Agios Nikolaos with 20.000 permanent residents is the capital and administrative centre of the Lasithi Prefecture. It is a gem of a cosmopolitan harbour town nestling beside the Gulf of Mirabello on Crete’s north-east coast. Perched in the arms of a picturesque bay it is surrounded by the small resort of Elounda and a little further north along the bay, the small and beautiful village of Plaka. The picturesque town of Agios Nikolaos does have elegant neoclassical buildings, colourful streets, beautiful squares and a lively blend of bars, traditional tavernas, boutiques and even an old antiques shop.
Its trademark is the combination of the harbour and the picturesque Lake Voulismeni set against the backdrop of a steep green cliff. The lake was regarded as bottomless, but is now known to be funnel-shaped to a depth of 64m. Lake and harbour are linked by a short channel and crossed by a road bridge, a natural meeting-place at the centre of the town. A panoramic view of the lake can be seen from a small park situated above it. Cosmopolitan beaches with all kind of facilities compose the profile of this beautiful town. You can swim at Ammoudi beach, along the road and about 1 kilometre north from the centre.
There is another popular pebble beach close to the centre, crowded in summer, called Kitroplateia beach, and the long municipal beach stretches southeast beyond the marina. Another, attractively beach is 10 minutes further on foot from the centre, just outside the town at the start of the road to Sitia, its name is Almyros, the name implies an area of salt marsh. Amongst local attractions, the Archaeological and Folklore Museum are included. During your stay in Agios Nikolaos, do not forget to visit the Cretan Olive Farm, the Votania Herbs Garden in Kavousi and the old Venetian fortress on Spinalonga Island.
CRETAN OLIVE FARM
The Cretan Olive Farm in Agios Nikolaos is a place where you can explore the unknown side of East Crete and its products. Take a guided tour through an 135 year old working olive oil factory and gather all the information that you need to know about olive oil. Walk around in the herbal gardens and get knowledge of traditional wine making and the secrets of the raki distillery. See the ceramic workshop and learn about pottery, say hello to all the different animals, enjoying their life in the traditional farm. Learn about Cretan Bee-keeping with the brand new Bee-keepers corner and get introduced to the apiculture (the art of bee keeping).
Original and ancient medicinal herbs and more than 100 varieties of plants are cultivated in a natural, traditional and peaceful environment of 4000 square meters. With the ceramic workshop you will learn that pottery is a relaxing and creative art. A professional potter can guide you and your hands into making your first ceramic pot. You can also take cooking lessons with farm fresh organic vine leaves. You will get all the skills and knowledge to make original Dolmades with a side of Tzatziki, Snails with dakos (village bread), Snails with Cretan dakos bread or Cretan handmade pasta (Skioufihta) with Cretan goat's cheese and butter.
You can also requests on other Cretan/Greek dishes you wish to learn if you let us know in advance. There is also a tasting tour with more than 30 different homemade and original Cretan products, most of them produced at the farm. Prices start at Euro 1,50 for tours up to Euro 10,00 for specialised workshops. Reservation is required and can be done online. The Cretan Olive Farm is located at 2nd km Agios Nikolaos - Elounda, Eparchi Odos Agiou Nikolaou - Vrouchas 8, 72100, Lassithi, East Crete. Open Daily from 10:00 to 19:00 and on Sundays 10:00 to 14:00.
Reservations can be done through the contact form at the end of this page.
VOTANIA HERB GARDEN
UNIQUE CRETAN HERBS
Votania Pure Herbs Garden of Crete is located in the scenic coastal village of Kavousi (North East Crete) halfway on the road Agios Nikolaos to Sitia. Votania Herbs is an organic farm that preserves and showcases Cretan biodiversity by producing products beneficial to the health and wellbeing of people. Some of the herbs you'll see here are endemic to Crete and only found on the island. All are fragrant and full of unique aromas that make them ideal ingredients in teas and bath products.
Many are also used as spices, like rosemary, thyme, and lavender. During the spring and summer, visitors can take part in harvesting and planting activities, ideal for anyone looking for a useful way to spend some time outdoors. During a guided tour of the herb farm, guests can enjoy the views and learn about the history, uses and benefits of medicinal Cretan herbs. They also learn about ecological farming practises and how herbal products are made. Herbal refreshments are offered during the tour!
Various workshops are also organised. Call or e-mail us prior to your visit in order to schedule your visit, and remember that you can buy all kinds of gifts here, like aromatic oils, soaps, teas, and dried herbs. Make Votania Pure Herbs of Crete part of your personalised Agios Nikolaos itinerary combining it with a visit to Agios Nikolaos. A visit to Votania can also be combined by exploring the near by Richtis Gorge, town of Mochlos, the Amazones Park or the Cretan Olive Farm.
The Amazonas Park, a wonderful public and well set out park for birds and small monkeys in the midst of the Lasithi mountains in the East of Crete is a very special park. Getting there up through the narrow scenic roads is worthwhile for the beautiful views and amazing scenery alone. While you maybe tend to be dubious of going to Zoos and animal parks while you are on holiday, but this special place is definitely a cut above. Actually this is not a zoo but a rescue and rehabilitation centre for animals.
LEMURS IN CRETE
The best part of this park is that the majority of the animals are rescued and are being kept to be released into the wild again. Getting to feed the small monkeys and lemurs are possibly the high point. The monkeys are clever and try to steal the food bags from your hand and the lemurs come and sit on your shoulder whilst you feed them, a wonderful experience. In the course of time this park has developed into homes for parrots like macaws, cockatoos and other endangered tropical birds.
You’ll also see donkeys and have the opportunity to interact with turtles and learn all about the animals and their habits from the passioned owners of the Amazonas Park. The sanctuary also has a small adventure playground for kids and an aviary full of chirping budgies. The park is located about 30 minutes inland from Agios Nikolaos, at 3rd Km Neapoli towards Kourounes. The park is open daily and admission is Euro10,00 for adults, concessions for under 16s are Euro 6,00.