Fantastic Day Trips From Agios Nikolaos: Best Activities in Lasithi, Crete

Lasithi Mills - day trips in Lasithi Crete

Lasithi is the easternmost Crete region, unfortunately often overlooked. The capital of the region, Agios Nikolaos, is a great seaside resort for a vacation in Crete if you’re looking for a relaxing time, far from the buzz that bigger towns often entail.

People who decide to discover Lasithi, often book a place to stay in Agios Nikolaos, but there’s a lot to see also out of town. This post features the most convenient and reasonably priced day trips from Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Take a look!

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Holidays in Agios Nikolaos, Crete
Tours and Day Trips You Shouldn’t Miss

day trips from agios nikolaos

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Tranquil, and often quite off the beaten track, you can do hundreds of things in the Lasithi (also written Lassithi) area.

The region, in certain aspects, still unspoiled and lonely, gives visitors hundreds of opportunities to approach the local culture differently, maybe more authentic and genuine.

Old windmills made of Stone, Crete.
Stone windmills, Kera village, Lasithi Plateau.

If your goal is to discover the area surrounding Agios Nikolaos, either on your own or by booking a guided tour, this is the guide you were looking for!

If you’re one of those who has decided to explore the island by car, then you’ve followed my advice, congrats!

Enjoy the adventure, read these tips about driving in Crete, and then come back here for more ideas.

>> 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 engine.

Instead, if you prefer to have a professional company take care of your guided visits, day trips, and excursions from Agios Nikolaos, check the tour alternatives at the end of each day trip idea… and don’t forget to have fun!

REMEMBER: Visiting Lasithi has its advantages: Being the less-visited region in Crete, the area is perfect for car travel having quite a few routes that are not trafficked at all, even in the peak summer months!

Best Agios Nikolaos Tours and Day Trips in Lasithi

In no particular order, these are some of the most entertaining day trips you can take in Crete when staying in the Lasithi region.

Katharo Plateau Tour from Agios Nikolaos

day trips from agios nikolaos
(Katharo Plateau – via FelisSilvestrisCretensis – Greek Wikipedia – Own work)

Quite off the beaten path, and certainly less popular than the Lasithi Plateau, the Katharo Plateau offers some of the most impressive landscapes in East Crete for you to discover.

To reach Katharo Plateau, you will start your trip by reaching the small mountain village of Kritsa (among the most fantastic traditional villages in Crete).

Traveling from Agios Nikolaos to Kritsa will take around 20 minutes, and on the way, it’s a good idea to stop at the Byzantine Church of Panagia Kera.

Keep driving to Kritsa, and after you’ve dedicated some time to exploring this picturesque, tiny village, get back on the road (Epar. Od. Kritsas-Katharou) and drive for about 16 km more until you reach Katharo.

Once you’ve reached the village of Katharo, you can hike on the plateau and reach the small church of Timios Stavros.

Then follow the route to explore Havgas Gorge where you can marvel at the springs, or discover what locals call the pool of the Fairy (Νεραιδακολυμπος) or also the Ball.

day trips from agios nikolaos

Neraidokolympos is a large swimming area where a large round block (which has fallen to the bottom of the gorge) diverts the water’s flow.

From that point on, the canyon becomes inaccessible, so only experienced climbers should venture further on the route.

This is a perfect day trip in Lassithi that you won’t regret taking!

You can take a very similar day trip by booking this top-rated adventure:

Katharo Route Tour from Agios Nikolaos

  • One of the best day trips in Lasithi, this is a full-day excursion exploring the island’s unpopulated mountains and small villages.
  • You will be off-road by 4×4 as you traverse the rugged mountain terrain, stopping to visit a shepherd’s refuge (known as mitato), tasting local cheese, and exploring the agrarian ways of life in Lassithi Plateau.
  • It includes a fantastic lunch too!
    Click here to check prices and reviews.

Looking for Safari adventures in Crete? Check out these!

Richtis Gorge and Waterfall

day trips from agios nikolaos

Jump on your car and leave Agios behind to reach the beautiful Richtis gorge and its waterfall, this can be a highlight during your holidays in Agios Nikolaos!

Some define this as one of the prettiest hikes on the island, and although I would not go this far when describing it, the adventure is worth it.

Richtis Gorge is located on the northern coast, between the cities of Agios Nikolaos and Sitia.

The hiking trail begins outside Exo Mouliana (another village worth a visit) to end on the small Richtis beach.

The route is quite short (about 3 km), it will take about 3 hours to hike and there’s abundant water all year long, and finding the gorgeous Richtis waterfall is the top reward of this adventure!

Looking for an extra something to add to this day? Check this luxury Richtis experience:

Richtis Waterfall, Minoan History, Oldest Tree, North Coast (Luxury Adventure)

  • This is a full-day tour on a Land Rover that you will not want to miss! This excursion takes you to discover some of the island’s most beautiful and hidden places.
  • Those who are short on time and eager to get away from the crowds will appreciate this budget-friendly, all-inclusive outing that visits waterfalls, herb farms, and ancient olive groves.
  • It also includes lunch at a local tavern, a nature hike, and swimming in a cool spring. 
    Click here to check prices and read reviews of this tour from Agios Nikolaos.

You might also want to read: Most Stunning Beaches in East Crete: Complete Insider’s Guide.

Lasithi Plateau and Zeus Cave

lasithi windmill - crete - day trips in lasithi and from agios nikolaos

Arguably the best Agios Nikolaos tour that you can plan on your own is a trip that explores the Lasithi Plateau.

The area of the Lasithi Plateau, surrounded by the imposing Dikti Mountains, stands over 850 meters a.s.l.

Along the circuit, which can be perfectly covered in one day, there are different traditional villages to visit where you can discover more about the local life and eat amazing traditional food.

One of the best stops when driving around the plateau is in the small Psychro village, where you can have access to the beautiful Psychro or Zeus Cave.

I’ve reviewed the visit to the Zeus Cave here. The whole drive around the plateau is 23 km and it can be started either from Heraklion or from Agios Nikolaos.

Cave of Zeus, Crete.
Cave of Zeus.

From Agios, you will need to travel along the Neapolis-Chersonusou road for about 1 hour and twenty minutes (the road is a bit more than 43 km) until you reach the area of Mesa Lasithi and pass the village of Agios Konstantinos.

Open the map on Google

If you want to join an organized tour for this day trip from Agios Nikolaos, check out this proposal which has earned a Badge of Excellence!

Zeus Cave & Lassithi Plateau Trip from Agios Nikolaos (Safari Adventure Offroad Excursion)

  • This day trip takes you to marvel at the rugged side of Crete on an off-road adventure tour.
  • You’ll get high up into the Dikti mountain range and explore both the Lassithi Plateau and the Zeus Cave.
  • When you’ve worked up an appetite, you will have a delicious Cretan lunch in a local taverna is provided.
    Click here to check out this day trip from Agios Nikolaos.

Sarakina Gorge

Sarakina - Gorges in Crete

This trip takes you to the southern coast of Lasithi to visit Sarakina Gorge. The gorge, not far from the gorgeous southern seaside village of Myrtos and the city of Ierapetra, is only 1.5 km long but features imposing high walls, climbing up to 150 meters while there are narrow passages (from 10 to 3 meters wide).

Most of the gorge is accessible even if you’re not a highly experienced climber, however, some experience and equipment will be needed to pass certain points.

For this reason, we eagerly suggest you join an organized tour led by expert guides to make the most of your day in total safety, being able to enjoy the impressive waterfalls and ponds that form along the trail.

This is the tour I recommend:

Sarakina Gorge, High Mountains, South Coast, and Luxury Adventure

  • Top-rated reviews also for this tour! A guided off-road safari adventure that includes discovering ancient Minoan paths, stopping at spectacular vistas, including a peak where you can see both the Aegean and Libyan Seas.
  • During this Agios Nikolaos day trip, you will also visit the villages of Kritsa and Kroustas, and the beach of Myrtos, other than Sarakina Gorge.
  • Highlights include a full lunch at a scenic lookout as well as hotel pickup and drop-off.
    Click here to check more details and the prices of this tour.

Spinalonga Trip from Agios Nikolaos

Fortified island, Crete

This amazing trip from Agios Nikolaos (or also from the nearby Plaka and Elounda) includes what is probably the best boat trip from Agios Nikolaos, a boat ride to Spinalonga!

You can easily reach the port of Elounda in your car and, from there, board one of the many boats that take you to explore the former leper colony island.

Personally, this is the best day trip you can take in the area and one that you don’t want to skip. You can learn everything about this mysterious island here.

If you have no clue about Spinalonga and would like to learn from a local guide, then check out the following tour:

Spinalonga and Milatos Cave

  • This tour has a little bit of everything!
  • You’ll venture into the mountains of Crete on a 4×4 vehicle, discover valleys and villages, and visit also an olive oil factory.
  • Then, you will depart from Plaka to visit Spinalonga on a speedboat and take a short tour of the former leper colony before heading back to Crete.
    Click here to check out this Spinalonga tour.

More Day Trips in Lasithi & Excursions and Tours from Agios Nikolaos

day trips from agios nikolaos

These are some less usual day trips you can take from Agios and that we recommend checking before planning your Lasithi adventure:

Agios Nikolaos Walking Tour with Cretan Food Tastings

  • Overview: This tour is great if you want to learn about places in the area, come closer to the local community, have a meal of Cretan food, and meet the locals!
  • You will walk the coastline of Agios Nikolaos to learn about Greek myths and discover the beaches in town. You will enjoy a meal with 4 different mezedes (or Greek tapas) with drinks included.
  • Highlights: Tasting local food in a famous lake-side restaurant in Agios.
    Click here to check prices and reviews.

You might also want to read: More than 35 Fun & Interesting Facts about Crete that will Surprise You!

The Stone Roads

Private Full-Day Knossos, Lasithi Plateau, Cave of Zeus from Elounda

  • Overview: Another fabulous full-day trip that will show you a lot of Crete in a short time. Perfect for those traveling to Crete for a short time!
  • Although this tour can be a bit on the expensive side, you will certainly save money on-road travel and entrance tickets.
  • Highlights: You will discover the traditional villages of Mochos and Krasi, discover the Diktaion Andron (Zeus Cave) and the Lasithi Plateau, and visit the Knossos Palace.
  • You will also have the option to check the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
    Click here to read more about this tour.

As you can see, there are many good and interesting opportunities to discover Lasithi with a tour from Agios Nikolaos.

The area of Lasithi is full of hidden surprises and checking them, either on your own or with a private tour, will give you a great opportunity to learn a lot more about Crete.

More Things to Do in Lasithi

  • Do you agree that a visit to Spinalonga is among the best things to do in Agios Nikolaos? Then, this complete guide to Spinalonga will show you the way.
  • With enough time to explore East Crete, why not dedicate a day to the Lasithi Plateau? Once there, don’t forget to stop for a visit to Zeus Cave, in the village of Psychro.
  • Dedicate a day to discovering the beaches of the East. Enjoy Voulisma, Istron, and Mochlos.

Read more about Lasithi

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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.
  • To book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I recommend Get Your Guide.

Pin it Now! Best Day Trips from Agios Nikolaos, Crete!

Top trips you can take from Agios Nikolaos to discover the magnificent Lasithi region in Crete.


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 island. 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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