Agios Nikolaos: Drive up to the Windmills in Crete

Lassithi Plateau is one of the few areas in the Mediterranean with permanent inhabitants at an altitude over 800 metres. Next to Lasithi Plateau we can find the cave where it is said that Zeus was born, Dikteon Andron. You need to have walking shoes with you as the stairs leading to the cave are slippery. There are many small villages on the plateau which maintain their traditional character. Don't hesitate to come out of your car and walk along the lanes. You will be rewarded with nostalgic sights of windmill in Lassithi plateau, authentic farm living. Most of the tourist guides describe the place as a plateau of 10,000 windmills. There are also some old black and white photos showing thousands of windmills scattered throughout the area. Unfortunately, most of those windmills, with crude pumping engines and iron towers of simple technology, no longer exist. Originally, the locally-constructed windmills made their appearance in the valley at the end of the 1800s. During the 1950s there were about 4,000 structures offering invaluable assistance to the local farmers. Today, with modern means of irrigation and power supply, that number has been greatly reduced, depriving Lassithi of its unique identity.

Historical Sights

Leaving the Lassithi Plateau and heading towards Heraklion, we meet an area just before the village of Kera, where 24 stone flour mills once stood, dating back to the 1800s. They operated until the end of WWII, but today most of them are ruined and only three have been restored so far.

Another interesting place to visit is Kato Zakros. Some hundred meters away from the beach there is the Palace of Zakros. The palace of Zakros was built at about 1900 B.C. The present ruins are from the second building phase, at about 1600 BC. It was found by the Greek archaeologist N. Platon at 1961. Politically and commercially, the Palace of Zakros is oriented towards the major civilisations of the Middle East.

Lassithi Nightlife

Most nightlife venues in the Lassithi Prefecture are situated in Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Elounda, and Ierapetra, including a very good selection of clubs, bars and cafes, although most seaside settlements also offer a number of entertainment venues. In Lassithi there are traditional tavernas and restaurants everywhere, from the smallest village to the most popular resort, so visitors will find hundreds of place to eat in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, as well as elsewhere in the prefecture. Rent now a car from InterCar car rental and visit all the places you like!

Agios Nikolaos is an international and cosmopolitan resort that welcomes thousands of visitors annually. The lake is its most charming feature. Legend suggests that Athena and Armetis bathed in its waters. This lake is connected to the sea by a straight channel, while its natural surroundings of red rock and trees attract the visitor magnetically. At a small open-air theatre by the lake, locals and visitors alike can enjoy interesting artistic and cultural presentations. A walk around the shops of Agios Nikolaos is an enjoyable experience. In the many stores the visitor can find a wide selection of traditional Cretan artwork, copies of pieces from different archaeological museums, jewelry, and embroidery.

A few kilometers North from Agios Nikolaos we meet the beautiful resort of Elounda and on the opposite bank is the island of Spinalonga. This island was a leper colony and this is the island that the book “The Island” is based on.

Lassithi Beaches

The beautiful shoreline of the Lassithi Prefecture provides visitors with a plethora of splendid beaches on which to spend leisure time basking in the sun and swimming in the cool waters of the Cretan and Libyan Seas. On the northern coast of Lassithi, Crete, the waters are warmer and shallower than the southern waters, although the beaches on the southern coast of Lassithi are less crowded than those on the northern coast. If you prefer beaches that are serene and secluded, we suggest visiting the northern Lassithi beaches Driros, Sissi, Havania, and Pachia Ammos or the southern Lassithi beaches of Agia Fotia, Xerokambos, Koutsounari, Achlia, and Lagada. Close to Vai Palm Beach on the eastern shore of Lassithi are the wonderful beaches in the Palekastro region, Itanos Beach and Kato Zakros Beach. The majority of Lassithi beaches provide beach facilities, such as tavernas, cafes, umbrellas and chaise longues, while others are fully-organized and have water sports facilities. A rented car from InterCar car rental gives you the opportunity to visit a different beach and find out whether you prefer a crowded or an isolated one.

On the south of Lasithi prefecture we meet the beautiful town, Ierapetra. From the port there we can take the ferry which is 4 hours away from Chrissi Island, where its sandy beaches are a match to Hawaii!! The water there is crystal blue and you can clearly identify the fishes swimming there!

Vai is also a beautiful village. There you can find the only self-sown palm trees in all Greece! Legend says that when the Romans reached Vai they didn’t know where they were. They were laying on the beach all day eating plums and throwing the stones on the sand and this is how the palm trees came to grow.

Rent a car from InterCar car rental and start the exploration!

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