Elounda is located 10 km north of Agios Nikolaos, near the northwest side of the Bay of Mirabello. It is famous for its expensive and luxurious hotels that host celebrities from all over the world. Apart from its glamorous character, Elounda has to offer visitors some of the most beautiful landscapes in Crete. These landscapes are highly dominated by the majestic small beaches of Elounda.The most popular beach of the area is located east of Elounda, in the Skisma area.
The beach is adjacent to the harbor and is very well organized by the local municipality. Here you can swim next to small hotels and taverns of Elounda. The beach is sandy and the water is always calm due to the tranquil lagoon of Korfos. Apart from the classic provisions (umbrellas, showers, etc.), there are facilities for beach volley, a playground and water sports.
Kolokytha is a small island just opposite the Peninsula of Spinalonga, 12km north of Agios Nikolaos and close to Elounda. Opposite the island, there is the fantastic beach of Agios Loukas, mostly known as Kolokytha. To access the beach you should first follow a scenic route: From the town of Elounda, follow the road leading to the east, along the shore. You will pass the old salt pans of Elounda on your right hand. The road at this point runs along a narrow strip of land and heads to the Peninsula of Spinalonga (some call the Spinalonga Peninsula falsely Kolokytha). On the route, you will meet the small canal built by the French army in 1897 to connect the lagoon of Elounda to Mirabello Bay. There are a few windmills around, a picturesque bridge, and boats in the canal, creating a unique landscape. Then the road turns to a dirt track and after 200-300m you have to turn right. Drive on this track and cross the peninsula of Spinalonga vertically, having stunning views of its rocky shores and abandoned farms.
After 3-4 minutes, the road leads to the church of Saint Luke, where you should park. From there you can see the small island of Kolokytha, where thousands of gulls nest. Also, you can discern in the north, the Byzantine chapel of Saint Fokas, which was built in honor of the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus Phocas for liberating Crete from the Arabs in 961 AD.
The road from Elounda continues following the coastline to the north to the small village at the end of the peninsula, called Plaka. Plaka has good quality fish restaurants near the sea and small hotels and tavernas. It is situated in the beautiful Bay of Mirabello.
The distance to Elounda is about 5 kilometers and it has a connection to this village by bus (not very frequent though, about 2 or 3 times a day). The distance to the town of Agios Nikolaos is about twelve kilometers.
Over the last years Plaka has become more of a tourist spot and the number of restaurants and souvenir shops has increased quite dramatically after a new large hotel complex was built on the hill south of the original village.The beaches in Plaka are small and with big pebbles, but relatively uncrowded and for some they will be much more pleasant than those at Elounda. It is not too difficult to get into the sea.
The beach on the east side is called Agia Marina and it is named after a nearby Byzantine church and cemetery. Next to the cemetery there is a small path leading to the beach. On the west side of the village you find Plaka beach, where tamarisk trees give you some shade.
Ammoudi beach is in the 4th place out of 477 beaches in the Region of Crete region 9 km away from its center, the city of Kastelli. It is one of the beaches of Agios Nikolaos settlement, just 0.9 km from its center. The beach is located in an urban area.
It is a tiny several bay's coastline with crystal turquoise water and pure golden fine sand, so you don't need special shoes.
The entrance to the water is very smooth. This beach is suitable for different categories of people, lonely travelers, relaxation getaway lovers, families with children, seniors etc. It is partially crowded during the high season.
Ammoudi beach is fully occupied by beach clubs with restricted entrance.
The beach facilities are only available to visitors of the resort area. Their list includes, loungers and umbrellas, beach restaurant, changing rooms, showers, toilets. It is also possible to take different water activities such as catamarans or jet skis.
During the season this beach line is supervised by a lifeguard.In addition to swimming and sunbathing, you can also take part in other activities, sup-surfing, sea kayaking.
Almiros Beach is located 2.5km south of Agios Nikolaos and is the most popular beach in the city. It is shaped near the exit of the Almiros River, which empties on the south part of the beach. Next to the beach, the protected wetland of Almiros hosts several rare birds, towering eucalyptus trees, reeds, and some palm trees.
The beach is quite long and very well-organized. It is sandy and the water is shallow and usually calm, making it ideal especially for young children. The area has a few canteens, and there are also many options for water sports. The sea water is very cold in some places due to the river that flows all year round. On the south side of the beach, there are small hotels and apartments.To reach the beach from Agios Nikolaos city center, if you do not have a car, you should walk the pedestrian street (5 ') which runs along the rocky coasts north of the beach. The pathway starts from Gargadoros Beach, which is located 5 minutes south of the town's marina.
Kitroplatia is located 200m west of the picturesque Lake Voulismeni, in the heart of the city Agios Nikolaos. There is a small stone – paved square which hosts some of the finest taverns in the city. In front of the big tamarisk trees of the square there is a small beach with sand and pebbles in places. Here you will find umbrellas and showers. Next to it there are many options for accommodation, food and drink. It is a perfect choice for children and anyone looking for a beautiful and clean beach, close to all amenities of a city.
From Kitroplatia starts a coastal stone-paved walkway leading south to the marina of Agios Nikolaos, where you’ll meet the beach Ammos. It is worth walking along this and admiring the endless views of the bay of Mirabello. Similarly, on the opposite side of Kitroplatia, the street of Akti Pangalou runs along the coast, on a circular route, and leads to the commercial port of Agios Nikolaos and to Lake Voulismeni.
At the westernmost point on the road, in a small square, you’ll see the modern sculpture of brothers Soteriades depicting the Horn of Amalthea (the goat who nourished the infant Zeus), a global symbol of abundance. Moreover, next to the port there is the tiny tranquil pebbly beach of Akti Themistocles Street. The beach is called Europa, after the modern statue depicting the Rape of Europa.
Istro is located 12 km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, very close to the village of Kalo Chorio. It is a quiet settlement, situated in a lush valley full of olive groves and springs, which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays.
The most popular bay of Istron is located 500m east of the village. Here is one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, which is featured in many card postals about Crete. Voulisma or Golden Beach is a beautiful beach with white sand and amazing turquoise waters. The beach is very well organized, although we would like to see it secluded. The only drawback is that some days the streams move rubbish here. Then you can move to the smaller beach in the west part of the bay, which is very well protected from winds and less organized.
500m north of the legendary Mirabello Ηotel in Agios Nikolaos you will find the tranquil beach of Havania, where a well organized municipal beach operates. There are many options for accommodation and food. On the beach you will find a lifeguard and water sports.
According to reports, during the years of Ottoman rule there was a small port and its remnants are still visible in the sea. According to another tradition, in Havania came the Saracens (pirates) and laid their gold out on the beach. Anyone who dared to sleep closeby and looked at it was doomed to die! The area was filled with mines during the German occupation and was abandoned for several years, before getting cleaned up. In the same area according to other reports, there was a cave with stalactites but has now disappeared. Moreover, some large stones on the left part of the beach come from an old fortress that has been demolished. The area in the past hosted Havania, i.e. the place where locals used to wash linum (flax).
Vlychadia is located 31 km north of Agios Nikolaos, on the north shores of the area of Mirabello. It is a small seaside settlement with a small fish tavern, which you can get after driving from Neapolis, through the villages Skinias and Agios Georgios. Around the settlement there are several small bays with secluded beaches, which are mainly rocky and pebbly. The beach in front of the village, known as Vlychadia, is quite rough and rocky, ideal for spearfishing. Especially when it is wavy, swimming could be dangerous.
The next beach you will find to the west end of the road is maybe the nicest beach in north Mirabello. The beach is called Avlaki and is formed at the exit of the gorge Skinias or Mavrogiannis. It has white pebbles and crystal waters. Especially when the sea is calm (quite rare) swimming in Avlaki can be a tremendous experience.
Ammoudara is located 6 km southeast of Agios Nikolaos, on the old road connecting Agios Nikolaos to Sitia and Ierapetra. The area is well developed and you can find several hotels and rooms to let taverns and restaurants. In front of the tourist settlement, there is a nice sandy beach with light blue watercolor. The sea surface is mainly flat because the beach has an easterly orientation. while winds in Crete blow mainly from the west. The beach is organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, and water sports.
Ammoudara is a nice place for family holidays, but the beach is quite small and seems too crowded. If you want to find a less crowded place, you can head west to the long beach of Almiros, where you can find less busy places.
Agios Panteleimon Beach
Istro(n) is located 12 km east of Agios Nikolaos and 22km north of Ierapetra, in the territory ofKalo Chorio. It is a quiet village, situated in a lush valley full with olive groves and springs, which has been developed during the last decades. However, the development was fortunately mild, mainly due to the regional building restrictions because of the archaeological discoveries. The main growth driver of Istron is undoubtedly the emerald beaches which are scattered in three adjacent bays.
The first beach on the west, 1 km west of the village, is the most quiet beach of the area called Karavostasi. It's a great beach with sand, not organized. It is formed in the western part of the largest gulf of Istro and is ideal for relaxing moments. All around there are many tamarisk, carob and olive trees. In the same bay, east of Karavostasi you’ll see a big rock, on which there are the ruins of the Minoan settlement Priniatikos Pirgos.
Gargadoros is located 1 km south of Agios Nikolaos lake and is actually a beautiful suburb of the city. In the region there are two nearby beaches, which are very popular to the locals who enjoy the sea, the restaurants and bars located nearby.
The first beach you come across, next to the tavern Gargadoros is the main beach of the area. It is pebbly and well organized, a really good choice for those staying in Agios Nikolaos and wanting to escape from the ordinary things. From the main beach, if you walk till the small pier on the north, you will find the second beach from the other side (of the pier). You can access the beach only through a wooden ladder. This secret beach is sandy and ideal for relaxing moments.