Whitewashed Buildings on Crete’s Eastern Coast
The goddess Athena was said to bathe in a small lake at the city center of Agios Nikolaos. Adding to the mystique of the place, some locals believe the lake is bottomless. On a typical day, ducks paddle through the still waters, slipping past fishers seated on colorful wooden skiffs. About a mile to the north, Hotel Mikro Village wraps around a lake with an equally compelling history—it’s thought to be the opening of a volcano.
Hotel Mikro Village’s whitewashed stucco walls and terra-cotta roof tiles embody the classic image of Mediterranean coastal architecture. Standard garden-view rooms have private balconies that look out on a shared garden.
When the weather’s nice—and it usually is in Crete, where the sun shines an average of 300 days a year—the pool area comes alive. Kids splash in their own mini pool, and adults sip chilled drinks at the swim-up bar. Calories meet their match in the gym, on the tennis court, or at the dinner table over healthy Mediterranean cuisine.
Agios Nikolaos, Crete: Beaches, Bays, and Byzantine Chapels
Crete is Greece’s largest island and a historical hotbed in a country known for its rich past. The seventh-century town of Agios Nikolaos, named after the Byzantine chapel of St. Nicholas, lies on Crete’s eastern coast along Mirabello Bay. The stone chapel is a popular spot for visitors who climb the hill to view its millennium-old frescoes and the deep, blue bay below it.
Rivaling the lake as top attraction in town are three beaches—Ammoudi, Ammoudara, and Almiros—all within walking distance of the city center. A network of pedestrian paths winds through the village, past traditional Greek restaurants and stores filled with Cretan artwork, jewelry, and maps to the gods’ vacation homes.