Crete> Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is on the far eastern side of Crete facing out into the Aegean Sea, once the center of the 18-30´s market in Crete it is now a quiet seaside resort enjoyed by families and couples alike. The main attractions of Agios Nikolaos are the bottomless lake, excellent local shops filled with finely crafted jewelry and also the island of Spinalonga which sits just of the coast of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda.
Agios Nikolaos also boasts some lovely surrounding areas like Sitia, and further afield Ierapetra. Also close to Ag Nik is the wonderful beach of Vai beach, which was once the setting for the Bounty adverts of the early 1990’s. Agios Nikolaos is well worth visiting and an ideal holiday destination for couples and families.
Agios Nikolaos General Information
Agios Nikolaos is situated on the far east of Crete, and is the capital city for the prefecture of Lassithi. Agios Nikolaos is a wonderfully picturesque town, the area is famous for its Blue flag award winning beaches and more notably in the centre of the city the small lake, known locally as "Voulismeni" The lake is the biggest landmark of the city, the lake only recently joined to the sea by a small canal back in the 1800´s is of circular shape approximately 137 meters in diameter and 64 meters in depth. As local mythology goes the Greek goddess Athena would bathe herself in the lake of Voulismeni.
The locals say the lake is bottomless, and this adds to the appeal of the lake, but the actual depth of the lake is about 64 m deep. This is where the retreating Germans in WWII dumped all their ammunitions and tanks, never to be seen again. It is also said that Jacques Cousteau did some diving in the lake, trying to find the source of the actual lake.
Being such a well-known landmark for the city, the lake is surrounded by fine dining Tavern’s and cafes offering everything from small snacks to full meze meals. This is an excellent place to stop by and sit and have a coffee or frappe and watch the fisherman of Agios Nikolaos land their daily catch which goes straight to market or to the lakeside cafes.
The lake isn´t the only draw to the city, Agios Nikolaos also has some of the best jewelry shops in all of Crete, offering everything from rings and necklaces to intricately carved souvenirs. You can easily pick up a bargain here or even have something crafted if you’re on holiday long enough.
The city itself has 3 shingle beaches which are well served by beachfront bars and excellent beach service. One of the main beaches is Agios Nikolaos Municipal beach, although mainly shingle offers everything you would need, from cafes, sunbeds, children´s play facilities and much more.
Other beaches close to the center of Agios Nikolaos are Kitroplatia Beach, Ammos beach and the sandy Amoudi beach. All these are within easy reach of the main center and are very well signposted.
If you don’t want to spend every day of your holiday on the beach then it’s well recommended to take a look at the Crete Outdoors Guide which covers the area of Ag Nikolaos and Lassithi. If that all sounds too much like hard work then try the numerous boat trips the port of Agios Nikolaos offers. The main trip you will find on offer is a daily boat trip to the island of Spinalonga, but also there are plenty of fishing trips around the area.
Agios Nikolaos Nightlife Guide
Agios Nikolaos has some amazing restaurants and Taverns of which even with a fortnights holiday you would be hard pressed to fit in every gastronomic delight. So Holidays to Crete have provided a selection of some of the best and most talked about Taverns and restaurants in Agios Nikolaos. The first is choice of restaurant would have to be The Cretan Embassy, once an official place now a charming restaurant with inside and garden dining.
Other excellent restaurants include La Strada for great Greek and Italian food which can be found by going to the top of 28 Octovriou and turn 90 degrees right. Another famous restaurant in Ag Nik has to be Pelagos Tavern and this can easily be found by asking the locals.
For a nice beachfront restaurant try Thalassa: Beachside Tavern overlooking the beach of Kitroplatia. At dusk this provides a very romantic place to take your partner, having a delicious meal watching the sunset of the Aegean Sea.
After you have filled yourself with an excellent Cretan meal and a few glasses of local Krassi wine, then it’s time to move on and sample the local bars and clubs around Ag Nik. The 25 Martiou street is called by locals "Soho", try out Captain sky, Scorpios, Sixties, Tounel, Sorrento and Gianni’s bar which are very tourist oriented, while Roxy and Royale are more Greek clubs/bars.
If you have taken a holiday to Agios Nikolaos and experienced some excellent bars and friendly atmospheres then feel free to feedback or add your resort travel review.
Agios Nikolaos is ideal for
Agios Nikolaos is ideal for everyone, young and old, singles, couples and families, explorers and those who would rather spend their holidays on the beaches of Agios Nikolaos and other places nearby, such as Elounda to the north or Ammoudara and Istron to the south.
Tourist development almost disappears away from the coast, with the exception of Kritsa, a village whose traditional atmosphere draws large numbers of visitors.
This means that there are many opportunities for people who come to Agios Nikolaos on holiday wanting to explore non-touristy areas of East Crete, either by rented car or on organized daytrips.
Every visitor should bear in mind that Agios Nikolaos is a small town. If you don’t like the fact that you will get to see everything there is to see quite quickly, avoid planning a long stay here.
You should also avoid Agios Nikolaos if you’re looking for the wild nightlife of Hersonissos, Malia or Platanias. There is some nightlife in Agios Nikolaos and you’ll certainly have a good time here, but you won’t have the unlimited options of the other resorts.