LOCATION

Agios Nikolaos or just Agios as the locals call it, is the capital of Lasithi Prefecture and was named after a byzantine chapel in the respective cove outside the town. It is known for Voulismeni lake, which is located in its cosmopolitan center. Agios Nikolaos is on the shores of the biggest natural bay of Crete, Mirambello Bay, which means “beautiful view” (mira bella). It numbers almost 27.000 inhabitants and despite its small size. was one of the first cities in Crete to develop rapidly due to the tourism industry.

Apart from Voulismeni Lake and the idyllic beaches with their turquoise waters, visitors can also explore the inland area where the peaceful landscape harmonically joins its shores and flatlands with its mountains. Traditional picturesque villages and small towns dot the countryside while monuments, fossils of past eras, and archeological wonders embellish the scenery and reveal its history and civilization.
Guests can also visit the archaeological museum of the city, the Lato ruins, the marina with the small boats, the memorial at the central square and find local products and memorabilia.

Agios Nikolaos also has many restaurants, coffeehouses, bars, hotels, shops and more so that the visitors can have a pleasant and satisfying stay.

  • Alantha Apartments
    Alantha Apartments
    • The Hotel

      The Hotel

  • Historical Sites
    Historical Sites
    • Spinalonga Island

      Spinalonga Island

    • Ancient Palace of Knossos

      Ancient Palace of Knossos

    • Ancient City of Lato

      Ancient City of Lato

    • Ancient Minoan Town of Gournia

      Ancient Minoan Town of Gournia

    • Church of Panagia Kera

      Church of Panagia Kera

    • Monastry of Panagia Faneromeni

      Monastry of Panagia Faneromeni

    • Gorge of Samaria

      Gorge of Samaria

  • Natural Wonders
    Natural Wonders
    • Lasithi Plateau

      Lasithi Plateau

    • Voulismeni Lake

      Voulismeni Lake

    • Diktaion Andron – Cave of Zeus

      Diktaion Andron – Cave of Zeus

    • Chrissi island

      Chrissi island

    • Richtis Gorge

      Richtis Gorge

  • Beaches & Villages
    Beaches & Villages
    • Plaka Village

      Plaka Village

    • Kritsa Village

      Kritsa Village

    • Istron Beaches

      Istron Beaches

    • Koufonissi Island

      Koufonissi Island

    • Vai Beach

      Vai Beach

    • Almyros Beach and Protected Waterway

      Almyros Beach and Protected Waterway

  • Places of Interest
    Places of Interest
    • Archeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos

      Archeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos

    • Natural History Museum of Crete

      Natural History Museum of Crete

    • Archeological Museum of Heraklion

      Archeological Museum of Heraklion

    • Archeological Museum of Sitia

      Archeological Museum of Sitia

 

Transportation

How to get here

By Plane from Heraklion

In order to reach Agios Nikolaos by plane you may fly directly to Heraklion’s international airport – Nikos Kazantzakis – and then drive to Agios Nikolaos, via a rental car, taxi or bus, a trip that will last for approximately 45 minutes.

By Boat, Reaching Heraklion’s Port

You may reach Agios Nikolaos by boat from anywhere in Greece to Heraklion’s port which is situated in the city and then drive to Agios Nikolaos, via a rental car, taxi or bus, a trip that will last for approximately 45 minutes.

By Car, Taxi, Bus

Agios Nikolaos is easily accessible using the national highway from any town or village in Crete. You can rent a car, taxi, arrange transport with a minivan or limousine company or take advantage of the regular bus services and numerous routes.

Excursions

Samaria Gorge

Hiking the 16km-long Samaria Gorge, one of Europe's longest canyons, is high on the list of must-dos for many visitors to Crete. There’s an undeniable raw beauty to the canyon, with its soaring cliffs and needle nose passageways. The hike begins at an elevation of 1230m just south of Omalos at Xyloskalo and ends in the coastal village of Agia Roumeli.
This impressive gorge is in southwest Crete in the region of Chania. It was created by a small river running between the White Mountains (Lefká Óri) and Mt. Volakias. It is very popular among tourists and locals alike for hiking and takes five to seven hours to complete. The route is 15 km long and ends at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Agia Roumeli, at which point you can sail to the nearby village of Sougia or Hora Sfakion, where you could spend the night, or catch a coach back to Chania.
The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the “Iron Gates” where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and soar up to a height of almost 300 meters. The gorge became a national park in 1962, particularly as a refuge for the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat), which is largely restricted to the park and an island just off the shore of Agia Marina. There are several other endemic species in the gorge and surrounding area, as well as many other species of flowers and birds.

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Knossos & Lassithi Plateau

This excursion takes you to the cradle of the Minoan civilization, the palace - labyrinth of legendary King Minos and its mythical Minotaur, to the gentle peaceful valley of the Lasithi Plateau, a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains and numerous quaint villages.
The first settlement at Knossos dates back to the Neolithic Age, around 7,000BC. It is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and Europe's oldest city, Knossos was one of the most advanced cities of ancient Greece and the centre of the famous Minoan civilization.

The palace of Knossos was the heart of the city of Knossos and throne to the legendary King Minos, son of Zeus and Europe. This brilliant palace was designed by the legendary architect Daedalus. It was a multi-storey building covering approximately 20,000 sqm. Knossos is connected with great legends such as the story of Daedalus and Icarus, the fearsome Minotaur, and the love story of Theseus and Ariadne.

The Lasithi Plateau is a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. It is a very beautiful area of the island and combines tradition with mythology and history, thus attracting many tourists who wish to enjoy the natural landscape, wander around the villages and admire the windmills which were being used by the inhabitants in the past in order to pump water and water the fields.

There are various explanations regarding the geomorphologic image of Lasithi Plateau. According to one of them, a meteor fell in the area a long time ago, thus giving the plateau its appearance today. Another explanation, supported by many geologists, is that the Plateau’s appearance is a result of the many waters flowing from the surrounding mountains flooding the valley of the plateau. Those floods, as well as the mandatory abandoning of the area for a period of two centuries, forced Venice to undertake a vast draining work in the Plateau, with straight ditches, called “Linies”(ligna, linea=line) by the inhabitants up to this day.

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Chrissi Island

The island of Chrissi is perfect for an all day adventure. You can walk in the woods and the golden sand on its endless beaches, swim in crystal clear waters and smell the fresh Cedar. An unforgettable excursion not to be missed.
This island is 7km long with a maximum width of 2 km, and is located 8 nautical miles south of the most southern town in Europe, Ierapetra. For six months a year – from mid-May until late October there are small boats, departing from the ports of Ierapetra and Makrigialos, to the island on a daily basis. The exotic natural landscape of Chrissi is mesmerizing. The island has a large number of shells, mainly in the north, which is one of the distinguishing features of the island.

Chrissi is protected by Natura 2000 Networking Programme, as an “area of intense natural beauty”, and also has been designated as a wildlife refuge. The island hosts the largest naturally formed Lebanon cedar forest in Europe. The majority of trees have an average age of 200 years and average height of up to 7 metres, some of the trees are up to 300 years old and 10 metres tall.

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Koufonisi

Another unforgettable excursion is the stunning island of Koufonissi where you can spend the day discovering the rough and unspoilt jewel of the Lybian sea, resting under the soul warming sun and swimming in its refreshing topaz waters.
Koufonissi is a small island in the Libyan Sea, 3.5 miles south of Cape Goudouras and 10 miles southeast of Makrigialos. The island is roughly six kilometers long and 5.5 kilometers across. It has an entire surface area of 5.25 km². The ancient name Lefki (meaning white), originated from the glint of white limestone and marble in the sunlight. The current name, Koufonissi (meaning Cave-Island), is related to the many pits and caves shaped by the sea and rain.

The island is uninhabited now, but is full of ruins that indicate human activity from the Early Minoan times to post-Byzantine years. The locals like to call Koufonisi “Delos of Crete”, after the significant antiquities that have been found.

The tranquil island has heavenly sandy beaches and almost luminous white rocks next to the turquoise colour of the enigmatic Libyan Sea. The landscape alternates from steep rocky shorelines, to the caves of yellow marble as well as endless stretches of sand, and is home to many rare species of vegetation and wildlife.

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Gramvousa

The best way to get to Gramvousa is via organized excursion where one can embark on a boat from the port of Kissamos. The wider region of Gramvousa and the lagoon of Balos situated not far off by boat and visible from the island is one of the most important protected areas in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Cape and the islets of Gramvousa host more than 100 species of birds and 400 species of flora. The Mediterranean seal breeds in the local caves and the endangered sea turtle (Caretta caretta) seeks its food in the area. Needless to say the area is protected under the Natura 2000 program and staying overnight is not allowed. As an important bird habitat in the Eastern Mediterranean region, it is located along one of the bird migration paths across the continent.

Once on the island one will have the time to visit the Venetian castle built on the hill of the mountain between 1579 & 1584. Visitors can wander around the area, visit the castle and the shipwreck. They can also swim in the crystal waters of the western cove, near the church of the Holy Apostles. The beach with the fantastic turquoise color, has white sand and rocks in places. Some tamarisk trees are near the beach, offering natural shade and the seabed of the area is ideal for a snorkeling.

The island of Gramvousa is associated with the struggle to liberate Crete from the Ottoman occupation. The remains of a Venetian castle located on the island, built in 1579-84, remind us of its past glory. The position of the castle was strategic, since it protected the entire northeastern Crete. Its size still impresses everyone: it has a triangular shape, with each side exceeding one kilometer. Despite its size and its great capacity (3000 men), it was not used by Venetians in any major battle. Gramvousa was surrendered to Turks in 1892, after Turks bribed the Venetian commandant. When Gramvousa returned to the hands of the Cretan Revolutionaries, in 1825, the fort played a decisive role in the outcome of the liberation struggle, and became the seat of the Revolutionary Committee of Crete. The island was used as a base for 3 years from 3000 rebels, who lacked food in this place and were forced to become pirates.

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