If you’re thinking of heading off to Greece next summer, you’ll no doubt have found that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your holiday destination. Whether you’re after a couple of weeks of culture or some much needed chill out time, each island seems to have something to offer.
Crete is one of the most diverse of the Greek islands – its beautiful beaches enjoy longer summer seasons than most, its breath-taking ancient architecture dates back centuries, while its array of bars and restaurants mean there’s something to suit every palette and budget.
And if you’re headed to Crete it’s worth stopping off at Agios Nikolaos, a coastal port town that acts as the hub for the smaller villages that make up the area and offers up a perfect mix of laid back beaches and a bustling cosmopolitan centre.
So here is a quick rundown of the top things to do when you get there…
Get to know your history
If you’re something of a culture vulture, the island’s Archaeology Museum is in Agios Nikolaos and houses a wide range of relics, some of which date back around 6,000 years. There’s also the Ethnological museum that has more recent artefacts that date back to the Renaissance period, while the short boat ride to Spinalonga – a leper colony until as recently as 1957 – gives an insight into how people lived on the island and is home to a magnificent Venetian fortress.
Relax by the lake
Lake Voulismeni sits right in the middle of Agios Nikolaos and is lined with bars and restaurants that make it the perfect place to relax and while away a lazy summer’s evening with a few drinks and some of the island’s local cuisine. The small park just up the hill offers the best view of the whole lake and the small cafe there is a great place to both take in the scenery and do a spot of people-watching.
Visit the neighbouring villages
Agios Nikolaos acts as a central hub for the larger municipal area and so it’s worth venturing out to some of the neighbouring towns and villages.
Elounda, for instance, is a charming fishing port with a picturesque harbour and some luxurious beachside resorts with some excellent bars and tavernas. Alternatively, Plaka, Elounda’s quieter neighbouring village, is quaint, charming and home to some beach-front restaurants that serve up the best seafood on the island.
Relax on the beach
If you really want to kick back and relax, a trip to Kolokitha beach is a must. One of the island’s most beautiful beaches, Kolokitha is a fine white sand beach flanked by beautiful turquoise sea and is a peaceful place to drop out, even on some of its busier days.
During peak season, the best way to avoid the crowds is to visit early morning or late afternoon, or you could head out to some of the smaller, but no less beautiful, beaches that are a short walk away.
If you are planning a longer stay in in Agios Nikolaos, or if you want to get lots done whilst you’re there – you can find more things to do in this blog post. It truly is a place of natural beauty and cultural depth.
Whether you’re after a retreat full of experiences, or a relaxing getaway, Agios Nikolaos is the perfect destination when visiting Crete.