Agios Nikolaos – Cosmopolitan with Lake, Harbour and Stunning Beaches

Agios Nikolaos, the capital of Lassithi in Crete, is a beautiful city situated on the northernmost point of Mirabello Bay, overlooking the stunning bay from its hilly terrain. With its cosmopolitan port Agios Nikolaos is a modern town and the commercial centre of Lassithi region. For many years it has been one of the most popular holiday resorts in Crete with all kinds of accommodation, facilities, and hip shops.

Boats on Lake Voulismeni. Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
Boats on Lake Voulismeni. Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece

Walking the streets of Agios Nikolaos you will find the traditional houses blending harmoniously with neoclassical mansions. You will discover that the port of Agios Nikolaos is perfect for relaxing and romantic strolls, specially at night. In the daytime you can relax at one of the tiny city beaches and go for a dip in the sea before going shopping in the pedestrian street above the circular Voulismeni Lake. A narrow channel connects the small harbour with the lake where the shore is lined up with restaurants and cafés.

Facts about Agios Nikolaos

Some of the most beautiful and best beaches of Crete - Istron Bay near Agios Nikolaos. Greece
Some of the most beautiful and best beaches of Crete at Istron Bay near Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos, a coastal town in northeastern Crete, is situated north of Ierapetra and west of Sitia. The Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, which takes in part of the surrounding villages, has around 19,000 inhabitants. The town sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara.

Map of Lassithi region in eastern Crete

Crete map - Lassithi with Sitia, Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra, Greece
Map of Lassithi with Sitia, Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra – Click to enlarge map
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Ancient Lato pros Kamara

Lato pros Kamara or simply Kamara, was an ancient city of Crete. Lato pros Kamara was settled in the late Bronze Age as the population of Dorian Lato realised greater security and its expanding population settled the coastal area, which had been subject to greater likelihood of marine attack during the earlier Bronze Age.

Agios Nikolaos was settled in the late Bronze Age by Dorian occupants of Lato, at a time when the security of the Lato hillfort became a lesser concern and access to the harbour at Agios Nikolaos became sufficiently attractive.

Lake Voulismeni

Agios Nikolaos in the early morning, Crete, Greece. Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque town in the eastern part of the island Crete built on the northwest side of the peaceful bay of Mirabello.
Agios Nikolaos in the early morning.

Lake Voulismeni is a former sweetwater small lake, later connected to the sea, located at the centre of the town of Agios Nikolaos. It has a circular shape of a diameter of 137 m and depth 64 m. The locals refer to it as just “the lake”. The lake connects to the harbour of the town by a channel dug in 1870. A panoramic view of the lake can be seen from a small park situated above it.

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Where to stay in Agios Nikolaos?

The picturesque port of Agios Nikolaos with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, beautiful beaches and the good quality hotels and accommodation are the reasons of the high popularity of the town.

Young woman reading a book at the beach while the sun rise, Hersonissos, Crete Greece

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Agios Nikolaos – What to see?

The lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, a picturesque coastal town with colorful buildings around the port in the eastern part of the island Crete, Greece
Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, picturesque with colorful buildings around the port

Agios Nikolaos is probably best known as a tourist town that serves as a hub to the twenty or so small villages and farms that make up that part of Lassithi. Tourist attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, small beaches in the town, the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archaeological museum, the local flora exhibition “Iris” and numerous fairs. Tourism is mainly West European with Greek tourism concentrating in mid August. The lagoon features a small park with a trail, traditional fishing boats, ducks, pigeons, an amphitheatre and many cafès.

Spinalonga island of the coast of Crete at Elounda, Greece

Spinalonga & Milatos Cave


Museums in Agios Nikolaos

Archaeological Museum
Odos Paleologou 74, Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece

The town is home to one of the finest archaeological museums in Crete consisting of eight rooms. The collection contains recent finds, mostly from eastern Crete. The finds are in chronological order beginning with the Neolithic era, Minoan remains, and ending with Greco-Roman finds. One of the museum’s most famous exhibits is the Goddess of Mirtos. This libation vessel is in the form of a female figure and was discovered at the Bronze Age settlement at Fournos, near Mirtos.

Folklore Museum of Agios Nikolaos
The more recent past of Crete is presented to the visitor at the Folklore Museum of Agios Nikolaos. It is housed on the ground floor of the Port Authority building, one of the oldest buildings in town, which is located by the lake.
There are many displays of traditional Cretan handcrafts, unique to the region such as textiles, woven goods and embroidery of intricate detail and imaginative designs.

Spinalonga island of the coast of Crete at Elounda, Greece

Safari and Boating


Get to know the Cretan cuisine

Koukouvagia, traditional Cretan dish
Koukouvagia, traditional Cretan dish

The Cretan cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Mediterranean island of Crete. The core of the cuisine consists of food derived from natural sources, whereas food of animal origin was more peripheral in nature. In general, people consumed seasonal products, available in the wider local area, which underwent minimal processing or none at all.

The traditional cuisine was widespread on the island until the ’60s, when with improving living standards, alimentary patterns changed towards more meat and other animal-derived produce.

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Agios Nikolaos – What to do?

Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque town in the eastern part of the island Crete built on the northwest side of the peaceful bay of Mirabello, Greece
Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque town built on the northwest side of the peaceful bay of Mirabello


In one of the most wonderful bays of Crete you can discover a peaceful, silent underwater world. In Crete you can find many certified dive centers providing a great variety of services and equipment. Mirabello Gulf has a wide range of marine life and many interesting diving spots.

Amazing beach at the exit of Agiofarago Canyon, Municipality of Phaistos, Heraklion prefecture, Crete Greece

Agiofarago Gorge


Rock climbing at Kalo Choris

Panoramic high point view of the picturesque gulf of Mirambello, Crete, Greece
Panoramic high point view of the picturesque gulf of Mirambello near Agios Nikolaos

Climbing field “Pezas” at Kalo Chorio with trails for all levels. The location field is ideally climbing even at the peak of the summer. Because of their position, the rocks Talos and Minos have shade all day. Arriving in the field over the beautiful landscape, you will be impressed by the steep and high cliffs around you.
Climbing at an altitude of 300 meters you will have a stunning view of Mirabello Bay. It is for all levels. At every level climbers get excellent training opportunities and countless, exquisitely crafted routes to explore.
The field can be accessed by car and the distance from the car to the bottom of each rock is less than 5 minutes walk.
Names of Rocks: 1. Talos  2. Minoas  3. Istronas  4. Panas

Birdwatching, bicycling or hiking

Walking path in Lassithi region in Crete, Greece
Walking path in Lassithi region in Crete, Greece

Either of these activities will give you the opportunity to find more than 6000 species of plants and flowers, all of which are thriving in Crete, and of these the 170 species are endemic to Crete.
Along the coast at the beginning of autumn, one can spot the “Sea Lily” which is represented in Minoan and Thiraean wall paintings. In the mountains, partridges, blackbirds, badgers, weasels and hares provide company. At great heights one can spot one of the rarest species of eagle. At Almyros Beach, turtles, herons, eels and waterfowl can be observed. The preservation of this wildlife diversity is dependant upon our environmental awareness and sensitivity.

Mountains of Crete, Greece

Katharo Route 4×4


Sailing from Agios Nikolaos

Beautiful yachts in the port of Agios Nikolaos, Mirabello Bay, Crete, Greece
Beautiful yachts in the port of Agios Nikolaos, Mirabello Bay, Crete, Greece

The Marina of Agios Nikolaos is a well protected marina in all weather conditions, it  is built to European standards and is capable of accommodating up to 255 boats all year round. The Marina of Agios Nikolaos is located in the heart of the town and  provides easy access to the centre  of town, the main archaeological  sites and other places of interest.

Agios Nikolaos beach guide

Couple swimming at the tropical beach of Voulisma in Istron Bay

Most of the magnificent beaches found at Mirabello Bay near Agios Nikolaos are awarded the Blue Flag Status. The coasts are full of enchanting coves and idyllic beaches with crystalline waters. The beaches inside Agios Nikolaos are Kitroplatia, EOT, Ammos, Ammoudi, and Havania

Famous sandy beach of Almyros and the river near Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece.
Famous sandy beach of Almyros and the river near Agios Nikolaos
  • Almyros beach – non-organized beach, located 2 km south of Agios Nikolaos. Beautiful, pebbled beach surrounded by rocks, perfect for snorkeling with rocks.
  • Ammoudara beach – Beautiful, sandy beach, partly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas with no fee, taverns, and cafes behind the beach. Located 4 km south of Agios Nikolaos.
  • Gargadoros beach – Small, picturesque city beach at the edge of Agios Nikolaos surrounded by restaurants and cafés. The beach is non-organized, but you can enjoy a coffee at the café Votsala. Pebbled with crystal-clear waters. Located 1.5 km from the city centre.
  • Ammos beach – this small, sandy beach is located in the middle of Agios Nikolaos town. It is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, restaurants, and cafes. Family-friendly with shallow, clean waters, no waves and soft sand.
  • Kitroplatia beach – another city beach, located near the harbour of Agios Nikolaos. It is organized, a bit expensive and tends to become crowdy. Organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, restaurants, and cafes. Otherwise, sandy, clean, and beautiful. Located 0.5 km from the city centre.
  • Agiou Panteleimonos beach – non-organized beach, mixed pebbled/sandy beach. Quiet, isolated beach located 13 km south of Agios Nikolaos.
  • Voulisma beach –partly organized beach in beautiful bay. You can rent umbrella and sunbed for the day on part of the beach. Located 13 km south of Agios Nikolaos.
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Agios Nikolaos beach, Crete, Greece

Agios Nikolaos – Weather and climate

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Night9 °9 °10 °12 °15 °19 °22 °22 °19 °17 °14 °11 °
Average monthly day and night temperatures in °C and average rainfall in mm.

In Agios Nikolaos you will enjoy a unique vacation with visits to pristine beaches nearby, sightseeing at ancient Lato and day trips to gorges, villages, and the mountain plateau of Lassithi.