Agios Nikolaos covers a long stretch of the north eastern coast and a hinterland that rises to the tremendous rocky ranges of the Dhikti mountains. It is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, lying east of the island’s capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia. 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.
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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.
The town takes its name from the small Byzantine church of Saint Nicholas, situated on a small peninsula near the Venetian harbour called Mantraki. The church is a beautiful example of classic Byzantine architecture and was built between the 7th and 9th century, during the Iconoclastic period. Many of the original frescos decorate the interior. The church is open to visitors all year round. The town also houses an archaeological museum, folklore museum, cinema, and many cultural events are held in the summer months.
Legend has it that the Goddess Athena once bathed in the lake Voulismeni, the focal point of the town. Today the lake is ringed by tavernas and cafes, and has many caiques, brightly painted traditional fishing boats, moored around the edges.
Agios Nikolaos and the surrounding area has more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere in Greece. The clear, crystal water is perfect for snorkeling and swimming and the beaches range from long sandy beaches such as Almyros, to small rocky coves where you can enjoy total solitude.