Crete is an island where myths come to life, where tradition and culture go hand in hand, where the land is blessed with abundant natural beauty, golden shores, canyons and rivers, mountains and valleys. Is a land where customs and festivals revive the greatness of the past, where all four seasons unfold the magical aromas and unique flavors that Cretan cuisine has to offer, where the wonders of centuries, hidden or visible, unfold before your eyes.
Agios Nikolaos is the capital of the prefecture of Lassithi and is a small but picturesque city with incomparable beauties on the northeastern coast of Crete.
The coastal road stretches along Agios Nikolaos and is full of life most months of the year. Numerous shops, restaurants, taverns, bars and hotels offer all the necessary amenities and whatever else the visitor desires. The old lighthouse and the church of Agioi Pantes on the nearby islands adorn the bay of the city while a European-standard marina hosts private boats and fishing boats all year round.
In the port of Agios Nikolaos there is a unique atmosphere of calm and relaxation thanks to the careful lighting of its sidewalks, but also the architecture of its houses. A walk is enough to wander among medieval monuments and feel the warm hospitality of the Cretans in one of the many traditional restaurants.
Lake Voulismeni is located at the centre of the town of Agios Nikolaos, connected to the harbour by a canal. It used to be a sweetwater lake that was later connected to the sea. Spinalonga Island lies in the Gulf of Mirabello and its strong fortifications withstood the Turkish sieges for longer than any other Cretan stronghold surrendering almost 30 years after the rest of Crete. Later on Spinalonga Island became a leper colony until 1953 and the island has been uninhabited ever since. It became famous because of the best seller “The Island” written by Victoria Hislop.
The Byzantine church of Agios Nikolaos, the Archaeological Museum (operates since 1969 and is considered one of the most important in Crete), the Folklore Museum (housed on the ground floor of the Port Authority, in one of the oldest buildings in the city, and houses objects from which present the life of the inhabitants), the Museum of Natural History, the Koundourios Municipal Library, the island of Agioi Pantes and the wetland of Almyros are just some of the worth visiting attractions during your stay in the area.
The beach in Plaka is located just 16km from the town of Agios Nikolaos and is one of the most well-organized beaches in Elounda with many facilities, while the beach itself has pebbles and views of the island of Spinalonga. On the central northern coastline of the prefecture, Mochlos beach stands out with the homonymous settlement offering a number of taverns and restaurants, which are often visited by famous people. On the contrary, on the east side of the prefecture there is the beach of Kouremenos which is suitable for diving thanks to its rich seabed but also for windsurfing due to the strong winds of the area.
Chrissi island or Gaidouronisi is a destination of exotic beauty with protected species of flora and fauna. During the summer, daily cruises are often so that tourists could enjoy temporarily the island’s crystal water and the cedar forest, because the permanent residence and the hotel accommodation are prohibited in the island. Another distinctive destination in the southern part of Lasithi is Koufonisi or also known as Lefki island, which is exclusively accessible by boat. This island was considered an important trade port in the past, while the excavations show that there are an ancient theater and thousand years old ruins sparsely all along the island.
Moreover, Spinaloga island is visited every summer by thousands of tourists by boats from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka to take a tour of its ruined buildings.
Around the lake of Agios Nikolaos, in the center of the city but also along the coastal road in front of the port are gathered the most famous coffee bars and clubs of the area. Overlooking the sea visitors can have fun listening to foreign and Greek music but also live folk music until the morning. In the famous Kitroplatia (east of the port) the traditional taverns of the city attract people of all ages.