Agios Nikolaos has developed over the years into a bustling resort town, offering plenty of activities, beaches and eating options without seeming loud or overbearing. The ocean scenery is the biggest draw; the resort has beautiful beaches, a marina and a pretty lake connected to the sea by a narrow channel. Agios Nikolaos is well placed to explore other parts of the island, so renting a car is a good idea.
Lake Voulismeni is the resort’s prettiest and most photographed sight, overlooked by cafes and restaurants that are the dream location for drinks or your evening meal. The marina is another town hub, filled with elegant yachts and lined with restaurants serving delicious mezze platters and Greek salads. Drop by the archaeological museum to see ancient artefacts from the area’s past, or climb to the hilltop church for views of the bay.
Agios Nikolaos has five beaches, so visitors have plenty of choice. Kitroplatia is the most central, while Ammos next to the marina is another extremely accessible option. Ammoudi and Havania on the road to Elounda offer a selection of watersports, and Almiros, although the furthest out of town, is the most spacious beach and best for swimming, lying in a sheltered cove and equipped with volleyball, a snack bar and sunbeds for hire.
A trip to Spinalonga is the most popular day out from Agios Nikolaos; this island was a leper colony until as recently as the 1950s and therefore has a fascinating history attached to it. Boat excursions around the coast are another popular day trip, and the kids will love the slides at Watercity. For a change of scene in a larger resort, the town of Elounda is just 20 minutes away by car.