Different to all other towns in Crete, Agios Nikolaos manages to mix - upon the three hills which support its girth - an arty, leisurely, sleepy and yet also bustling place. Built partly atop ancient remains of bygone residents' homes. Also known as Agios Nik or Ag Nik (but the whole name is pronounced eye-yoss nikor-lowse).
Agios Nikolaos is a medium-size town with a small-town feel, one that has lots to offer. You can walk and enjoy walking here, you have several distinct waterfronts - you can get to know it quickly and feel familiar with the place, like an old friend.
The town has three faces to the sea: The Lake and port, Kitroplatia beach and the Marina. Its unique features, start with the lake ("Voulismeni"), a folklore-inspiringly deep body of water which is connected to the sea by a narrow inlet. It is surrounded and overlooked by cafes and restaurants - a busy gathering place for local residents and visitors alike.
As the lake joins the sea with a strip of water under the tiny road bridge and becomes one with it, the microscopic island of Agii Pandes (All Saints) is in view - adding another facet to the three sides of the town. Ferries come and go from the open port area just beyond.
Next, the beach at Kitroplatia is one of the few in Crete to provide that town-centre-by-the-sea beach location, together with its own original restaurant and cafes and a handful of hotels and apartments.
Then, stroll up to the square and down the other side of the town, this gets you to the marina, where another sea front offers its wares. Take a walk around the marina to see if by chance someone has arrived in a dazzling yacht (a stop at the cafe by the first slipway is a good idea for Crepes - savoury or sweet).
Many churches ply their trade, scattered within the streets of Agios Nikolaos - including the small church which lends its name to the town.