Agios Nikolaos - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos (or Áyios Nikólaos), about 43 miles (69km) east of Heraklion, was formerly known as a holiday destination for package-tour groups but is now a cosmopolitan resort with high standards of harbour-side café-bars and top quality restaurants. The night clubs and karaoke bars are a thing of the past in this relaxed, yet busy, town.

Ideal for couples of all ages, Agios Nikolaos is an excellent base from which to explore the eastern part of the island while on holiday. The town itself does not boast any major historical or archaeological sites, but it does have one major curiosity: the deep pool in the environs of the harbour, called Lake Voulismeni, has many tales and legends attached to it, and was once believed to be bottomless.

Ágios Nikólaos also has a fine Archaeological Museum, worth visiting while on holiday for its growing collection of Minoan artefacts. The museum houses finds from the cemetery of Aghia Photia, dating back to 2300 BC, including more than 1,500 vases. Besides all the Minoan finds the museum also has the skull of a young Roman athlete wearing a gold olive-leaf wreath, dated to the 1st century AD.

Many visitors on holiday in Ágios Nikólaos take the excursions to the fortified islet of Spinalónga to see the ruins of, and hear the fascinating story of what became the last leper colony in Europe.

Information & Facts


The area around the Agios Nikolaos resort is ideal for hiking, and the coastline lends itself to the pursuit of all kinds of watersports to appeal to just about every kind of holiday visitor. Almyros Beach, a 20-minute walk from town, is pleasant and sandy, and there are a number of pebble beaches to choose from on windy days. The various hotels in the resort have swimming pools, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. The town council organises a programme of cultural events each summer season.

Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining euros.


Restaurants and tavernas down by the harbour tend to be pricy and party animals will be disappointed with the limited nightlife options in Agios Nikolaos.


Ágios Nikólaos used to be famous for its bar culture when thousands of holidaymakers would flock here every year for a good party. Today, it still maintains a few 'touristy' bars serving up the traditional mix of 80s disco music, and a couple of British-style pubs and sports bars. The more modern and relaxed café bars on the south side of the harbour tend to attract more customers nowadays and are popular with the locals as well as tourists.


The Agios Nikolaos lake area is full of tourist-orientated tavernas that charge more for the location than the quality of the food. Aggressive waiters will often try to pull you into the restaurants on the lake and firm 'No' is often required. 9 Muses, Psaraki and Knossos Taverna are consistently good. For meze (small dishes of different foods) Xryssofilo (Kitroplatia) is hard to beat. For northern European variety try Obelix, a Dutch run restaurant near Ammoudi beach.


Good clothing and shoe shops, as well as high-quality jewellery stores are available in Agios Nikolaos and holidaymakers won't be disappointed. The street market (Wednesdays from 7am to 12pm) is a good place to rummage with the locals for clothes and bargains. The top end of the market is a great place to buy traditional foodstuffs and local thyme honey, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

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