Agios Nikolaos is the capital of Lassithi prefecture, located 43 miles east of Heraklion. It does not have its own airport, but can be reached in about one hour by taxi or one hour and 30 minutes by bus from the Heraklion airport. During high season, Olympic Airways offers a few weekly flights to Sitia, the town to the east of Ayios Nikolaos, but the drive from Sitia to Ayios Nikolaos is also one hour and 30 minutes, so you're better off flying into Heraklion.How do I get from the port to my hotel?
During the summer season, several ships a week connect Agios Nikolaos and Athens-Piraeus (about 11 hours). Schedules and ship lines vary from year to year so you may not be able to make specific plans more than a month in advance. The town is so small that you can walk to all points, although taxis are available.When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?
Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.
Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.How do I get around the city using public transportation?
There are several options for getting around Crete, including public buses, taxis, rental cars and mopeds. During high season, bus service connects Agios Nikolaos to Heraklion almost every 30 minutes each way and almost as many buses go to and from Sitia. The KTEL bus line (tel. 28410/22-234) has its terminal in the Lagos neighborhood behind the city hospital, which is up past the Archaeological Museum.Where can I rent a motorcycle in Agios Nikolaos?
One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the quality of paved roads is not always good as road surfaces are affected by a number of factors including floods and rock falls in winter and extreme heat in summer. Pot holes and loose gravel surfaces are very common as a result. This makes some roads particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. It's a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply one. Also, be sure to get full insurance and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.
Warning: Beware of the heat (sunstroke) and take plenty of water with you!How do I call/hail a taxi?
Agios Nikolaos is so small that you can walk to all points, although taxis are available. Taxis are quite cheap in Greece, so they can be considered a very convenient way of moving around in Crete. Taxi fare structures are the same all over Greece and they are regulated by the Greek State. In cities and larger towns, drivers MUST use the meter. Taxi drivers in Crete are slightly better than some parts of the world, however it is recommended that you protect yourself from overcharging by knowing the going rate for the trip you want and agreeing on the fare before you take off.Should I rent a car on Crete?
The best way to get around Crete is by car as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. Driving in Greece, and driving in Crete, in particular, might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The island is 162 by 38 miles, so it is a large island. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel. You can rent a car in any major city as well as at the Heraklion International Airport and the Chania International Airport.
Please Note: Parking is a problem in the center of Agios Nikolaos; however there is a small private parking lot at the corner of Kyprou and Koziri, just off the square at the top of Koundourou, the main street leading up from the harbor. If you park in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back!
Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Several ATMs and currency exchange machines can be found along the streets leading away from the harbor. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.I don't speak Greek. Will many people speak English?
English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?
Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Crete has its own culinary specilaties and eating customs. Learn all about food in Crete so you know what to eat and what to drink when dining out; and don't be afraid to sample the best each area has to offer.
A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?
Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.What are the best beaches in Lassithi?
Crete is the largest island of Greece and its 650 miles of coastline provide hundreds of beautiful beaches that are famous for their crystal blue waters and relaxing atmosphere. Crete is very popular in the summer due to its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and the traditional lifestyle of the locals. No matter which region of the island you are visiting, you will certainly find the best beach for your holiday - small or large, organized or secluded - all of Crete's beaches have something special to offer and are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Please visit our dedicated page on Lassithi's beaches for more information.
Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.What are the most popular clubs in Agios Nikolaos? Where are they located?
Crete offers a little bit of something for everyone in terms of its nightlife. During the day, Agios Nikolaos buzzes with people. At night, it buzzes with music as the center down by the water becomes one communal nightclub. Also, there is an arts festival from late July until early September with traditional Cretan dance troupes and musicians. The locals sometimes throw parties for visiting foreigners who favor a night out at the festival over the clubland cacophony of nearby Malia.What else is there to do in Lassithi?
There is more to Lassithi than its nightlife and beaches! Because of Crete's rich history, there are many archaeological sites waiting to be explored! Furthermore, its traditional villages and interesting attractions offer plenty to keep you busy! You will also find a wide variety of other activities like walking trails, winery tours, scuba diving, boat tours and ferry excursions. The Municipal Information Office in Agios Nikolaos (tel. 28410/22-357) is one of the most helpful in all of Greece. In addition to providing maps and brochures, it can help arrange accommodations and excursions.What are the best areas for shopping?
There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Crete! The best shopping experiences are found in the island's lively markets where you can haggle for Greek specialties as well as local handicrafts. In Agios Nikolaos, check out the beautiful and authentic vases created by Nikolaos Gabriel in his shop, Ceramica, 28 Paleologou (tel. 28410/24-075). And nothing is more Greek than an icon so stop by and watch artists Georgia and Ioannis Petrakis keep this tradition alive in Elounda at their studio/store Petrakis Workshop for Icons, 22 A. Papendreou. The store also carries local artisans' jewelry, blown glass and ceramics.