Agios Nikolaos Crete

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Agios Nikolaos Crete - Lake Voulismeni with coloured fishing boats (image by Thomas Kohler)

Agios Nikolaos Crete - we love to explore this town and eastern Crete, from ancient sites to magnificent beaches to mountain villages to the township itself, there is something around every corner to surprise and delight in this relaxed seaside town.

Agios Nikolaos Crete - the capital and administrative centre of the Lasithi Region of eastern Crete. Located 63 km from Heraklion and 60 km from Heraklion Airport, this town keeps its Greek rhythms and character.

Take the ferry from here to Karpathos and Rhodes, or take your flight from the domestic airport of Sitia 70 km to the east.

After staying here, we took our ferry to Rhodes from here, and on other trips visited Elounda and other nearby beaches.

See our central Agios Nikolaos highlights of the town:

  • Lake Voulismeni
  • The Harbour
  • Town Beaches
  • Agios Nikolaos Hotels
  • Self-Drive Trips
Pretty pedestrian streets flow down to the harbour (image by Andrew Skudder)


Agios Nikolaos Lakeside

Activities to enjoy here:

Restaurants and Cafés

Gioma Meze Bar looking over Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, CreteGioma Meze Bar looking over Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, Crete

For a day or evening drink with a great view you can't miss Gioma Meze, great food, not just a pretty face.

Gioma Meze, great food not just a pretty face.Gioma Meze, stay outside with a view

View from Cafe Du Lac over Lake Voulismeni with my coffee in the foreground! That is my kinda coffee spot :)
Cafe Du Lac - my sugar sachet - I couldn't resist the merman

One of our favourite destinations for a coffee is Café du Lac with a wonderful view over Lake Voulismeni. This café bar is popular with locals and travellers and has internet, atmosphere and great music.

Cafe du Lac sits directly on Lake Voulismeni in Agios NikolaosCafe du Lac sits directly on Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos Crete

Lake Voulismeni at dusk (image by Brian Snelson)Lake Voulismeni at dusk -it is just so romantic to stroll around the lake in the evening

The Avli Taverna serves fantastic traditional mezedes in a relaxing pebbly courtyard with a garden. It is the best of Cretan atmosphere with great food and service (right).

Traditional Greek Taverna
Zygos Urban Garden, right next to the lakeZygos Urban Garden, right next to the lake

We also like the Zygos Cafe, right next to the lake, relaxing with a coffee or a few mezedes.

Avra Bistro is very busy so book ahead, this is your traditional Greek taverna food at its best, with friendly service and decent prices. There are some dishes to suit international visitors like pizza and prawns provencal.

Cafe culture by the lakeside (image by Matthew J Carter)

Chrisofyllis is a taverna, ouzeri, a restaurant or mezedopolio, whichever you prefer, located near Kitroplateia Beach in town, with a sea view. Stay for a drink and some snacks or stay for dinner, it is up to you. Try the zucchini flowers and shrimp saganaki.

Piato, located on Ammoudi Beach this is a waterside taverna with good service, excellent reviews and plenty of ambience. The speciality is seafood so try the swordfish and the fresh fish of day caught in the very Mirabello Bay you look over whilst you dine.

Diving Agios Nikolaos Crete

Diving in Mirabello Bay off Agios Nikolaos gives visitors a magic experience of this scenically beautiful bay and the sea life both above and below

When you dive in the Mediterranean you might look for world class experiences such as:

  • Great dive spots
  • Good clarity of water – excellent visibility
  • Interesting sea life
  • Good equipment
  • Safety and instruction from the dive hosts
  • Modern and reliable boats and craft
  • Fun and friendly crews
  • Professional accreditation
  • Good prices
  • A variety of activities
  • Local knowledge

All of this you will find at Pelagos Dive Centre with Stefanos and his team, located at Minos Beach Art Hotel.

Day Tours from Agios Nikolaos Crete

Sailing out from the harbour of Agios Nikolaos over the clear blue waters into the bright expanse of Mirabello Bay is a must. The Sitia mountains in the distance, the sparkles on the water, and a mysterious island to explore on the Spinalonga Day Tour

Take a full day tour with a BBQ lunch to see some of the unique history of the area and enjoy the natural beauty.

The Ancient Site of Gournia

The Archaeological Site of Gournia (image by Shadowgate)Agios Nikolaos Crete is in the viewed from the ancient site of Gournia

The setting by the bay makes this trip worth it just for the scenery. This is a site for serious history buffs, it is not a touristic site at all. This is a genuine ruin set amongst olive groves, next to a dusty track 2 km inland from Pachia Ammos Beach and 20 km south from Agios Nikolaos. There is very little interpretation and no shade or structures, so ensure you take water and sun protection. Best to go early in the hot months.

This is a Minoan site first settled in 2300 BC and excavated at the beginning of the 20th century.  Minoans were farmers and raised animals, fished and made pottery such as large rhyton vases and tools such as chisels, all found on the site. This site is marked as Minoiki Poli on Google Maps, which means Minoan Town.

Combined with a visit to Pachia Ammos Beach and perhaps the stunning Ha Gorge, this will make a fascinating day trip from Agios Nikolaos.

Toplou Monastery

Toplou Monastery (image by Mark Latter)

Toplou Monastery - this significant religious, historic and cultural settlement (pictured above) can be reached by car 85 km east from Agios Nikolaos. Housing a museum and winery, the monastery also produces local honey and olive oil, using biological techniques.

A visit to the monstery can be included in a day trip to Sitia, Vai Palm Beach and Palekastro Village to explore the Lasithi region.

Getting to Agios Nikolaos Crete...

There are no flights to Agios Nikolaos, the nearest international airport is Heraklion Airport HER which is 60 km from town. There is a small domestic airport at Sitia (JSH) in eastern Crete, some 70 km from town, that accepts flights from Athens.

Plane icon

Flights to Heraklion with Olympic Airlines...

Plane icon - flights to Heraklion

Flights to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines...

Car icon - hire car Heraklion

Hire a car to enjoy the scenery...take the national road east along the north coast.

Or arrange a pre-booked transfer for peace of mind...

Bus icon - local buses to Agios Nikolaos

Independent travellers might prefer to take the local bus...

Accommodation Nearby

Our town accommodation suggestions are here...

Our beach accommodation suggestions for eastern Crete are here...

There is a range of accommodation in the hillside villages and on the beaches all around the region, within easy driving distance from town, with some handy suggestions below.

Panorama Villas really do have a panoramic view of the beautiful Mirabello Bay and Sitia Mountains. Looking back to Agios Nikolaos, sitting overlooking  Ammoudara Beach just 10 km from town. With sculptured gardens, private pool and kitchenettes, these stylish villas are perfect for romance or for family time, and make a great base from which to explore the east of Crete.

Your Own Private Beach

Carob Villa has 3 private beachesCarob Villa has 3 private beaches

Carob Villa is 50 km south of Agios Nikolaos Crete and sits on its own piece of land with coastal frontage, allowing access to its three private beaches.

Set in an idyllic 5 acre landscape, dotted with palm, olive, carob, lemon and orange trees, with gardens full of grapes, berries and herbs. With 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, this villa accommodates 8 guests easily with terraces and patios for outdoor dining.

Stunning Villa with Sweeping Views

This villa sits inland from Mochlos and Tholos beaches near Sfaka village, 41 km east of Agios Nikolaos. This 2 bedroom 2 bathroom holiday home suits families because of the wide open patios and spaces all around the house, and the gorgeous infinity pool. This peaceful location makes a perfect base for exploring eastern Crete, the lesser-known and more natural side of the island.

Villa Skalaki - the view from the pool - yes it is hard to leave in the morning to go exploringVilla Skalaki - the view from the pool - yes it is hard to leave in the morning to go exploring

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