The lively port of Agios Nikolaos in Crete

Agios Nikolaos

Crete, Greece

Agios Nikolaos is a beautiful coastal town in eastern Crete. It has impressive scenery and it's close to stunning beaches. On this page, you can read useful tips about your holidays in Agios Nikolaos, beaches, attractions, food and ferry routes. Compare schedules to Crete and book ferry tickets online on Ferryhopper.

Vacation in Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is the capital of the region of Lasithi, in eastern Crete. It's a popular holiday destination as it offers many different things to do and it has a mild climate all year long.

The town of Agios Nikolaos is perfect for food, shopping and endless strolling in its stylish streets. Close to the town you can find many beautiful beaches and resorts such as Elounda beach, Plaka or Istro. 

Agios Nikolaos is also 30km (30 min drive) from the famous beach of Malia. 

Old port of Agios Nikolaos

The colorful old port of Agios Nikolaos

How to get to Agios Nikolaos

One of the easiest ways to get to Agios Nikolaos is by ferry and bus from the ports of Heraklion or Sitia. 

There are frequent ferry routes from the port of Piraeus in Athens to Heraklion and Sitia. There are also daily bus services to Agios Nikolaos from the other big cities in Crete. 

The bus ride from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos is approximately 1 hr and the ride from Sitia to Agios Nikolaos is about 1.5 hr.  

The town of Agios Nikolaos is also located 60km from the airport Nikos Kazantzakis in Heraklion and 67km from the airport Vintsentzos Kornaros in Sitia.

What to do in Agios Nikolaos

In Agios Nikolaos you can combine cosmopolitan life and tradition. The town has a vibrant lifestyle and many monuments, churches and museums to visit. 

The town is built on the beautiful bay of Mirabello and you can visit many coastal areas, villages and islets. 

For example, from Agios Nikolaos you can organize boat trips to the islands of Spinalonga and Kolokitha or to the village of Mochlos. 

You can also drive south to Ierapetra and take the ferry to the Chryssi, an island of magnificent beauty in the Libyan Sea. 

Beaches in Agios Nikolaos

In the area of Agios Nikolaos you will find some of the best beaches of Crete. The bay of Mirabello has clear blue waters and sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming and relaxing by the sea

Here is a list of recommendations for beaches in Agios Nikolaos: 

  • Ammoudi: Small beach with umbrellas and sunbeds, great for water sports. 
  • Istro: Beach with white sand and crystal blue waters and beautiful surroundings. It has umbrellas, sunbeds and tavernes.
  • Agios Panteleimon: Sandy beach with umbrellas and showers as well as water sports facilities.
  • Almiros: Large sandy beach with shallow waters, ideal for families and young children. It has umbrellas, sunbeds, canteen and water sports facilities. 
  • Kolokytha: Small sandy beach with crystal clear waters - perfect to escape on windy days. 
  • Chavania: Beautiful sandy beach with umbrellas and sunbeds. There are restaurants nearby too.
  • Voulisma: Beach with golden sand and turquoise waters with umbrellas and sunbeds.
  • Kitroplateia: One of the closest beaches to the center of Agios Nikolaos. It has umbrellas and sunbeds and it's close to many shops and restaurants.
  • Ammoudara: Beautiful beach with umbrellas, sunbeds, and many tavernes.

Sightseeing and activities in Agios Nikolaos

One of the must things to see in the town of Agios Nikolaos is Lake Voulismeni, famous from mythology as the place where the Greek Goddess Athena used to bathe. 

We also recommend visiting the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos as well as the Folklore Museum of the town to learn more about the rich history of the area. 

We recommend that you explore further the region of Lasithi and visit some of the impressive historical or natural sights around Agios Nikolaos. A few sights we suggest in the area are: 

  • Ierapetra
  • Elounda
  • Spinalonga
  • Malia
  • Ancient Lato

Bay of Mirabello

The beautiful bay of Mirabello in the region of Lasithi

Nightlife in Agios Nikolaos

The nightlife of Agios Nikolaos is mainly located in two areas of the town: first, around the lake and the coastal port road where you can find many bars and clubs. Second, in the Kitroplateia square, east of the port, where you can find tavernes and kafeneia for raki and Cretan meze. 

During the summer months, there are many panigiria organized in Agios Nikolaos and the region of Lasithi. 

Food in Agios Nikolaos

Crete is renowned for its delicious food and traditional products. In Agios Nikolaos, you can try traditional Cretan recipes in many restaurants. We recommend trying: 

  • Antikristo
  • Snails
  • Smoked stamnagathi
  • Kaltsounia
  • Skioufichta pasta

Useful information for Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos has a population of around 10,000 inhabitants and is the capital and largest city of the region of Lasithi. In the center of the city, you will find everything you need for your vacation, such as banks and super markets, ATM, shops. The city also has a General Hospital. 

In terms of accommodation in Agios Nikolaos, you can choose between different options depending on your budget and preferences. In the center of the city there are many hotels, apartments and rooms to let. If you prefer a seaside holiday, then we recommend looking at the hotels on the coast of Agios Nikolaos. If you are into luxury and style, then we recommend booking a villa at Elounda beach. 

Important phone numbers for your stay in Agios Nikolaos

Some useful contact numbers for Agios Nikolaos: 

  • Agios Nikolaos General Hospital: +30 2841343000
  • Agios Nikolaos Police: +30 2841090415
  • Agios Nikolaos citizen service center (KEP): +30 2841340201
  • Bus services (KTEL Lasithiou): +30 2841022234

The coastal road of Agios Nikolaos town

Shops and beautiful houses in the coastal road at the port of Agios Nikolaos

Transportation in Agios Nikolaos

You can move around the town of Agios Nikolaos on foot or by bus. The town has a good bus network that connects all the areas of Agios Nikolaos. 

If you wish to explore the nearby areas we recommend transferring your vehicle by ferry or rent one there. 

There are also regional bus services from Agios Nikolaos to popular beaches and coastal areas such as Elounda, Plaka, Ierapetra, or Malia. The bus station of Agios Nikolaos is located on 59 Epimenidou str., about 20 min walk from the old port. 

Ports in Agios Nikolaos

The port of Agios Nikolaos is in the center of the city.

It mainly serves cruises and ferry routes to local beaches and places of interest. 

Island hopping from Agios Nikolaos

From the port of Agios Nikolaos, you can travel by boat to nearby islets and beaches. However, if you drive west to the port of Heraklion or east to the port of Sitia you can travel by ferry to the Cyclades or the Dodecanese!

From the port of Heraklion, you can travel by direct ferry to:

  • Santorini
  • Mykonos
  • Naxos
  • Ios
  • Anafi

From the port of Sitia, you can take a direct ferry to: 

  • Rhodes
  • Karpathos
  • Kassos
  • Chalki

On the Ferryhopper Map of ferries, you can find all available ferry routes from the ports of Crete and book your island hopping trip online. 

Agios Nikolaos ferry: schedules and tickets

At the moment there is no direct ferry crossing from Athens to Agios Nikolaos. If you wish to travel by ferry to Agios Nikolaos you need to go first to the port of Heraklion (63km away) or the port of Sitia (70km away). 

  • The Piraeus - Heraklion route is frequent all year round and the ferry ride lasts approximately 9.5 hr. From Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos is about 1 hr drive. 
  • The Piraeus - Sitia route normally operates once a week throughout the whole year and the ferry trip lasts between 12 and 20 hours, depending on the itinerary. From Sitia to Agios Nikolaos is about 1.5 hr drive.

Note: Check our recent article on how to reach Crete in 2021 and continue your journey to Agios Nikolaos. 

Where to book ferry tickets online to Agios Nikolaos

On Ferryhopper you can find travel information about Agios Nikolaos and the ferry routes to Crete. Compare schedules, ports, ferry companies, fares and book cheap ferry tickets with just 4 clicks!

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