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Greece is known all over the world as one of the best places for summer vacations. The warm Mediterranean climate, the beautiful topography of the country and its innumerable islands attract millions of visitors each year. Crete, the so-called Great Island, is the crown jewel of these islands. One of the most beautiful areas of Crete is its eastern part, especially the city and the municipality of Agios Nikolaos.

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The sea dominates the area of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos. Crystal clear waters embrace a stunning coastal relief (the area has one of the largest coastlines of a total length of 109 km) and the seabed’s biodiversity is unique. The municipality of Agios Nikolaos occupies large part of the coastal area of the Gulf of Mirabello which is considered one of the safest places in Crete for swimming as it provides protection from the strong north – northwest winds that blow in the Aegean in the summer months due to its orientation to the east – southeast. The peaceful bay of Elounda, located in the northern part of the Gulf of Mirabello, is considered one of the safest places in Greece for swimming.

These features create the ideal conditions for many activities related to summer and the sea. One of the most popular activities among visitors is sailing. There are dozens of professionals who rent boats and provide excellent services giving you the opportunity to sail in the Gulf of Mirabello towards Elounda and Kalo Chorio but also to neighbouring islands and islands of adjacent municipalities (Kasos, Karpathos, Koufonisi and Chrysi). Sea kayak and SUP provide an interesting alternative to those who want to find small secluded beaches and enjoy the unique coastline. From the lake of Agios Nikolaos you may beach-hop your way to Kalo Chorio. Seawater safety is also a crucial factor that makes these activities suitable for beginners. Others like to windsurf in the areas favoured by the strong summer winds (Hiona beach in Elounda, Ammoudi beach and Karavostasi beach) and many well-trained professionals offer diving lessons and underwater explorations. The area has a lot of wonderful beaches, some of them located within the city (awarded with the Blue Flag). Moreover, in the neighbouring municipality of Sitia, we find the beach and the magnificent palm forest of Vai.

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The city of Agios Nikolaos is a well-known summer destination and one of the first areas in Greece to enter the global tourist market (the first in Crete) 40 years ago. The city and other areas of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos provide a lot of options for entertainment and an exciting nightlife scene. In the modern bars of the city you may enjoy cocktails based on local products, something really unique. In addition, Elounda is considered one of the most sophisticated places in the world and a large number of luxury five-star hotels offering top quality services are located in the area.

Summer however is also the time of year for the celebrations for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15). It is a particularly important celebration for the area of Agios Nikolaos. In Neapolis, the municipality’s historical capital, a big festival (one of the most important events in Crete) is organized every year in honour of the Virgin Mary Mother of God, which takes place on the large main square of the city next to the imposing church of Megali Panagia. Also, one of the most important pilgrimages in Crete, the pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni, takes place in the area. It is no coincidence that many monasteries are found in the northern part of the municipality and the area is nicknamed “Mount Athos of Crete”.

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Crete, especially its central and eastern parts, attracts many wine enthusiasts. The wine tradition of the island dates back to the Antiquity and in recent years substantial progress has been made following the revival of indigenous grape varieties. Many wineries have created state-of-the-art exhibition areas that are open to the public and Crete has become a point of reference in the global wine industry. Vine harvesting and the pressing of the grapes take place in summer (in late August) and it is a period of celebration for winemakers marking the culmination of their efforts.
The excellent climate is reflected on the area’s gastronomy which is largely based on delicious summer vegetables and fruits. Visitors enjoy tasty figs, grapes, cherries, watermelons, melons, apricots and cherry plums (the locals call them “bourneles”) as well as vlita greens and amaranth. A humble Greek salad has such a full flavour that you can hardly find it anywhere else. The open market in Agios Nikolaos (on Wednesdays next to Agios Nikolaos Hospital) attracts thousands of tourists who are interested in buying local products. Summer is also the ideal time to collect thyme, a very wholesome herb that has been used in medicine since ancient times. Local nutrition is one of the most typical examples of the famous Cretan diet which is considered one of the healthiest in the world and has also attracted the interest of scientists.

The high gastronomic potential of the area is also expressed in the numerous festivals that are organized every year. In fact, many of them get their name from one of the products of the area (Almond Festival, Honey Festival, Myzithropita (traditional cheese pie) Festival and many more). In these festivals, visitors are often dazzled by the passion, the vigour and the cheerfulness of the locals who dance until dawn to the sound of the lyre and the lute.

Agios Nikolaos invites you to a total summer vacation experience in a wonderful area with unique characteristics and numerous attractions.

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