Holidays in Agios Nikolaos
How much you enjoy your holidays in Agios Nikolaos depends on personal taste. Agios Nikolaos is a small town just made for holidays, and there is something for everyone here.
The town is located in what is perhaps the most beautiful part of East Crete, offering history, sightseeing, archaeological sites and many different beaches to those who choose it for their summer holidays in Crete.
You can make your holidays in Agios Nikolaos as adventurous or relaxing as you like.
Practical information on holidays in Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos has its own harbour and a well-organised marina for sailing vessels and yachts. The protected marina area has moorage for 250 vessels up to 50 metres long, with electricity, water and fuel lines provided.
Ferries depart from the harbour Agios Nikolaos for various Aegean islands, including Santorini, Melos, Kasos, Karpathos, Rhodes, Kos and Samos. This makes Agios Nikolaos ideal for anyone interested in island-hopping through the Greek Islands.
In the town centre you will find banks, cashpoints, pharmacies, all sorts of shops and anything else you may require on your holiday here.
Hotels in Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos has hotels to suit every taste and budget, both inside the town and outside it.
There are large all-inclusive hotels in the town and its environs, as well as smaller town hotels with a view of the lake or the sea.
If you want apartments for rent, you must look outside Agios Nikolaos, as there are very few in the town itself.
Tavernas and Restaurants in Agios Nikolaos
There are many restaurants and tavernas in Agios Nikolaos. The ones you’ll see first are clustered around the picturesque lake of Agios Nikolaos.
Kitroplateia by night
There are also restaurants in other parts of town, such as Kitroplateia (Citrus Square) (photo -->).
The street that starts at the square and describes a semi-circle to the harbour offers a lovely view of the sea and many different options for food and fun.
Another place in Agios Nikolaos with few but excellent restaurants is the small Gargadoros beach.
This is south of Agios Nikolaos, between the Municipal Beach and Almyros Beach.
Cafés and Bars in Agios Nikolaos
Nearly all the bars in Agios Nikolaos are in the heart of town, around the harbour. Most of the cafeterias are also found here and round the lake.
If you go to Agios Nikolaos on holiday...
A holiday in Agios Nikolaos or even a visit there is unthinkable without a stroll round the lake. There you can drink your coffee, eat if you feel like it and, of course, take lots of photos. For a better view, climb up to the park above the south side of the lake.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos or the Folk Museum, in the town centre.
Discover all the beaches of Agios Nikolaos. No other town in Crete has so many to offer.
Some of the main ones are: Kitroplateia, Ammos, the Municipal Beach, Ammoudi, Havania, Almyros, Ammoudara.
South of Agios Nikolaos you’ll find the lovely little inlets at Istron and beaches at Kalo Chorio, while to the north is the wonderful Driros or Dreros beach, Elounda and Plaka.
Visit the chapel of Agios Nikolaos on the Ammoudi peninsula. From the little bridge over the lake, follow the coastal road northwest (in the direction of Elounda), on foot or by car, along a pleasantly rewarding route.
You will soon come to the Ammoudi peninsula. It’s a fantastic, relaxing route just a few minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of Agios Nikolaos, and you’ll realise that Agios Nikolaos has its own magic, above and beyond its famous lake.
On the Ammoudi peninsula is a tiny church dedicated to Agios Nikolaos (St Nicholas), from which the town has taken its name. The church of Agios Nikolaos contains two layers of wall paintings unique in Crete. The first layer, dating from the 9th century, during the Iconoclastic period, has plant and geometrical patterns, while the second layer dates from the 14th century.
Agios Nikolaos is a great base from which to explore East Crete, from Elounda and Plaka to the north as far as Ierapetra and the island of Chryssi to the south, Sitia and the Vai palm forest to the northeast, or Makry Gialos and Koufonissi Island to the southeast.
Take the boat for a daytrip to Spinalonga, the island on which the lepers of Crete were once isolated.
From Agios Nikolaos you can easily visit the mountain villages on the eastern slopes of the Dicte range, such as Males and Kalamafka.
The traditional village of Kritsa, near Agios Nikolaos, is definitely well worth a visit. Near Kritsa is the ancient city of Lato, so you can visit them both on the same day.
Continuing up the road from Kritsa, you can enjoy the wonderful view of the sea and the east coast of Crete, while at the end of the road awaits the Katharo Plateau with its good tavernas, open in the summer.
Another archaeological site near Agios Nikolaos is the ruined town of Gournia, on the road to Sitia and Ierapetra. Gournia is 18 kilometres from Agios Nikolaos, on the narrowest part of the island of Crete, the Isthmus of Ierapetra.
Gournia is particularly interesting because the whole of the Minoan town has been excavated, something which doesn’t happen very often for various reasons. This is why many people call it the “Pompey of Crete”.
Gournia had its own little Palace, while the houses are small and built very close together. The town flourished from 1650 to 1450 BC during the final period of Minoan Civilisation, was destroyed in 1450 BC and continued in habitation until 1200 BC.