Agios Nikolaos, the capital of the Lassithi Prefecture in Eastern Crete, is an attractive city built around a pleasant harbor and a picturesque lake that connects to the sea.
It is situated at the North-West part of the largest Cretan Bay, the Mirabello Bay, almost 65 kilometres away from the Heraklion Airport and 70 away from Siteia. It is the administrative and financial centre of the Prefecture and the commercial and cultural hub of Eastern Crete, with almost 9,500 inhabitants.
Agios Nikolaos used to be a small fishing village but grew to be an important tourist destination in the island, due to its natural beauty and the very unique and friendly climate: dry and mild without high levels of humidity. Although the region is inhabited since the antiquity, it became known worldwide during the 60s, as an elegant and picturesque hide way for many celebrities.
Notorious directors such as Walt Disney and the ‘Greek’ Jules Dassin have chosen this place to shoot movies and documentaries. The beginning of the 70s though brought numerous tourists – ever since then tourists have been arriving in force.
What to do in Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is an ideal place for relaxation and fun all year long; it is suitable for all ages and gives access to some of the most known beaches and resorts in Crete. It combines the famous Cretan hospitality with the authenticity of the Greek way of life.
The landmark the city is of course the small lake, Voulismeni, around which the city is built. It is a circular lake and is located at the foot of the cliffs. According to Greek Mythology Goddess Athena used to take her baths in the lake. Numerous cafés and open restaurants are situated now at the banks of the lake.
Among the major attractions in the area is the beach of Almyros, situated just one kilometre away from the city; a lovely coastal path leads to the beach.
The archaeological museum of Agios Nikolaos features a large collection of artefacts and findings from Eastern Crete and the second most important Minoan collection after the Museum of Heraklion.
The Iris Museum, featuring an extensive collection of dried herbs and the Cretan flora is also quite interesting place to visit; there is also a shop with essential oils made from organic ingredients.
You can also take small boats from the harbor of Agios Nikolaos and visit the renowned island of Spinaloga, close to Elounda.