Golden beaches, cosmopolitan harbour towns and myth-spiked historical sites are yours for the taking on a holiday to the Lassithi area of Crete.
The Lassithi area takes up residence in Crete’s east wing. This part of the island has a finishing school-style refinement to it. It leaves the rustic hamlets and rugged coastlines to the west of the island, and in their place, it puts cosmopolitan harbour towns and pretty beach resorts.
Agios Nikolaos is one such harbour town. The focal point of this place is Lake Voulismeni. This inland lake is surrounded by cafes, ice cream parlours and bars. Beyond here, the town’s complexion changes to incorporate streets full of jewellery and olive oil shops. Agios Nikolaos’ outskirts, meanwhile, are characterised by a handful of small sandy beaches.
Elounda is the flagship of Lassithi’s beach resorts. Its main square is just a few steps away from its sandy beach, so holiday makers can go from sand to shop to seaside café in the drop of a hat.
Spinilonga is the most name-dropped of Lassithi’s sights. This island, a 15-minute boat ride from Elounda’s harbour, was made famous by Victoria Hislop’s best-selling novel, The Island. It was Europe’s last leper colony and scores of lepers lived here, in exile from the mainland, until 1957.
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Elounda is a seaside town on Crete’s northwestern coast. It’s an up-and-coming retreat that revolves around a colourful harbour and the main square just next door. The place is packed with authentic Greek tavernas and friendly bars – it also comes with a sandy beach that looks out to the intriguing Spinalonga Island. It’s quite a lively spot, but if you want more action there’s Agios Nikolaos just 15 minutes’ drive away.
Aghios Nikolaos is a picturesque port town on Mirabello Bay, in eastern Crete. It pairs cosmopolitan buzz with laid-back beach life, and though it’s become one of the island’s most popular destinations, it still packs plenty of old-school appeal.
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