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Agios Nikolaos

Photo of Agios Nikolaos

About Agios Nikolaos

The varied ocean-view experiences are probably why sleepy Agios Nikolaos first began attracting visitors in the 60s, and it quickly developed into a tourist town. But these days things are calmer and this town, of all of Crete, has the best blend of cosmopolitan liveliness and seaside peace, which is reflected in the best places to stay in Agios Nikolaos.

Agios Nikolaos is set around a charming harbour, once the heart of the place when it was a fishing village, which opens into a deep lake just behind a narrow inlet. This peaceful 'lake' gives Agios Nikolaos reams of additional seafront lined by cafes, bars and tavernas. The actual seafront also has a long stretch of sandy beach, so this is one of the few places on Crete where you'll find a beach right in the centre of town. And then there's the marina.

If you're looking for accommodation recommendations go straight to our guru's list of the best places to stay in Agios Nikolaos. Otherwise, here are some of the town's highlights, and some of the best places to stay in Agios Nikolaos to enjoy them.

Beaches

As well as the sandy/ shingly bit of coastline at the centre of town, Agios Nikolaos has some pretty spectacular beaches.

  • Ammos Beach, right by the marina is all sand no shingles, and the water here is pretty calm.
  • Almyros is a quiet sandy spot you can only reach on foot via a pretty coastal path.
  • Almios and Ammoudara are great because of their excellent facilities, and they're only about two kilometres out of town.
  • But if you drive a bit further you'll find Voulisma Beach, which has startlingly turquoise waters and pale sand.

Not To Miss

  • Spinalonga Island makes for an excellent day trip from Agios Nikolaos, it's unoccupied now, but its ancient Venetian fortifications and pebbly beaches were once home to a leper colony - which only closed down in the 60s.
  • Visit the Cretan Olive Oil Farm to learn about the processes involved in making traditional olive oil, pottery and wine.
  • Agios Nikolaos is also close enough to the ruins at Knossos, Phaestos, Gortyna and the Samaria Gorge to take day trips from here.
  • The charming Panagias Keras Church boasts some wonderful frescoes dating back to the 12th century - a must see!

As with such a beautiful area many of the best places in Agios Nikolaos are snapped up quickly so be sure to make your plans and book early.

For A Beach Break

    • Minos Beach Art Hotel has enough on offer so that you could have a perfectly lovely holiday without leaving its pretty, green sanctuary dotted with contemporary artworks. There are semi-private beaches, coves and four restaurants, whilst the accommodation ranges from rooms and suites to entire whitewashed cottages, so this is one of the best places to stay in Agios Nikolaos for families. If you do want a bit more activity then it's not far to travel to the buzz of town.
    • If you want nothing more than the perfect Cretan beach resort then book into the St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel and Villas. It's a low-rise garden resort looking out over the peninsula towards the town and its beautiful bay. The small beach is surrounded by lush landscaped gardens, and there's a spectacular infinity pool. This was one of the first real luxury resorts on Crete, and it's got a charming retro feel about it.

    For Luxury

    • The 5* Elounda Mare is the ultimate upmarket retreat - featuring private beach access, smart rooms, suites and bungalows, as well as a golf course and spoiling spa. There are a range of restaurants to choose from and, what's more, you can even charter your own yacht to head off exploring the coast.
    • Blue Palace, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is perfect if you fancy a bit of privacy. There are a wide range of luxurious bungalows and suites on offer, with many of them even boasting their own private infinity pools. With a private beach, spa and fine dining on offer, what's not to love?
    • Domes of Elounda, located on Mirabello Bay, offers stunning views and private beach access. Featuring chic accommodation and an extensive spa, there are also three restaurants to choose from and plenty of activities to keep the whole family occupied.
    • Daios Cove Luxury Resort is as dreamy as it sounds, with an enviable setting, private beach and lovely spa. The smart accommodation is tastefully decorated, whilst there's also a kids club and a variety of eateries.
    • Elounda Peninsula provides stylish contemporary accommodation featuring private pools and hot tubs. Tuck into splendid French cuisine from the award-winning restaurant and unwind in the spa to forget about all your worries.
    • Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas boasts truly luxurious accommodation with breathtaking views out to sea. There's a variety of activities on offer or you can simply unwind in the spa for ultimate relaxation. Choose from a wide range of cuisine on offer.

    For Romance

    • Cressa Ghitonia offers charming accommodation in the hills overlooking the sea. Couple can book one bedroom villas with private terraces, whilst there's also a jacuzzi, wellness centre and local cuisine served up. An idyllic getaway.
    • Elounda Gulf Villas And Suites provides a diverse selection of accommodation, some contemporary and some classically elegant. Each villa has its own pool and jacuzzi so it's ideal for romantic retreats, whilst you can either cater for yourselves or tuck into grub from the restaurant. Make use of the free bikes on offer to explore your surroundings.
    • Elounda Bay Palace, set amidst 20 acres of tropical gardens, is a top spot. Providing large, chic rooms and a wide range of restaurants, there are also two semi-private beaches to take advantage of during the day and a variety of activities on offer.

    For An Apartment Or Villa

    If you think you'd be best served by a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.

    Travel Information

    • Agios Nikolaos is obviously nicest weather-wise in the summer months, with the average daily temperature rising to 26°C in July and August.
    • This however is peak tourist season, so if you fancy a quieter and cheaper alternative (but when the weather's still nice enough to enjoy the beaches!) consider coming in May, September or October.
    • International guests can fly into Crete's Heraklion Airport. From here you can hop on a bus to Agios Nikolaos which takes around 50 minutes.
    • easyJet fly direct to Heraklion from Luton, Gatwick and Manchester.
    • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

        Still not sure?

        Best Hotels in Agios Nikolaos

        • St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel and Villas 107 rooms from £228

          Agios Nikolaos, Crete

          Low-rise garden resort with immaculate seaside grounds. Rooms with floaty linen curtains have excellent sea views from their large glass windows. Suites and private villas have personal pools. A good selection of bars and restaurants. Explore the surrounding islands or simply lie back and relax.

          Romantic Break  -  Spoil yourselves with chartered yachts, tandem massages, chic rooms, five on site restaurants plus cocktial bar and beach bar.
          Total relaxation  -  Totally unwind with relaxing Poseidon Spa face and body therapies, sauna, Hammam, jacuzzi and cocktails!
          Sailing  -  Explore untouched beaches and coves in the hotel's 34-foot sailing boat.
          Full of character  -  The retro 60's look adds an element of "cool"
          Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
          Check prices
        • Minos Beach Art Hotel 129 rooms from £150

          Agios Nikolaos, Crete

          Set in an out-of-this-world location right on the Cretan seafront. A collection of understated luxury rooms and bungalows elegantly decorated with simple white walls, furnishings and minimalist artworks. Excellent mediterranean dishes are served up in the restaurants. Ideal for totally relaxing.

          Honeymoons  -  A haven of tranquility with private villas with mountian and sea views, spoiling massages and haute cuisine overlooking the bay.
          Beach Life  -  Set directly on the crystal clear waters, indulge in diving, sailing, fishing or simply basking on the stunning beaches.
          Sailing  -  Venture out in the hotel's motorboat around the bay or day cruises to Spinalonga and Mochlos.
          Sights nearby  -  Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos
          Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
          Check prices
        • Daios Cove Luxury Resort 300 rooms from £344

          Agios Nikolaos

          Luxury beach resort just minutes from Agios Nikolaos. Sumptuous suites and villas with cool contemporary interiors and fabulous sea views, and many with their own private pool. Private sandy beach, and fantastic facilties for all the family including luxury spa and kids club.

          Kids Club  -  Supervised kids' club for children up to 12 with a huge range of activities.
          Swimming Pool  -  Two outdoor seawater infinity pools, plus two indoor pools too!
          Sights nearby  -  Visit Agios Nikolaos Port.
          On the beach  -  Private beach
          Check prices