INTRODUCING AGIOS NIKOLAOS
Facing the sea from three different directions, this charming, bustling port has a magic all of its own. Named after Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, it looks and feels different to the rest of the island. From your luxury boutique hotel, take a leisurely stroll along the cosmopolitan promenade. Or trek up the hill for panoramic views across Mirabello Bay. You’ll soon see why people call Agios Nikolaos the ‘Cretan Riviera’.
An ancient city that’s the stuff of legend, where Greek goddesses were said to bathe in the ‘bottomless’ lake
Things to do
At the heart of Agios Nikolaos lies the almost perfectly circular and very deep Lake Voulismeni. It’s a lovely spot for sitting in a pastel-coloured taverna and watch fishing boats chug out to sea. You’ll also find welcoming little coves and Blue Flag beaches hugging the coastline. Try Kitroplatia Beach by the marina and Amos, which offers a number of watersports. Or the quieter, sandier Almyros Beach is just a short walk away.
Spend a pleasant few hours browsing around the chic boutiques and outdoor market. In the latter, stalls are piled high with knick-knacks, fresh fruit and vegetables, local honey and olive oil. Agios Nikolaos is also known for its gold and silver jewellery – look out for smiths creating exquisite pieces in their shops. You could also visit the hilly village of Krista for traditional hand-woven linens, rugs and tablecloths.
July and August is when the Lato Cultural Festival comes to Agios Nikolaos. You’ll be treated to local and international musicians, folk dancing, theatrical performances and art exhibitions. For something intriguingly different, don’t miss the mantinadhes – poetry style contests where artists speak in rhyming couplets.
Children will love the Little Train Tour. Choose from the half hour trip around the town, or a longer ride that stops at Krista village and an olive farm.
Top tip from SLH