If you travel to Agios Nikolaos in Crete, you’ll want to know what experiences there are and any lesser-known attractions tourists you may not know about. Explore top things to do in Agios Nikolaos Greece, and discover beyond the typical tourist hotspots.
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Agios Nikolaos is a charming coastal town on the eastern side of the Greek island of Crete. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world who are looking for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. There are many things to do in Agios Nikolaos that will keep you busy and entertained throughout your stay.
What to do in Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is overflowing with exciting activities, so get your gear ready for a fun-filled getaway. From exploring the beautiful harbour or hiking trails to sampling the local cuisine and visiting archaeological sites, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque spot.
Head to the Beach
One of the most popular things to do in Agios Nikolaos is visit the beautiful beaches surrounding the town. The crystal-clear waters and soft sand make the perfect relaxing place to soak up the sun. Some of the most popular beaches in Agios Nikolaos include Almyros Beach, Ammoudara Beach, Voulisma Beach and Havania Beach. Depending on the beach, two sunloungers and an umbrella were between 10-15 Euros.
For those who enjoy water sports, plenty of activities are available in Agios Nikolaos. You can go windsurfing, kayaking, or even take a boat tour to explore the stunning coastline. There are also many diving centres in the town that offer scuba diving lessons and guided tours of the underwater world.
Explore the Port Area
If you prefer to stay on land, there are also many things to do in Agios Nikolaos. You can stroll around the town’s picturesque harbour and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding mountains. It’s lined with waterfront cafés and shops and is a perfect place to have lunch while enjoying the view and cool sea breezes.
Stroll around Lake Voulismeni
Known locally as The Lake, including on signs and maps, the circular lake is ringed by steep rocky cliffs to one side and open-air cafés and seafood restaurants to the other. Voulismeni Lake is especially lovely at night when the cliffs are lit up, creating reflections across the water. According to local legend, the goddess Athena used to bathe here, and the lake was long believed to be bottomless (though it has now proven to be 64 meters deep).
Boat Trips from Agios Nikolaos
Whether you want to make your way along the coastline, passing hidden coves and small beaches that can only be accessed by sea, or something more historical, you will be spoilt for choice. Take an evening catamaran cruise, a private tour of Crete or hire a speedboat.
One of the most popular daily trips is to Spinalonga Island. People also visit the fortress ruins by boat from Elounda and Plaka. The uninhabited island is an abandoned leper colony with a pebble beach and shallow waters.
With Tiqets, the Spinalonga Island: Cruise & Walking Tour from Crete, including a swim in Kolokytha Bay, is £18 per person.
The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos is considered one of the most significant in Crete. Inside, there are collections from the entire region, Malia and Zakros. There are more than 1,500 pots and the oldest gold and bronze findings in Crete. Entry is also free!
Unique Things to do in Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is the perfect place to make your summer plans a reality! From breathtaking beaches to delicious food, the possibilities here are seemingly endless. Here are just a few things to do in this gorgeous town.
Cretan Olive Oil Farm
If you want to learn more about the local food, such as olive oil, book a tour at Cretan Olive Oil Farm. The expert staff will walk you through the history of the most popular Cretan recipes. You will also get the chance to learn the secrets to cheese-making and olive oil-making. You can also participate in a cookery lesson, pottery workshops or wine tasting. It’s truly an incredible and unique experience and is often voted as one of the best things to do in Agios Nikolaos.
Agios Nikolaos Shopping
Agios Nikolaos is a great place to shop, whether, for fashionable clothing and jewellery or simple souvenirs, you can find it here.
One of the best places for tourists is 28is Oktovriou, a pedestrian street just back from the port and the lake, where you can find a wide range of stores that cater to tourists. There is even a small grocery store, which is very convenient if you rent an apartment in this area. Other stores line the waterfront of the port area.
A little insider tip: make your way to the El. Venizelou Square, where you’ll find a wide selection of stores where most locals shop.
Wednesday Street Market
Each Wednesday, one of Agios Nikolas’ narrow side streets is closed to traffic, and a wonderful street market appears. Easily accessed near the Santa Marina Hotel, the street market is full of vendors selling the freshest fruits and vegetables and pretty much everything you never knew you needed. Sample some local olives, nuts, feta, and other produce they offer.
Hidden Gems Agios Nikolaos
Learn about Greek Mythology
If you walk along the sea in Agios Nikolaos, two different sculptures will attract your attention. Make sure to take a selfie with them! The Horn of Almathea is located near Kitroplateia Beach. It recalls the myth of Zeus and the connection that the god has with the area. The Abduction of Europa is a sculpture in the port of Agios Nikolaos. It’s also connected with Zeus, who, falling in love with Princess Europa, transformed into a white bull to approach the girl.
Discover the Street Art
The Spirit of the Stairs is a contemporary art project started in 2018. It’s all about making the city even more appealing by decorating its stairs. The project promotes the architectural and cultural heritage of Agios Nikolaos and its impressive network of 11 different stairs in town.
Best Places to Visit near Agios Nikolaos
Take a Trip to Kritsa
For a taste of Cretan village life, drive away from the coast and into the mountains to Kritsa. Set amid timeless olive groves, with whitewashed houses built into a hillside, Krista moves at a relaxing pace. Everyday life centres on its main street, lined with stores selling crafts and goods, such as embroidered tablecloths, hand-woven rugs, ceramics, and leather products, which make fine souvenirs.
If you get thirsty, fill your water bottle at one of the many spigots located throughout town. The water is said to have life-extending properties. Combine a trip to Kritsa with a stop at the Church of Panagia Kera, just outside Kritsa. Dating from the 13th century, its interior is decorated with scenes from the Bible, such as the Nativity, Christ’s Life, and the Last Supper, as well as various saints. The church is free to enter.
Spend the Day in Plaka
Plaka is an idyllic village located 30 minutes from Agios Nikolaos. Stroll through the winding streets whilst marvelling at the charming architecture and colourful buildings. There is lots to do; visit the Acropolis Museum, where you can admire ancient artefacts and sculptures, browse the shops and boutiques, and enjoy lunch in a cosy taverna. The best place to watch the sunset over the city is from Acropolis Hill.
A little further afield is Lasithi Plateau, located in the eastern part of the island. Mountains surround it, so it is ideal if you love hiking. There are plenty of trails that wind their way up. The peak of Mount Spathi is particularly popular, offering panoramic views. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also rock climbing and mountain biking. Visit Dikteon Cave, said to be the birthplace of Zeus, the King of the Gods. For a more relaxed experience, visit the famous windmills used to grind grain, but today are for decorative purposes.
Best Restaurants in Agios Nikolaos
It goes without saying that Greek food is absolutely sensational. So, you have to savour local cuisine. Why not start the meal with classic dips like tzatziki, fava or taramasalata with homemade flatbreads? Or a selection of olives.
One of the most popular dishes is moussaka, a classic dish made with layers of aubergine, lamb mince and a creamy bechamel sauce. Each region of Greece has a variation of dolmades, a vine leaf parcel stuffed with vegetables, minced meat or rice and baked in the oven. Of course, you can try fresh fish and grilled meat served in gyros.
Greeks love their sweets, often based on olive oil and honey combinations encased in flaky filo pastry, such as the classic baklava. There’s also galakoboureko, a rich custard-filled pastry or loukomadies, which are Greek doughnuts.
Agios Nikolaos Nightlife
Agios Nikolaos is also known for its vibrant nightlife. Many bars, clubs, and restaurants in the town stay open late into the night. You can enjoy live music, dance the night away, or relax with a cocktail and soak up the atmosphere.
It is ideal for couples, age 30 plus, who want to enjoy a night out but want to avoid being bombarded with drink offers.
Where is Agios Nikolaos?
Agios Nikolaos is in Crete, Greece, on the east of the island. Aghios Nikolaos is a pretty plot on Mirabello Bay that’s been popular with holidaymakers for years.
Is Agios Nikolaos worth visiting?
Absolutely! I had a brilliant time. The secret to enjoying this beautiful coastal town is by allowing enough time to explore, plan a few day trips and relax in the sunshine. You’ll be surprised at how many exciting things there are to do in Agios Nikolaos.
Book with Flight Centre
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Book with Last Minute.com
You can explore the different flights, hotels and deals on Last Minute. They are the leading company for booking European holidays. Book with a deposit and spread the cost with a payment plan.
Want to travel but don’t want to pay for additional bags? Let’s be fair; we all hate to do this! Cabin Max is my go-to. They are lightweight, robust and stylish. There are plenty of styles to choose from. I love the Memphis Switch, which fits on EasyJet. It can easily be changed to fit RyanAir and Wizz Air.
What I love most about it is how much you can fit in there! The backpack straps are padded and comfortable; not once did I worry that it was going to give way. I had to carry it, full, for a whole day in Barcelona, so I know. Inside, there are pockets which can fit an iPad, Kindle or compact laptop. There’s also a key clip and pockets to store your phone and passport.
Is Agios Nikolaos expensive?
Prices do vary depending on where you go. The local tavernas, especially the ones the locals go to, are more affordable. A large local beer is about 5 Euros, and a carafe of wine is about 10-12 Euros. Meze dishes are around 4-7 Euros, and main courses are 10-12 Euros for mousaka, pasta and gyros. Meat and seafood dishes are between 14-20 Euros. Most bars will also bring a snack when you buy a drink, such as a bowl of crisps or popcorn.
Getting around town on foot is easy, or the buses are around 2 Euros each. You don’t need a taxi to get around at night, it is all walkable. However, we did use a taxi to get to the Cretan Olive Farm, a 5-minute drive from our hotel, which was 20 Euros.
How to Get to Agios Nikolaos
The closest airport is Heraklion, about a 50-minute drive. I’d recommend booking a private bus transfer (which can take a little longer if you have several drop-offs) or hire a car and hit the road – especially if you intend to explore more of the island. Taxis are known to overcharge if you get one outside the airport. Discussing and agreeing on the price with the driver before you get into the taxi is always advisable. You can also get the public bus, which leaves from Heraklion’s Central Bus A approximately once an hour but doesn’t run overnight.
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