How to make the best of your afternoon in this marvelous port city.
Far from the history and grandeur of Athens lies Greece’s largest and most southern island: Crete. It’s a spectacular place, from the capital of Heraklion to the remote southern town of Plakias. Seabourn guests will be treated to the splendor and eastern shores of Agios Nikolaos, a charming small town with traditional Greek food and, yes, some ruins. Here’s what to do.
A 15-minute ride from port, this small church—which dates back to the 12th or 13th century, the history is not fully known, though the first written record is from 1415—is well worth an afternoon jaunt. Outside the church you’ll find beautiful views of the valley below. Inside you’ll find ancient paintings dedicated to the Virgin Mary and pictures of Judgment Day. The structure and the grounds are amazing, but the preservation of wall paintings dating back to the Byzantine Era are worth the trip alone.
It’s not a trip to the Greek Islands without a beach day. And a stone’s throw from port is Ammos Beach, where guests are treated to the crystalline waters of the Mediterranean and views of the city’s marina. Don’t overthink it here: dig your toes into the sand, take a dip, and relax.
Go to any Greek restaurant around the world and you can start (and finish) a meal with a bracing shot of ouzo. Not on Crete. The Cretans serve their own beloved liquor with, well, pretty much every meal: Raki. When a server offers it to you, think of it as an olive branch—a symbol of hospitality and friendship. Made with the residue of wine press (seriously), Raki is clear, sharp, and will make you feel alive. Embrace it. And you can find it right in the heart of Agios Nikolaos at the beloved tavern Karnagio. The best part about Karnagio? You can enjoy the traditional Raki alongside locally sourced dishes like fresh-caught seafood, crisp salads, and expertly grilled meats.
Right in the heart of Agios Nikolaos is Lake Voulismeni, a small lake connected to the Mediterranean by an inlet. Locals simply call it the lake, but it’s a marvel for guests and a great way to spend an afternoon. Circle the lake and sample local delicacies (dare we say feta?) at old school tavernas or sidle up at a white tablecloth spot for a nice dry red wine and fresh salad.
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We get it: you just got off a beautiful ship. But the marina of Agios Nikolaos is a local treasure. On the southern end of town with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, the Agios Nikolaos Marina is worthy of an afternoon stroll. From sailboats and expertly restored wooden boats to yachts—you never know, you might spot a celebrity on vacation—you won’t be disappointed.
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