Agios Nikolaos Travel Guide for 2024

Written by James
 Last updated: February 10, 2024

Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque seaside town on the island of Crete in Greece. It is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, with stunning views, a medieval town centre, beautiful beaches, and lively nightlife.

Agios Nikolaos is known for its excellent seafood, traditional Cretan cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene. The town is also the perfect base to explore some of the island's most remarkable sites, including the famed Minoan Palace of Knossos.

A Short History of Agios Nikolaos

The town's name originates from the biblical Archangel Saint Nikolaos, and the area is one of the oldest towns in Crete. The history of Agios Nikolaos is closely linked to the history of the island itself – through Minoan, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, up to its union with the rest of Greece in 1913. Throughout the years, Agios Nikolaos has evolved from a small fishing and farming community to a vibrant holiday destination.

Where to Go

Voulismeni Lake: A stunning and serene freshwater lake in the centre of town, Voulismeni Lake is a favourite spot for locals. Stroll around the lake, rent a boat, and admire the picturesque views across the city.

Fortress of Kazarma: Enjoy the views of Agios Nikolaos and surrounding areas from the 15th-century fortress on the town's highest point. Offering panoramic views, a visit to the fort is not to be missed.

Cave of Diktaion Andron: Said to be the birthplace of Zeus, a steep but short walk to the cave from local parking leads you to a magnificent and mysterious experience with incredible surrounding scenery

Spinalonga: Take a boat trip to the island of Spinalonga, the former leprosy colony of Crete, to learn about its rich history, enjoy the stunning views of the bay, and visit its 16th-century Venetian fortress.

Gournia: Head to the small ancient Minoan settlement of Gournia, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.

What to Do

Beach hopping: Spend a leisurely day hopping from beach to beach and exploring Agios Nikolaos' breathtaking coastline. Pick from the many white sandy beaches, rock pools and crystal-clear coves.

Watersports: Rent a jet ski, kayak, or sailing boat to explore the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean and take a watersports lesson.

Hiking: Agios Nikolaos is home to some of the best trails in Crete, so grab your hiking boots and explore the numerous paths to uncover hidden coves, ancient sites, and lovely villages.

Boating: Book an organized boat tour and cruise the coast of Agios Nikolaos and the nearby islets of Spinalonga, Kalydon, and Chrissi.

Shopping: Lose yourself in the maze of streets and find traditional souvenirs, handmade jewellery, and locally produced wines.

Local Foods to Try

Souvlaki: Try the classic Greek souvlaki before leaving Agios Nikolaos. Try it served on pita bread with tzatziki sauce and tomato.

Lamb with potatoes: This traditional dish is the ideal comfort food for those who love slow-cooked dishes. Lamb is cooked with potatoes for many hours, producing tender meat with a flavour-filled sauce.

Kleftiko: A favourite of many, this slow-roasted lamb dish is made with garlic, salt, and oregano.

Dakos: This Cretan flatbread, made with traditional barley rusks, tomato, capers, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of oregano, makes the perfect snack.

Revani: A sweet syrup-soaked ball of cake, Revani is light and sweet and the perfect end to a meal.

Souvenirs to Buy

Handmade jewellery: The local artisans make beautiful jewellery with a unique and timeless style. Choose from necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and earrings.

Olive oil: Agios Nikolaos produces some of Greece's best extra virgin olive oil with a distinctive flavour and aroma.

Olive wood carvings: Olive wood is an integral part of the island's history, and shops in Agios Nikolaos offer hand-carved objects such as Butter knives, forks, and spoons.

Ceramics: Traditionally, every piece of pottery, handmade, tells a story about the island's past.

Local wines: Agios Nikolaos produces some of the best wines in Crete, so pick up a bottle of wine and bring it home with you as a souvenir.

Flights to Agios Nikolaos

Where to stay

Is Agios Nikolaos Expensive?

Agios Nikolaos is a relatively affordable destination. Food and drinks are reasonably priced, and enjoying all the town and island offers is possible without spending a fortune. That said, prices can be higher in the peak summer season.

Helpful Recommendations

Visit Plaka Beach, a famous beach in the Elounda region, around 15 kilometres from Agios Nikolaos.

Take a ferry to the nearby island of Spinalonga, a former leprosy colony and home to a 16th-century Venetian-built fortress.

Sample the local cuisine at some of the best restaurants in Agios Nikolaos, such as Skala Taverna and Maistrali.

Rent a car to easily explore the island's beaches, wineries, and historical sites.

Get up early and take a morning walk around Lake Voulismeni.

Take the time to explore the Old Town - it's charming and full of gems! Head to the Saint Athanasius Church of Agios Nikolaos and the Panagia Vrefotrofos Church.

Agios Nikolaos Weather

Agios Nikolaos has a Mediterranean climate and is blessed with 300 days of sunshine yearly. The mild winters, hot summers and blooming flowers make it a great destination all year round. The sunniest months are July and August, while the warmest months are also July and August, making them ideal for swimming. The rainiest months are January, February, November, and December.

JAN

12.8°C / 55°F

7 days rain

FEB

13.6°C / 56°F

7 days rain

MAR

15.6°C / 60°F

6 days rain

APR

18.9°C / 66°F

4 days rain

MAY

23.5°C / 74°F

2 days rain

JUN

28.2°C / 83°F

0 days rain

JUL

29.8°C / 86°F

0 days rain

AUG

29.9°C / 86°F

0 days rain

SEP

27.5°C / 82°F

1 days rain

OCT

23.2°C / 74°F

4 days rain

NOV

18.8°C / 66°F

6 days rain

DEC

14.8°C / 59°F

6 days rain

Best time to visit Agios Nikolaos

The best time to visit Agios Nikolaos is during the late spring or early autumn, specifically May, June, September, and October. Spring in particular is a charming time to visit when the island is awash with colour and perfect temperatures.

During these months, the weather is warm but not excessively hot, perfect for exploring the island's beaches, ancient ruins, and charming villages. The sea temperatures are also comfortable for swimming. Avoid the winter months if you prefer to stay dry, as they tend to be the rainiest.

Samos
Agia Marina
Argostoli
Lassi
Tigaki
Kassandra
Macedonia
Halkidiki
Heraklion
Athens
Attica
Lesbos