AGHIOS NIKOLAOS (Crete)
Set on the east of the Greek island Crete, Aghios Nikolaos is a place of legend and luxury. Pastel-coloured houses jostle attractively around the pretty harbour and inky lake, while busy restaurants and cafes spill out onto its lively waterfront. Life here orbits around Lake Voulismeni, and the legendary lake is said to be bottomless, and to have been a bathing spot for Greek goddesses Athena and Artemis. Enjoy heavenly views of the water through frames of pretty, violet flowers, or climb the stone steps for a sweeping panorama of the town, lake and seas beyond. With abundant waterfront, hours meander past effortlessly in the town’s humming cafes, as characters come and go, and sunlight flicks off the sparkling waves.
Aghios Nikolaos is surrounded by wide, scenic beaches, and you can choose between Voulisma - where crystal-clear water lolls against fine sand, or Almyros – where a refreshing ribbon of cooling freshwater snakes out into warm turquoise seawater. Away from the beaches, look for the brightly-frescoed Panagias Keras Church - one of the region’s oldest Byzantine churches - which dates back to the 13th century. Explore local farms to taste fresh oil, crushed from plump olives, ripened by the generous Cretan sun.