What makes Agios Nikolaos so special in Spring?
Without a doubt, for most people spring is their favourite season. It marks the end of winter and of the cold weather and is associated with the rebirth of nature and the uplifting of the spirits. Spring arrives in Crete and Agios Nikolaos relatively earlier than in other parts of Greece and Europe due to their geographical location in the southernmost part of the Mediterranean. It is not uncommon for the weather to become very mild in late February winking at locals and visitors.
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Those who visit the municipality of Agios Nikolaos in spring are surprised by the surprisingly good weather, even in early spring, and by the large number of people swimming in the sea. In springtime, the locals often enjoy the sun and the sea which has remained a lot warmer than in other parts of Greece and the Mediterranean. Agios Nikolaos offers the visitor the opportunity to enjoy the sea even within the city because of its numerous beaches with crystal clear waters most of them awarded with the Blue Flag.
At the same time, the seawater is particularly calm and safe to swim in due to the area’s unique topography characterised by the presence of numerous small coves and bays within the broader area of the Gulf of Mirabello that embraces the city and the municipality of Agios Nikolaos.
Moreover, experienced professionals who offer diving lessons and organise tours to the remarkable seabed of the area and rent the appropriate equipment recommence their activities. The same applies for those who want to go windsurfing or engage in other activities related to the sea such as sea kayaking and SUP. Also, an SUP academy operates within the city of Agios Nikolaos (beach of the Greek National Tourism Organization) where you can learn more about this sport with absolute safety. There are many children who join the academy every year. In springtime, you may enjoy these activities in a more comfortable fashion as it is still early in the tourist season.
The same applies to activities not related to the sea, such as mountaineering and climbing (in Kalo Chorio there is a climbing field with numerous routes), gorge crossing and hiking. Mild temperatures, which remain below 30 degrees, especially in early spring, help those who want to hike and discover the beautiful hinterland of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos and to enjoy the unique flora of Crete with its wild flowers and hundreds of herbs. In the municipality of Agios Nikolaos, visitors may walk on trails based on old paths, many of which lead to several of the beautiful villages of the area (Kritsa, Kroustas, Potamoi), the town of Neapoli and the Plateau of Katharo.
In early spring, depending of course on how mild February was, the landscape fills with blossomed almond trees. Almond trees have always been cultivated in the area (there is also a traditional local almond soft drink called Soumada). Walking on the area’s trails is a unique experience.
Spring is an important period for Orthodoxy because of the Holy Week and Easter. The celebrations for the Holy Week that take place in the area are very beautiful and the area has many local customs and traditions. The most impressive event takes place on the night of the Resurrection in the city of Agios Nikolaos. A huge bonfire is lit in the middle of Lake Voulismeni and thousands of visitors gather to admire the spectacular sight that is enhanced by thousands of fireworks that illuminate the sky. The celebration of the Second Resurrection (Vespers of Love) that takes place on the afternoon of Easter Sunday in the village of Kritsa is equally exceptional. The numerous monasteries of the area celebrate the holy days with religious devotion and many choose to spend the night of the Resurrection there.
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Spring is the best time to enjoy fresh, real yogurt and many other dairy products (cheese, creams) because the milk produced is of excellent quality since the sheep and goats have been fed with many different greens and herbs that grow in the area. Indeed, the season is ideal for collecting greens and Crete is famous for its wild greens and herbs (chicory, spiny chicory, charakoules, wild parsley and others). These humble greens have been a basic ingredient of the famous Cretan diet since ancient times and also possess soothing and medicinal properties. Greens are real superfoods that thrive in the area. Also, let us not forget oregano, an herb that in springtime spreads its wonderful aroma on the mountaintops. Also, you may enjoy delicious apples from the mountainous areas of the hinterland. An exquisite delicacy and excellent accompaniment for raki is the artichoke which thrives in April and May. The locals eat it raw with salt and lemon and it is considered one of the healthiest vegetables.
Agios Nikolaos welcomes you in its flowery spring costume full of aromas, herbs, smells and tastes. Your heart will be filled with sea, sun and the kindness of its people. Welcome!