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12 Amazing Agios Nikolaos Beaches To Visit in Crete

Welcome to our guide to the best Agios Nikolaos beaches to visit in Crete.

Agios Nikolaos is the fourth largest city in Crete. But its location is one of the most spectacular on the island. It’s built on a series of hills overlooking the mountains across Mirabello Bay in the east of the island.

My guide to the best beaches in Agios Nikolaos focuses on the beaches around the city and its immediate vicinity. I describe all of the Agios Nikolaos city beaches, and advise on how to get to each of them. I also suggest more beaches to visit near Agios Nikolaos later in the article.

I hope you find it helpful.

Agios Nikolaos Beaches Greece – Why Visit

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Kitroplatia Beach and Mirabello Bay
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Almiros Beach near Agios Nikolaos
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Gargadoros Beach

Agios Nikolaos has one of the most beautiful settings of any city in Europe. It’s situated on the eastern Crete coast with astonishing sea and mountain views.

The city is a popular base for exploring this beautiful part of Crete, and spending some time on the city’s beaches is one of the best things to do in Agios Nikolaos.

Some of the Agios Nikolaos beaches are brilliant for families, with sand or pebbles and shallow water.

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Havania Beach
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Peaceful Ormos Beach

The likes of Ammos and Kitroplatia beaches make ideal destinations for a short dip in the sea, followed by a meal at one of many tavernas around the city.

It’s worth making a full day of it at some of the beaches around Agios Nikolaos, including nearby Almiros Beach and Voulisma Beach, a short bus ride away.

These are the top beaches to visit in Agios Nikolaos

Almiros Beach

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Almiros is my pick of the Agios Nikolaos beaches
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The chilly river at the southern end of Almiros Beach

I rate Almiros Beach the best beach in Agios Nikolaos. It’s located 2 km south of the city centre, next to the Almiros wetlands and estuary in a stunning location. The views across Mirabello Bay are fantastic too.

We love beaches with a bit of space, that aren’t jam-packed with sunbeds and umbrellas. There are plenty of these, but also ample space for kids to run around here.

The water is fairly shallow so many young kids were paddling with their families when I visited.

There are also a couple of beach bars serving food and (expensive) drinks. They also run the sunbeds and umbrellas along the beach.

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Almiros Beach and the river
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Unusual sandcastles on Almiros Beach

The best photographs of Almiros Beach are from the river end of the beach. From there you see the wooden bridge crossing the river and the expanse of sand beyond. I spoke to a few people who took a dip in the river, and they advised me that the water there is very cold. One of them also said that the water is much warmer towards the other end of the beach.

Out of all the Agios Nikolaos beaches, this is the one that I would count up there with the best beaches in Crete.

Getting there

The bus to Voulisma and Istron stops next to the main beach entrance.

Otherwise you could walk along the coast path from the town. It’s less than ten minutes south along the shoreline from Gargadoros Beach.

There is also access to Almiros Beach from some of the hotels (The Sand Suites, Blu Acqua and Almiros Beach Hotel) via the bridge in my photographs.

Beti Beach

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Beti Beach, one of the smallest Agios Nikolaos beaches

Beti Beach is a tiny cove just north of Almiros Beach. A small sandy beach has formed between the rocks on the shore of this headland.

It’s free, unlike Almiros Beach, and the views of Mirabello Bay are magnificent.

Getting there

You can reach Beti Beach by bus (get off at the Almiros Beach stop and walk) or along the coastal footpath that runs south of the town via Gargadoros Beach.

Gargadoros Beach

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Gargadoros Beach
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Gargadoros beach from To Votsalo cafe

Gargadoros Beach is one of my favourite Agios Nikolaos beaches.  It’s a small pebble beach, about 50 metres long, with wonderful Mirabello Bay views. There is also an excellent café, To Votsalo, just above the beach where you can sit and enjoy the views.

There is also a tiny secret beach just around the rocks to the north of the beach. It’s not signposted, and you can only get down to the pebbly shoreline by a ladder. If you want a quiet spot all to yourself, it’s idyllic.

Getting there – It’s on the road – Anapafseos – from the town centre, just south of the cemetery. It’s walkable from either the town centre or Almiros beach.

EOT Municipal Beach

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Not an alluring name – but what a beautiful spot

This stretch of shoreline doesn’t have the most alluring of names. And it’s more shoreline than beach – there’s a tiny, narrow strip of sand that never seems to dry out!

That said, it’s a beautiful spot. The sunbeds and parasols are on a lawn above the shore – which reminded me of the riverside ‘grass beach’ in Prague! There’s also a bar, playground and mini golf course for the kids.

Getting there – On foot from Anapafseos – the entrance is between the basketball courts and swimming pool.

Ammos Beach

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Ammos Beach just before sunset
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Paddleboarders at Ammos Beach

Ammos Beach is one of the best Agios Nikolaos beaches. It’s a small sandy cove next to the marina and town centre, a triangle of sand that always seems to be popular.

The views are magical, and there are also a couple of great tavernas (including Kyma) very close by.

Getting there

The free Agios Nikolaos city bus (which leaves the bus station every half hour in season) stops a 5-minute walk away.

Kitroplatia Beach

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Kitroplatia – one of the best Agios Nikolaos beaches for families
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A boat passing Kitroplatia Beach on its way up Mirabello Bay

Kitroplatia is also understandably popular. Just a few minutes’ walk from Ammos Beach, it’s a small sand and pebble beach with fantastic views. It also has several fine tavernas close by, and is only a few minutes’ walk from Lake Voulismeni, one of the symbols of the city.

Follow the road along the northern shore of the beach and you soon reach the Horn of Amalthea sculpture. It represents the goat of the same name who fed the baby god Zeus with her milk. According to legend Zeus was born in a cave above the nearby Lassithi Plateau.

Getting there

The useful free Agios Nikolaos city bus stops a 2-minute walk away.

Cosmina Beach (Europa Beach)

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Cosmina or Europa Beach, next to the harbour wall in Agios Nikolaos

Cosmina’s Beach is a tiny pebble and shingle cove no more than 15-20 metres wide.  It’s next to the Agios Nikolaos harbour wall, and there aren’t any of the usual beach facilities (sunbeds, umbrella). So if you plan to stop by here for a few hours, you’ll need to bring your own. Or slap the suncream on heavily.

Getting there

The free city bus passes the beach and stops very close by.

Akti Koundourou Beach

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Akti Koundourou beach and the mountains across Mirabello Bay

This is a small artificial pebble and sand beach below the street of the same name.  It’s a beautiful location, a short walk from Ammoudi Beach.

There are stone jetties at either end, and a small jetty beach run by the Coral Hotel.

Getting there

A short walk down the hill behind the Archaeological Museum.  Or a 5-10 minute walk along the shoreline from Lake Voulismeni.

Ammoudi Beach

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The beach sign at Ammoudi Bay
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Ammoudi Beach – another great Agios Nikolaos beach for families

Ammoudi Beach (also spelt Amoodi) is one of the more ‘organised’ beaches in this part of Agios Nikolaos.

It’s a lovely small sandy bay with pristine clear shallow water, again popular with families.

There is also a beach bar (running the beds and brollies) and some tavernas close by. You can also hire water sports equipment here.

Getting there

The Agios Nikolaos to Elounda and Plaka buses stop very close to the beach.

Ormos Beach

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Ormos Beach
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Ormos Beach harbour

This is one of the quieter Agios Nikolaos beaches, a tranquil sandy cove with gorgeous views out of the harbour and across Mirabello Bay.

When I visited it didn’t seem to be operated by anyone. There are a few parasols and sunbeds, and the beach surface is mainly soft sand. It seems to be a locals’ beach. And there’s a large playground just a few metres from the shore.

There is also a shack on the east side of the harbour from which you can hire boats.  It’s just around the corner from the Byzantine Church of St Nicholas, from which the town of Agios Nikolaos gets its name.

Getting there

The Plaka and Elounda buses stop nearby.

Minos Palace Beach

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Minos Palace Hotel Beach

I’ve included the beach at Minos Palace Hotel as it’s readily accessible. Some hotel beaches nearby are hidden behind high walls, which is unfortunate.

I found the beach here after visiting the Byzantine St Nicholas Church, which is next to the Hotel grounds. Fortunately it was open when I visited, so I was able to see the remains of the ancient frescoes inside.

The small beach is pleasant, with full bar and restaurant facilities available.  It’s on a quiet peninsula, and there are superb views to the mountains on the other side of Mirabello Bay.

Getting there

Again, as per Ormos Beach, the Plaka and Elounda buses stop nearby.

Havania Beach

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Havania Beach
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Havania Beach sign

Havania Beach is the last of the Agios Nikolaos beaches as you head north along the road towards Elounda.

There are more beaches along this stretch of coast, but they are hidden by hotels, and often only open to guests. So an open beach is a welcome sight here.  

It’s a beautiful sand and pebble beach with beach bars and a couple of tavernas very close by. There is also water sports hire – I saw some people jetskiing in the bay when I visited. The water is shallow and beautifully clear. Highly recommended.

Getting there

By car or bus – the stop is only about 50 metres from the main entrance to the beach. Buses to and from Elounda and Plaka stop there.  

Best Beaches Near Agios Nikolaos

Schisma Elounda Beach

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Stunning Schisma Elounda beach

This is by far the most popular of the Elounda beaches. It’s a long stretch of sand just north of the marina in the centre of Elounda.

The setting is breathtaking, with mountains behind and the Kolokitha peninsula and Spinalonga island in front of you and to your left.

Conditions are perfect for kids. The peninsula creates what amount to lagoon conditions, so the water is shallow and calm. A fantastic beach.

Getting there

The Elounda (and Plaka) bus from Agios Nikolaos stops there.

Kolokitha Beach

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Faye and Our Little Man swimming at Kolokitha Beach

Kolokitha Beach – also sometimes spelt Kolokytha – is a stunning cove with crystal-clear waters on the seaward side of the peninsula facing Elounda.

It’s rocky shoreline as much as beach, but I’m not complaining! It’s a regular stop for boat trips from Elounda, which pass (and some stop) at the nearby island of Spinalonga.

We went on a boat cruise from Elounda with several swimming stops. Kolokitha is the most popular of these. Faye and Our Little Man jumped off the boat into the clear turquoise waters and had an amazing time swimming there for half an hour or so.

The Kolokitha boat trips provide food as part of the trip package. Some set up a beach barbecue. You’ll just have to drag yourself away from that beautiful water first.

Getting there

By bus or car to Elounda, then by boat, car or on foot to Kolokitha.  

Ammoudara Beach

Ammoudara beach is around 2 km south of Almiros Beach, so 4-5 km (around 3 miles) south of Agios Nikolaos city centre.

We went past this beach several times on buses to and from nearby Voulisma Beach. It looks an awesome beach – golden sands, shallow turquoise water, shelter from the winds.

There are also several tavernas and bars close to the beach.

Getting there

It’s on the Agios Nikolaos to Istron bus route. Otherwise, it’s also on the main Agios Nikolaos to Sitia road.

Agios Nikolaos Beaches – Final Words

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Istron Beach is the continuation of Voulisma Beach
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The stuinning Lassithi Plateau in the mountains above Agios Nikolaos

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best Agios Nikolaos beaches to visit.

While visiting eastern Crete, we tended to use Agios Nikolaos as a local jumping-off point. It has excellent bus connections to the best places to visit in the area. I also spoke with several other people who used Agios Nikolaos as a base to explore the region on day trips and tours. Check out my guide to the best things to do in Agios Nikolaos for further information.

One of the best beaches near Agios Nikolaos is Voulisma Beach. It’s a perfect sweep of golden sand at the southern end of Mirabello Bay, with glorious clear turquoise waters.  I also recommend Istron Beach, the quieter continuation of the beach a few minutes’ walk to the east along the shoreline.

Many visitors head north from Agios Nikolaos to the luxury resorts of Elounda, and to the boats for Spinalonga Island Crete. This tiny island was initially a Venetian fortress, and was later used as a leper colony until the 1950s. Boats there run from Agios Nikolaos, Elounda and Plaka.

I also recommend heading inland if you have time. Kritsa is one of the most beautiful villages in Crete, full of whitewashed houses covered in bougainvillea flowers. It’s also close to the ancient city of Lato, one of the most impressive ancient sites in Crete.

The area is also close to the amazing Lassithi Plateau which we loved – check out our Unique Crete Tours Review for more on places to see in the eastern Crete hinterland.

For more places to visit along the coastal road towards Heraklion, check out my article on the harbour village of Sissi Crete. This is very close to the famous Malia beaches, the best of which is the outstanding Potamos Beach. And don’t miss the wonderful Lychnostatis Open Air Museum nearby.

Explore more beaches in Crete in our guides below:

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David Angel is a British photographer, writer and historian. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe. He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.  David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.