White-washed houses and beautiful buildings in Agios Nikolaos have the sea as background.
The lovely serene little town of Agios Nikolaos is the cosmopolitan capital of the prefecture of Lasithi with around 20000 permanent residents. The town is built on the site Mandraki, on the west side of the Gulf of Mirabello, but the current name comes from the Byzantine church of Saint Nikolaos located west of the city.
Here was the site of the Minoan "Lato pros Kamara", the seaport of Lato town near Kritsa. Later, in the Byzantine era, it was known as the Diocese (Episkopi) of Kamara, but was never developed. Because Venetians never gave importance to the region, Agios Nikolaos was not fortified and remained a small fishing village until when the capital of Lassithi was moved here (early 20th century). Since then, the city transformed into a picturesque resort with the main pillars of development being its tranquility and the beautiful beaches.
Trademark of Saint Nicholas is the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, a small lagoon in the center of the town, used as a small harbor where fishing boats stop. Dozens of legends are associated with it, mainly because of its very deep waters. At the bottom of the lake the Germans disposed of all their war material before leaving Crete in 1944. A walk around the lake is a very nice experience indeed.
Other sights of Agios Nikolaos include the neoclassical buildings, the marina (the first marina in Crete), the island of All Saints (Agii Pantes) where many endangered Cretan wild goats are protected, Kitroplatia square with the taverns, and the pedestrian road with the cafes. Moreover, you'll be impressed by the stairs that are almost everywhere, as the city is built in an area with very steep slopes and roads could not be constructed.
Ammoudi is located just 1km north of Agios Nikolaos city centre, in a large and well protected bay. It is a small sandy beach with shallow waters, which is preferred both by locals and visitors. It is hidden among large tamarisk trees and picturesque buildings, offering many options for accommodation and eating around. The beach has also water sport facilities.
Next to the port of Agios Nikolaos you’ll find the tiny pebble beach of Akti Themistokleous street, next to the sculpture of Nikos Koundouros named "The Rape of Europe".
In front of the big tamarisk trees of the square Kitroplatia there is a small beach with sand and pebbles in places. Here you will find umbrellas and showers. Next to it there are many options for accommodation, food and drink. It is a perfect choice for children and anyone looking for a beautiful and clean beach, close to all amenities of a city.
Ammos Beach is located 500m south of the center of Agios Nikolaos. It is a long beach which starts near the city's marina, at Nearchos Street. It runs near the stadium of the town and extends to the south, to the Municipal Beach. The part near the marina is a beautiful beach with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, water sports, restaurants, and hotels around it. It is located near the city center and its stores. The water is shallow, ideal for little kids and the sea is usually flat.
The first beach you come across, next to the tavern Gargadoros is the main beach of the area. It is pebbly and well organized, a really good choice for those staying in Agios Nikolaos and wanting to escape from the ordinary things. From the main beach, if you walk till the small pier on the north, you will find the second beach from the other side (of the pier).
Almiros Beach is located 2.5km south of Agios Nikolaos and is the most popular beach in the city. It is shaped near the exit of the Almiros River, which empties on the south part of the beach. Next to the beach, the protected wetland of Almiros hosts several rare birds, towering eucalyptus trees, reeds, and some palm trees.
Istro(n) is located 12km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, very close to Kalo Chorio. It is a quiet village, situated in a lush valley full with olive groves and springs, which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays.
In front of the touristic settlement, there is a nice sandy beach with turquoise waters. The sea surface is mainly flat because the beach has an easterly orientation. while winds in Crete come mainly from the west. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, and water sports.