The Lasithi Prefecture dominates the eastern portion of the island of Crete in Greece. Its capital is the bustling resort town of Agios Nikolaos, surrounded by other popular tourist destinations such as Elounda, Sissi, Ferma, and Ierapetra, among others. There…
The Lasithi Prefecture dominates the eastern portion of the island of Crete in Greece. Its capital is the bustling resort town of Agios Nikolaos, surrounded by other popular tourist destinations such as Elounda, Sissi, Ferma, and Ierapetra, among others. There are also several charming villages nearby where you can escape the crowd and enjoy some peace and quiet amidst beautiful natural scenery. Whether you feel like going for a day-long excursion at the beach or treat yourself to a scenic mountain hike, you are just minutes away from that perfect spot you are seeking when visiting Crete.
Agios Nikolaos is a good base for exploring Lasithi Prefecture because it offers a wide array of accommodation options and plenty of tavernas, cafes and restaurants to fit all budgets. Its animated night life scene makes it a favorite for those who are on the prowl for a party atmosphere. Moreover, it boasts of the stunning lagoon of Mirabello Bay, lined with beautiful palm-fringed beaches. All it takes is a few minutes walk from the town center to hang out at the beaches of Kitroplatia, Amoudi and Ammos, among many others you can epxlore.
If you want a more secluded location, you can always hop on a taxi boat and ask your boatman to take you to one of the many small coves along the coast or to visit the small island of Agioi Pantes. If you are in the mood for sightseeing, then you need not go further than the lovely town center. It is a picturesque locale right in front of Lake Voulismeni, with a view of colorful fishing boats bobbing in and out of the calm blue waters.
Take a seat in an open air cafe and enjoy the wonderful view or you can keep going and visit the charming shops scattered around to check out the exquisitely crafted jewelries they have on display. You can also drop by the archaeological museum or check out the Iris exhibition featuring the local blooms.
For those who want to escape the crowded Cretan resorts, the laid back and charming town of Sitia is a better alternative for you. It is located about 40 miles from Agios Nikolaos and considered to be one of the most ancient towns on the island. The words bustling and touristy do not yet apply to the area – although, it is only a matter of time – but that doesn’t mean that it is less beautiful. It helps that it is served by its very own (small) airport and harbor, making it a very convenient destination.
Sitia features a lovely waterfront and the customary fishing boats, however, what makes this area truly desirable aside from its tranquil atmosphere and scenic port is the plethora of historical attractions it offers. Start from the Archaeological Museum and the Folk Museum to get a good introduction then head to the ancient Minoan ruins at Petras or check out the ancient gems at Chamezi and Achladia.
If you are more interested with the Venetian period, then go castle-hopping from Casarma all the way to Liopetro. The area’s religious monuments are also worthwhile such as the 15th century monasteries of Faneromeni and Toplou, as well as the mysterious cave-church of Aghios Nicolaos in the nearby village of Roussa Eklissia.
Of course, like any other coastal towns in Crete, Sitia also features wonderful beaches where you can work on your tan and soak up the balmy Mediterranean sun.