If you’re after pristine beaches, lakeside restaurants, and bijou shops, holidays to Aghios Nikolaos won’t disappoint. One of Crete’s best-loved destinations ticks all the boxes.
Aghios Nikolaos is a picturesque port town on Mirabello Bay, in eastern Crete. It pairs cosmopolitan buzz with laid-back beach life, and though it’s become one of the island’s most popular destinations, it still packs plenty of old-school appeal.
The town’s focal point is Lake Voulismeni, a near-perfect circle of water. According to mythology, the goddess Athena used to bathe here. Along the water’s edge is a parade of pastel-coloured tavernas, pavement cafés and little boutiques. After the sun sets, the lake takes on a romantic mood as the fishing boats rock gently in their berths.
Roll call of beaches
Aghios Nikolaos’ coastline is a necklace of little beaches and coves. There’s the small sand and pebble beach, Kitroplateia, next to the marina. In town, you'll find Amos, which serves up a long list of watersports. And for a long sandy stretch backed by eucalyptus trees, you've got the white sand of Almyros within a 20-minute walk. Every beach has a Blue Flag, so they’ve all been vouched for by experts.
History at your fingertips
Crete has always got one foot in the past, and Aghios Nikolaos is no exception. It’s home to an archaeology museum, which has 6,000-year-old relics. There's the Ethnological Museum, too, where you can see more recent heirlooms, including Renaissance musical instruments. And if you get the boat to Spinalonga Island – which was a leper colony until 1957 – you’ll discover 16th-century Venetian fortifications.
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