Agios Nikolaos (or Aghios Nikolaos, Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος) is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, lying east of the island's capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia. In the year 2000, the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, which takes in part of the surrounding villages, claimed around 19,000 inhabitants. The town is a municipality of Crete region, and sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara.


Lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos.


View of town.

History

Agios Nikolaos was settled in the late Bronze Age by Dorian occupants of Lato, at a time when the security of the Lato hillfort became a lesser concern and access to the harbour at Agios Nikolaos became sufficiently attractive.

The name Agios Nikolaos means Saint Nicholas, and its stress lies on the second syllable of the word "Nikolaos". Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos (alternative transliterations of the Greek Άγιος Νικόλαος) is observably a common placename in Greece and Cyprus, since Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and of all of Greece.

Modern Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is probably best known as a tourist town that serves as a hub to the twenty or so small villages and farms that make up that part of Lassithi. Tourist attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, small beaches in the town, the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archaeological museum, the local flora exhibition “Iris” and numerous fairs. Tourism is mainly West European with Greek tourism concentrating in mid August. The lagoon features a small park with a trail, traditional fishing boats, ducks, pigeons, an amphitheatre and many cafès. Daphne du Maurier's short story Not After Midnight was set in and around the town.

Municipality

The municipality Agios Nikolaos was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
• Agios Nikolaos
• Neapoli
• Vrachasi

Transportation

Agios Nikolaos is accessible from the mainland and the whole of Europe through Nikos Kazantzakis airport, and the many daily ferry services in Heraklion (64 km). You can also travel through Sitia airport boarding onto a domestic or charter flight or through its harbour (67 km). Recently the town became host to a department of a Technological Educational Institute (TEI), offering tourism-related courses.