Agios Nikolaos Crete

Agios Nikolaos is one of the largest population centers in the easternmost prefecture of Lasithi on the island of Crete. Located on the island’s northeastern shores along Mirabello Bay, it is a small city, but it’s well-connected. With daily ferry service from the mainland and ground transportation from Crete’s capital Heraklion, it’s easy to get to Agios Nikolaos. Besides the beaches, the town named for Saint Nicholas is known for its laid-back charm, burgeoning food scene, and traditional music, along with Lake Voulismeni.

The hub of the Lassithi Prefecture is the gateway to a host of small towns and villages, charming beaches, and even more delights found only in Crete. The traditional fishing village of Milatos boasts old stone houses as well as a historic cave with a small church inside. Neighboring Vrahassi is also known for its churches as well as its museum showcasing island life from the 17th to early 20th century. Neapoli, another town easy to reach from Agios Nikolaos, boasts a bustling market. Spinalonga was once an island leper colony made famous by the best-selling novel "The Island," and Selinari remains home to the St. George Monastery. All of these laces are must-see sites when staying in or near Agios Niikolaos.

Agios Nikolaos Beaches

Agios Nikolaos Beaches
Agios Nikolaos Beaches  Image: MatthewJCarter (flickr)

With the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean meeting the sandy shores, the beaches of Agios Nikolaos are especially delightful. Many of the beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag status, a nod towards their quality and environmental standards. The city, resorts, and other partners have worked to make sure that Agios Nikolaos has some of the best beaches in the region. It’s not hard to reach the beaches; most are withing in a quick stroll or short ride of the town center, and it’s always easy to find transportation to the beach.

Amoudara boasts a long stretch of sand and sun, perfect for sunbathing, watersports and swimming. Many visitor amenities are just steps away, including beach hotels and tavernas. Another popular beach, Almyros also offers plenty of sand and watersports opportunities. Nestled in a calm cove, this beach has shallow, calm waters for safe swimming. On the road to Elounda, another popular Lassithi getaway, Havania is another beach perfectly primed for enjoyment. Like all the beaches in Agios Nikolaos, Havania is busiest in the summertime and serves as a launching point for diving adventures.

Agios Nikolaos Crete Nightlife

Agios Nikolaos Crete Nightlife
Agios Nikolaos Crete Nightlife

Once the sun begins to go down, the beaches clear out as Agios Nikolaos’ nightspots begin to fill up. The city’s restaurants and tavernas server supper crafted out the freshest local foods that make up the famous healthy Cretan diet. During the summertime, the high season for tours, it’s not unusual for dinners to linger well into the night and wee hours of the morning. Agios Nikolas isn’t as boozy as Malia and Hersonossos, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. It’s not difficult to find live music after dark—traditional music, including the lyra, bouzouki, and guitar are played by the locals during the night. Don’t feel shy about getting up to dance.

Agios Nikolaos Crete Hotels – Resorts & Villas

Agios Nikolaos Crete Hotels – Resorts & Villas
Agios Nikolaos Crete Hotels – Resorts & Villas

If you’re looking for the typical Mediterranean resorts, you won’t find them in Agios Nikolaos itself. Nearby Elounda has the type of elegant resorts that attract the jet set, and it’s not hard to find resorts in Heraklion. Many villa rentals are found on the coast surrounding Agios Nikolaos, often with special rates during the fall. That doesn’t mean there’s not where for visitors to stay in Agios Nikolaos. Mirabella Apartments specializes in affordable accommodations, complete with kitchenettes. St. Nicolas Resort Hotel & Villas (pictured) overlooks a quiet beach on Mirabello Bay. This luxury resort features a spa, al fresco breakfasts, and a pool complex to accompany its spacious guestrooms. After a day spent at the spa or under the sea diving, guests can return to the resort to enjoy its gourmet restaurant followed by cocktails on the terrace.

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