the island and so included in the Natura 2000 network. A pine forest, in a mountain setting, it begins some 35 km to the northwest of Ierapetra and runs on up the slopes below the summit of Afendi Christos peak of the Dicte massif.
Vai plam forest lies in a beautiful valley and by a sandy beach, just north of ancient Itanos: 28 km from Siteia, 8 from Palaikastro and 6 from Toplou by their respective roads. Covering 200 stremmata (50 acres), it is made up of the native Theophrastus palms – the largest colony not only in Greece but also in all Europe...