Agios Nikolaos is 65 kilometres east of Heraklion. Agios Nikolaos, or just Agios as the locals call it, dominates the beautiful Merabello Bay, on the northeast coast of Lassithi Prefecture in East Crete.
Agios Nikolaos has a population of 10,000. Though small, it is the second largest town in Lassithi Prefecture, the easternmost prefecture of Crete.
Agios Nikolaos was one of the first towns in Crete to feel the effects of tourist development, and the famous lake of Agios Nikolaos, around which the town centre is built, continues to impress visitors.
Agios Nikolaos is set on the largest natural bay in Crete, Mirabello or Merabello Bay, named for the beautiful view (mira bella) of the sea from the town. The history of Agios Nikolaos is marked by its harbor in the Ammoudi area, which is still the commercial port of the town. This site was chosen for a major harbor in East Crete, because the islets of Agioi Pantes before it offered better defenses against possible attackers and good shelter from the northwesterlies, which can blow quite strongly. In the Venetian period, the harbor of Agios Nikolaos had a capacity of 25 galleys, a fairly significant number for the time, and served the needs of East Crete. Today, you can travel from here to Piraeus and various islands.
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