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Agios Nikolaos, Elounda

Eastern Crete (see map )

Crete, Agios Nikolaos Crete, Agios Nikolaos Crete, Agios Nikolaos

 

Built on the Gulf of Mirabello (named by the Venetians for "nice view"), this picturesque city has been discovered by film directors and the international jet set in the ‘60’s. It's principal and more obvious attraction is a supposed bottomless lake, surrounded by restaurants and cafes proudly advertising their "lake view". Invaded by group tourism some years ago "Ag Nik" hasn't been left spoilt, now that these hordes have moved towards Hersonissos and Malia.

 

CAFES
There is no much to do during the day than to sit on a cafe terrace and enjoy the lake view (oh yes!). CHEZ GEORGES is our favorite, don’t forget to sign it’s guest book. CAFE DU LAC is the place to meet locals. PLAZA has probably the best lake view, while MYTHOS is a new proposition by a young architect. ALEXANDROS ROOF GARDEN offers a nice view on the city and live music from the ‘60’s. TO VASANO is a traditional Greek "kafeneion" at the center and the bakery of LAMBROS is just opposite, you can combine a "glykys vrastos" coffee with a "kaltsouni" or "xerotigano" pastry. At ELOUDA cafe KRITI is also on the traditional side, ask for "soumada", a sweet almond drink.

 

RESTAURANTS
Lake view is considered a must for restaurants too, however we will insist more on other points, like quality and service. The choice for what is called "international cuisine" is wide. Generally establishments who describe themselves on these terms tend to be on the expensive side, but there are exceptions of course. Try for instance DU LAC (that’s "lake " in French!), LIMNI (you guessed it, "lake" in Greek!). LACASA, VERONA, IL CAPRICCIO, CASANOVA, LA STRADA, REDDRAGON are ethnic - oriented (Italian or Chinese, that is!). A beautiful garden and a finely restored neoclassical building (villa Koundouros) characterize the -on the upper side- MEDITERANNEO. Traditional Cretan food at TAVERNA AUOAS, ITANOS, LOUKAKIS, IKAROS and OFOU TO LO (pronounce it as a whole "ofoutolo"). PELAGOS is a stylish fish tavern. If you master the concept of "mezedes" (little side-dishes that sum up to a more than complete dinner, accompanied by lot’s of wine or raki) you will definitely explore AVLI, ELLINIKON (a kafeneion than proposes different mezedes every day). Outside Aghios Nikolaos, for the independent traveler, MANOLIS, PEFKO, NIKOS and DRIROS, all around Elounda are fair choices and some of them offer views to …Spinalonga, the island of the leprous (once upon a time, relax). The gastronomical capital of the region is to be found though at Neapolis, on the way to Malia. Try meze places PERIX and REGOULA and the restaurant KIPOS and order what locals prefer.

 

NIGHTLIFE
Once upon a time a Mecca of European nightlife, Aghios Nikolaos is somewhat a calmer place nowadays. That doesn’t mean that the choice of bars and clubs is limited of course! The 25 Martiou str is called by local youths "Soho", the association is obvious! CAPTAIN SKY, SCORPIOS, TOUNEL, SIXTIES, SORRENTO, SANTA MARIA, BOLERO, PIER, GIANNI’S BAR are tourist - oriented, while ROXY and ROYALE propose a Greek-only repertoire. RULE is the current hot spot , a club with some interesting guest dj's sometimes.. At PORTO you’ll be observing ferry-boats coming at dawn, if you stay up that late.

 

BEACHES - GETTING AROUND
Some committee of the European Union has recently awarded 28 blue flags, a special distinction for clean beaches, but you don’t need any committee to see the obvious, there are tiny but very photogenic spots everywhere (though the best are "reserved" to residents of the luxury hotels) and the water is crystal clear. You’ll have to take a ride though, not a bad idea to rent a bike to reach ALMYROS beach or AMMUDARA and HAVANIA, on the way to KALO HORIO. Going opposite you will pass the sunken city of OLOUS, towards ELOUDA, PLAKA and the Venetian fortress rock on the islet of SPINALONGA, used as the last leper colony of Europe (till 1950). You can go there by boat, an excursion not to be missed!

 

Source: Stigmes, Crete's magasine

Nikos Papadogeorgakis


 

Tip of the day

In the small but organized city museum you will see findings from excavations in ancient Kissamos and its surrounding areas. The museum’s collection includes floor mosaics of 2nd and 3rd century houses found in Kissamos city, as well as findings from the archeological sites of Polirrinia and Falasarna (mainly statues, reliefs and ceramics dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman times).
The present town is famous for its amazing wine which is produced here and is celebrated with “the Feast of Wine" at the beginning of August. During the feast local wine is offered in great quantities under the sound of lyre and lute and in a very enthusiastic atmosphere.
The beaches surrounding Kastelli that you can visit for swimming in the homonym gulf are Molos beach covered by thick pebbles, Ghipedo beach surrounded by trees and Telonio beach with view of the Venetian walls. It is better though to take the road to the famous Gramvousa peninsula.

 


Index: Tourist guide of Crete
Agia Galini Agia Roumeli Agia Triada Agios Nikolaos Akrotiri Almirida Anogia Aradena Archanes Arkadi Argiroupoli Balos Bali Chania Chora Sfakion Chersonissos Chrissoskalitissa Cnossos Elafonissi Elounda Falassarna Festos Fodele Frangokastello Gortyna Gramvoussa Hania Heraklion Hersonissos Hora Sfakion Ierapetra Kalyves Kandanos Kastelli Kissamos Knossos Kritsa Lato Lassithi plateau Lendas Loutro Malia Matala Mochlos Omalos Paleokastro Plakias Preveli Rethymnon Rethimno Rodopos Samaria Sitia Sougia Sfakia Spili Vai Vamos Zakros

 

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