Cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos is the capital of the Lassithi region and is located on the shores of Mirabello Bay and Lake Vulizmeni. The secret of the popularity of this resort lies not only in well-developed infrastructure. There are Blue Flag-awarded beaches very close to Agios Nikolaos and attractions known far beyond Crete.
What to see in Agios Nikolaos
The main treasure of Agios Nikolaos is the Lake of Vulizmeni, connected by a strait to the sea. If this reservoir did not exist, the city would definitely lose a lot. According to mythology, Artemis and Athena once bathed in the waters of the lake. There is one more common legend: they say that Vulizmen has no bottom - it really has impressive depth for its size. The lake is located in the center of the city, and the whole life of Agios Nikolaos is connected with it: there are numerous restaurants and shops around, moreover, tourists and locals can take romantic walks.
History lovers should visit the Archaeological Museum. It contains findings from different parts of Eastern Crete - the oldest are dating back to the Neolithic period. The museum features artifacts from burial sites, vases, gold jewelry, bronze weapons, coins, religious figures and statues.
Learn more about the culture of Crete in the Folklore Museum of Agios Nikolaos. The collection contains objects of art, including the Byzantine icons, folk costumes, handicrafts, household items, photographs and reconstruction of an authentic Cretan house.
The Byzantine Church of St. Nicholas stands among the ancient monuments of Agios Nikolaos. It was built in the IX century on a small hill. You can see medieval frescoes and paintings inside the building.
Attractions near Agios Nikolaos
The surroundings of Agios Nikolaos are replete with historical monuments. You can admire many sights, such as:
- The ruins of the ancient city of Lato. You can see Agora with the remains of the sanctuary on the territory of the excavation, and also stone walls, workshops and a theater;
- Spinalonga is famous “island of lepers”. You can reach it from Agios Nikolaos by boat;
- The mountain village of Kritsa, surrounded by olive groves. Kritsa is famous for its authentic flavor and ancient architecture;
- Monastery of Panagia Kera, founded in the XIV century. Its main church is painted with medieval frescoes;
- Monastery of Faneromeni, which is located in a mountainous area 25 km away from Agios Nikolaos. The oldest of its buildings is dated back to the 15th century.
The beaches of Agios Nikolaos
Sandy-pebble coast of the city is fully equipped. There are sun loungers, playgrounds, water sports centers and restaurants on the beach, which will appeal to lovers of a lively atmosphere. The area of Agios Nikolaos is famous for its excellent beaches, so it’s worth getting to the closest ones:
- Havania is a sandy beach with crystal clear sea, which is located 1 km from the center of Agios Nikolaos. This is a quiet bay with good infrastructure: there are hotels, taverns, water activities;
- Istro is a beach 13 km from Agios Nikolaos, covered with a mixture of white sand and pebbles. This bay is reliably protected from waves and winds, surrounded by green hills and is perfect place for relaxation away from noise;
- Amoudara is a long beach 5 km from Agios Nikolaos, one of the busiest in this area. Strong winds are not common in Amoudara and furthermore, it is well equipped: you can stay overnight in the hotel and try Greek dishes in the coastal taverns;
- Almiros is a beach 2 km from the city. It is suitable for family holidays and offers a wide range of entertainment.
Please note: the beaches of the popular resort of Elounda are among the most beautiful in eastern Crete just 11 km away from Agios Nikolaos.