5 Days in Agios Nikolaos, Crete: A Great 5-Day Itinerary of Lasithi!

5 days in Agios Nikolaos Crete

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure in Agios Nikolaos and Lasithi, the easternmost region of Crete? This article will guide you through a meticulous itinerary for 5 days in Agios Nikolaos, ensuring you make the most of your time in this enchanting part of Crete.

So get ready to explore Lasithi’s gems and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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5 Days In Agios Nikolaos: Top Things to Do

5 Days In Agios Nikolaos

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In just five days, you can immerse yourself in Lasithi’s rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and hidden gems.

Departing from Agios, discover ancient ruins, traditional villages, pristine beaches, and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Lasithi Day 1: Arrival and Exploring Agios Nikolaos

Crete- Lasithi - Agios Nikolaos Voulismeni Lake
Agios Nikolaos.

You will probably arrive at Heraklion, the main gate to Crete. From here, it’s easy to get from Heraklion to Agios Nikolaos, the capital of the Lasithi region. You can rent a car and drive there, or trust a transfer service like this one.

Once in the region, explore Lasithi in the charming coastal town of Agios Nikolaos, nestled around the picturesque Lake Voulismeni. Agios is also the region’s capital and the fourth most important city on the island’s northern coast.

Start your day by strolling along the scenic promenade surrounding the tranquil lake. Admire the crystal-clear waters, reflecting the colorful fishing boats and the surrounding architecture.

Then, stop by the open-air cafes and enjoy a cup of traditional Greek coffee while immersing yourself in the peaceful atmosphere.

Lake, sea, Crete
Lake Voulismeni.

Next, visit the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos and discover the region’s rich history through a collection of artifacts, from Minoan pottery to intricate jewelry and ancient sculptures, that showcase the ancient civilizations that once thrived in Lasithi. (Check opening times here).

After exploring the museum, wander through the town’s narrow streets, lined with shops offering handmade crafts, souvenirs, and local delicacies.

Also, venture to the vibrant local markets where you can find fresh produce, aromatic herbs, and traditional Cretan products.

LOCALS KNOW: The farmers’ market only takes place on Wednesday.
The public market of Agios Nikolaos now takes place in a specially designed area near the Intercity Bus Station (KTEL).

In the evening, treat yourself to a traditional Cretan meal at one of the tavernas overlooking the sea or the lake (there are plenty of them!). Indulge in mouthwatering dishes like saganaki, dolmades, or freshly caught seafood dishes, accompanied by a glass of local wine.

Lasithi Day 2: Small Villages and Natural Wonders

Plaka, Crete
Plaka.

On the second day, venture to the charming village of Plaka and the captivating island of Spinalonga.

Begin your day driving the short distance between Agios and Plaka. This is a traditional fishing village known for its picturesque beauty. Once there, walk through the narrow streets, admiring the traditional stone houses adorned with colorful flowers.

Stroll along the charming waterfront and immerse in the peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking views of Mirabello Bay.

Boat, sea
Boat to Spinalonga.

From Plaka, embark on a short boat ride to the captivating island of Spinalonga. This small island has a fascinating history as it once became a leper colony.

As you step ashore, explore the remnants of the Venetian fortress standing as a reminder of its past. Wander through the streets, where abandoned houses and buildings still whisper tales of resilience and survival.

Old buildings, Crete island, Spinalonga
Spinalonga Island.

Delve deeper into the history of Spinalonga with a visit to its small but super informative museum.

Discover the stories of the individuals who called this place home and gain insights into the compassion and strength that prevailed within these walls.

You can also visit Spinalonga by joining an organized excursion: This is the most affordable Spinalonga Regular Trip, with daily departures from Agios Nikolaos at 12:30.

In the early afternoon, sail back to Plaka and drive to the small town of Elounda, which is just a short distance away.

Elounda town and port, part of the 7 days in Crete trip
Port of Elounda.

Over here, you can have a delectable seafood lunch at one of the quaint tavernas, indulging in fresh catches of the day.

In the afternoon, you can pick between a short visit to the sunken Minoan ruins of Olous, a few minutes from the center of Elounda, or head to the ancient ruins of Lato, an archaeological site featuring the ruins of houses, temples, and fortifications dating back to Dorian times.

Lasithi Day 3: Discovering the Traditional Side of Lasithi

Lasithi region in Crete_ Best day trips to discover this unique, untouched area in Crete island.
Windmills in the Lasithi Plateau.

On day 3, it’s a good idea to jump in a car to drive the impressive circuit of the Lasithi Plateau, one of Crete’s most impressive landscapes, where you can discover traditional villages, tiny mountain churches, dozens of windmills, and other ancient wonders. 

Psychro cave formations
Formations inside the Cave of Zeus.

Along the way, you can venture into the mystical depths of the Dikteon Cave, the legendary birthplace of Zeus, the king of the gods.

During the visit, you will be stunned by the chambers and passages adorned with awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites and uncover the mythical stories associated with this sacred site. 

Tzermiado village, Lasithi Plateau. A traditional kafenion
A traditional corner in Tzermiado.

The drive around the plateau can take a whole day, especially if you stop at the different villages (there are about 18!). I suggest having lunch in Tzermiado, one of the most picturesque settlements in the area.

This complete guide to the Lasithi Plateau has helpful resources to plan a day trip. If you prefer to visit the Plateau relying on an organized tour that takes care of transport, I suggest this full-day trip to the Lasithi Plateau.

Lasithi Day 4: Coastal Adventure and Beach Relaxation

5 days in agios nikolaos
Coastal landscape on the way from Agios to Kavousi.

The fourth day of your Lasithi adventure takes you along the eastern coastline, unveiling the hidden gems of Kavousi, Sitia, Toplou Monastery, and Vai Beach.

Start your day in Kavousi, a traditional settlement famous for endless olive groves. Over here, you will also find the island’s oldest olive tree.

Ancient olive tree
Monumental olive tree, Kavousi.

The village stands 140 meters above the sea, in the northern foothills of the Thripti mountain range, and from here, you can enjoy the views of both Mirabello Bay and the Isthmus of Ierapetra.

If you prefer to start the day with a swim, head to the nearby Tholos Beach, with pristine turquoise waters and quite off the beaten paths, so crowds won’t be a problem.

Next, continue your journey to Sitia, a coastal town steeped in history and natural beauty. Explore its enchanting streets, lined with Venetian houses and quaint cafes.

sitia - crete - things to do in sitia
Sitia.

Visit the Venetian Fortress known as Kazarma and the Archaeological Museum of Sitia. This is the best place to delve into the region’s rich past, admiring an array of artifacts that unearth the stories of ancient civilizations.

Just a short distance away from Sitia, the magnificent Toplou Monastery is an unmissable landmark in eastern Crete, a unique treasure in the Lasithi region.

5 days in agios nikolaos
Toplou Monastery.

The monastery, with its imposing fortified architecture, is one of the most spectacular religious buildings on the island.

To truly grasp its magnificence and historical importance, visit the monastery’s museum to admire a collection of religious icons and precious manuscripts. The museum also exhibits war objects used during the different battles that the island fought to obtain its freedom.

Where to stay in Crete for Beaches - vai beach
Vai Beach.

End your day at Vai Beach, a tropical paradise surrounded by Europe’s largest palm tree forest. Relax on the pristine sandy shores, immerse in the tranquility, and admire the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.

Lasithi Day 5: Souvenir Shopping and Departure 

5 days in agios nikolaos
Ceramic souvenirs.

On your final day in Lasithi, take the time to indulge in some souvenir shopping.

Explore the charming streets of Agios Nikolaos. Walk along the main pedestrian road, where you’ll find local shops and boutiques.

Browse through unique handmade crafts, traditional pottery, intricate jewelry, and items produced locally produced, such as honey, olive oil, and herbs. 

5 days in agios nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos.

After satisfying your shopping desires, savor a leisurely lunch at a lakeside taverna or restaurant (my favorite will always be Karnagio!), savoring the delicious local cuisine one last time. Indulge in Cretan specialties like dakos, fava, or moussaka, accompanied by local wine.

5 days in agios nikolaos
Restaurant by the lake.

And when the time to bid farewell comes, reflect on the incredible experiences and cherished memories you’ve created during this 5-day adventure.

Take a moment to savor the region’s beauty one last time, and let the captivating landscapes and the essence of the Cretan way of life inspire you to venture around Crete and Greece even more. 

Tips for Traveling to Agios Nikolaos, Lasithi

Bull wall painting, Ctete
Stairs in Agios Nikolaos.

Here are some helpful tips to enjoy an incredible journey through Lasithi’s captivating gems. 

Plan ahead

Research and create a well-structured itinerary. Look for accommodations suited to your taste and preferred transportation mode. Finally, set a budget according to your desires.

Rent a car

Having a car allows for flexibility to explore Lasithi at your own pace. Furthermore, many attractions are spread out, so having a car will make it easier for you to reach remote villages, archaeological sites, and pristine beaches. Renting a car in Crete is a great way to plan a schedule that adapts to your pace of travel and allows you to discover more. In this post, I discuss why driving in Crete is an essential ingredient for your holidays!

Embrace the local culture

Engage with the friendly locals, try traditional Cretan cuisine, and learn at least a few basic Greek phrases

Pack essentials

Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes, sun protection, beachwear, and a reusable water bottle. This packing guide for Crete will be your best bet when wondering what to pack for Crete. 

Respect the environment and heritage sites

As you explore Lasithi’s natural wonders and historical sites, be mindful of the environment and follow any rules or regulations to protect these treasures for future generations.

Leave room for spontaneity

While planning is important, allow yourself some flexibility to discover unexpected experiences or hidden gems that may not be in the guidebooks. Sometimes, the best adventures happen serendipitously!

Getting Around Lasithi

Road in Crete
Road in Crete.

Exploring the gems of Lasithi is made convenient by various transportation options. However, they tend to be limited to bigger towns and inhabited centers.

Renting a car is highly recommended as it gives you the freedom to navigate the region at your own pace, especially if you’re planning to visit remote villages, archaeological sites, and picturesque beaches. 

Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking service.

Taxis are widely available and can be a convenient option for shorter distances or when you prefer not to drive. Also, public transportation, including buses, operates within the region and connects major towns and attractions. 

Additionally, organized tours and excursions can be a hassle-free way to explore Lasithi’s highlights while enjoying the expertise of local guides. 

These are some of the tours I recommend in the area of Lasithi (most of them departing from Agios Nikolaos):

Where to Stay in Lasithi

HOTEL GUIDE - AGIOS NIKOLAOS CRETE
Agios Nikolaos at sunset

Lasithi offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences. If you decide to stay in Agios Nikolaos, you will find all kinds of places to stay, from hotels to Airbnbs and amazing villas.

For those seeking a luxurious and indulgent experience, there are upscale resorts and boutique hotels along the coastline, offering stunning views and first-class amenities. Elounda is a top-class seaside resort in the area.

Charming guesthouses and cozy family-run hotels can be found in the traditional villages, providing an authentic and intimate stay. 

If you prefer a lively atmosphere, stay in the bustling towns of Agios Nikolaos or Sitia, where you’ll find various accommodation options, from budget-friendly hotels to stylish apartments. These are some of the places I suggest checking out when looking for accommodation in Lasithi:

Five Days in Agios Nikolaos: Final Thoughts

Ammos beach Agios Nikolaos
Ammos Beach is near Agios Nikolaos’ Marina.

Immersing yourself in the Lasithi’s beauty, tranquility, and authenticity while connecting with the warm-hearted locals adds an extra layer of charm to your adventure. Whether you’re interested in archaeological sites, quaint villages, or serene beaches, Lasithi has a bit of everything for everyone!

So, all you have to do is enjoy the beauty, history, and culture!

Are you wondering when to visit Lasithi? It’s a good idea to visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or autumn to avoid large crowds and scorching temperatures. 
Are you ready to explore this unique part of Crete?

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

  • You can join my Facebook Group, Things to Do in Crete, a friendly gathering of Crete enthusiasts.
  • My personalized consultation calls assisted countless travelers in crafting the perfect Crete experience. Please email me your anticipated travel dates to turn your Crete dreams into reality!

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, getting travel insurance is like having a safety net for your adventures. Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

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More resources to enhance your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Remember to explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Lasithi or Heraklion, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Lasithi

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these places to stay:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Find convenient ferry tickets with Ferryhopper.
  • Welcome Pickups offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service, while Discover Cars is the engine I use to find a rental car on the island.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.

Pin this Guide to Enjoy the Best 5 Days in Agios Nikolaos During Your Time in Crete!

5 Days in Agios Nikolaos

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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