Known locally as “Ag Nik” – built around a ‘bottomless lake’
With cruises to Aghios Nikolaos, your ship will probably dock right in the harbour, making Ag Nik a very accessible port to visit.
The town of Aghios Nikolaos sits around a lagoon known as the ‘bottomless’ lake. It’s a lively holiday resort with lots of shops, bars and cafes.
It is an easy 5 minute walk to the main area of the town.
Having read the book ‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop, we were keen to visit nearby Spinalonga, the former leper colony on which the book is based.
Originally built as a fortress on a peninsula, the Venetians creating the island to improve the defences of the port. The Ottoman Turks took over in 1715.
Spinalonga was used as a Leper colony from 1903 to 1957, the last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962.
We booked an excursion which took us by coach to Elounda on the mainland and then by private boat on a short but scenic trip to the island.
As we arrived, we spotted a family of passengers from our ship who had clearly made their own way, either by bus or taxi.
Either way, it’s a good idea to arrive at Spinalonga as early as you can. It’s a very popular tourist attraction and gets busier as the day goes by.
It is a fascinating place and the guide we had was extremely knowledgeable.
As the tour continued I was, however, rather envious of our ‘do it yourself’ neighbours as they lingered longer, having the opportunity to take their time and fully explore this fascinating island in the lulls between guided tours whizzing by.
Elounda itself is a pleasant place with a nice beach for swimming and sunbeds and parasols for hire.
Excursions from the cruise lines will also included Knossos, the capital of the Minoan Crete. The Palace of Knossos is the second most visited in all of Greece after the Acropolis, see the Cruise Athens section on how to visit the Acropolis.
Knossos is linked with many Greek myths including the legend of the Minotaur.
To read more about the history of Knossos visit the Ancient Greece organisation website.