Written by GB from Devizes on 27 Sep, 2004
Drive south from Elounda, across the mountain, and Agios Nikolaos is presented in all its glory from your vantage point several hundred feet up. You drop down on a switchback, but wide road, into the northern end of the town, and eventually find your way…Read More
Drive south from Elounda, across the mountain, and Agios Nikolaos is presented in all its glory from your vantage point several hundred feet up. You drop down on a switchback, but wide road, into the northern end of the town, and eventually find your way to the recently reconstructed harbour where you may park your car.Agios Nikolaos is at the eastern end of the northern highway giving it fast, direct links to Heraklion, Rethymno, and Chania and, as such, has blossomed into a busy town with a resident population of around 9,000.The town is very busy and quite unashamedly caters for the younger and more well-heeled tourist. It does not have the history or architecture of the other larger towns, but nevertheless has a good atmosphere and a huge variety of bars, discos, and tavernas.Agios Nikolaos' principal tourist hot spot is the so-called bottomless Lake Voulismeni. During the German occupation in World War Two, the Germans dumped cars into the lake to restrict its use, but never succeeded in filling it up, thus beginning the "bottomless" legend. It is however reported to be well over 70m deep, amazing when you consider that it is less than that across.Voulismeni's southern promenade is covered in restaurants, all employing touts who will extol the benefits and virtues of their particular establishment over those of their neighbours, and they can be a bit pushy. Best bet is to look at the water, and avoid eye contact as you stroll by! For a better, cheaper and more authentic meal, forego the view and explore the maze of little side streets where you will undoubtedly find a restaurant where the locals eat. This is the best recommendation you could have.The lake is joined to the harbour by a recently excavated passage beneath the main road, but, as the clearance is only a meter or so, it severely restricts the size of craft that may enter the inner sanctum.Agios Nikolaos is a good place to explore - take the steps up from the lake on the north side to see Voulismeni and the town in all its glory.A cosmopolitan, vibrant little town that should be on every must-see list. Close
Written by Katerina Nikolas on 07 Jan, 2011
The tiny fishing village of Selinitsa in the Southern Peloponnese is perfect for those who want nothing more from their vacation base than to relax in the genuine ambiance of a truly Greek village, where time has almost stood still, and traditional habits are still…Read More
The tiny fishing village of Selinitsa in the Southern Peloponnese is perfect for those who want nothing more from their vacation base than to relax in the genuine ambiance of a truly Greek village, where time has almost stood still, and traditional habits are still observed. Fishing boats head out to sea each day and the catch can be enjoyed in the local tavernas, or purchased from the early morning fish market at the beautiful harbour.Selinitsa is actually the old name for Agios Nikolaos, but as this translates to Saint Nikolaos then this village name can be found all over Greece and her islands. The best way to identify this particular village is to add the name of its neighbouring village, Stoupa, to any searches. It is not unknown to find the odd tourist who thought they were going to spend their last minute vacation in Corfu, to be delivered to the mainland village of Agios Nikolaos instead, wondering where all the exciting night life is.Selinitisa had German soldiers stationed there during World War 11, and was an anti-communist village in the days of the Greek civil war. Until the road was built in the 1960’s the only way for the local people to head to the nearest city of Kalamata, 41 kms away, was by boat, foot or donkey. Just twenty minutes drive from Agios Nikolaos brings you to a notable ancient Greek village of tremdous beauty, Kardimilli.The center of village life is the harbour, lined with a good choice of outdoor tavernas and old buildings of local charm. You can sit and enjoy life pass by whilst enchanted by the blue sea and colorful fishing boats, and watch the antics of the local fishermen as they prepare their lines and nets. Fishing and olives are the lifeblood of the village, which is also extremely welcoming to visitors. A gentle flat stroll outside the village brings you to Pantazi beach where white sands and stones stretch down to the sea which is perfect for swimming. There are many walks to enjoy locally: you can venture into the lower villages which sit in the shadow of Taygetos Mountain, or take the relaxing coastal path walk into Stoupa. Traditional Greek food epitomises the healthy Mediterranean diet, and you can enjoy the local fish, fresh salads, and mezes available in thecharming tavernas. Greg’s Platia on the harbour is a must for the warmest welcome, and you can have fun trying to spot the owner Gregoris trying to skive off and leaving his charming Mama, Aphrodite, to tend to your needs and cook something special.Directly opposite is the local men’s kafenion where the Greek men gather to drink coffee and argue about politics and eye up everyone who walks through. Of course the visitor is able to enjoy the antics of the local community too, and Americans are especially welcome as one of the locals will want to know if you know his relative there.Car hire is available so you can venture further afield and discover the wonders of the deep Mani, with the wonderful old village of Vathia a must to see. A trip to Gythio is highly recommended too, to enjoy lunch chosen from the washing lines, which are used to hang the octopuses up to dry before being freshly grilled.If you enjoy peace, stunning settings and real old world charm, Agios Nikolas is the most wonderful find, but not the place for those seeking lively nightlife. If your idea of pure relaxation is to dine outdoors by the sea in the welcome late evening breeze, and sip a metaza under the stars, you could well find yourself in the your idyllic Greek dream. Close
Written by Mark Nisenholt on 12 May, 2005
This is our second day in Agios Nikolaos--we arrived by ferry yesterday morning and were met by our hotel keeper, who drove us across the island to our new home, filling us in on the local sights, etc., as we went. By 9am, we were…Read More
This is our second day in Agios Nikolaos--we arrived by ferry yesterday morning and were met by our hotel keeper, who drove us across the island to our new home, filling us in on the local sights, etc., as we went. By 9am, we were in our apartment, had a wee rest, then went exploring. Went to the local bakery for some bread and sweet buns, went to the market for some other things, went down to the harbour to look around and check out the seaside taverns. It's a lovely respite from the relentless hustle and bustle of Athens. On our last day in Athens, we had lots of time to kill until our ferry took on passengers, so we got a chance to stroll through the ancient Agora, where Socrates and his pals hung out, a lovely, still place at the foot of the Acropolis, interrupted regularly by the Metro which runs next to it. The ferry ride was boring but posh, and since it was at night, there was really nothing to see and not much to do except eat, drink, and sleep.
Today we drove up the coast about 12km to a tiny spot called Plaka, passing through my old stomping grounds of Elounda, which is now a bustling tourist spot, almost completely unrecognizable from when I was living here, with tons of tavernas, shops, and hotels. Plaka is still a reasonably quiet seaside spot where the fisherman can still find a catch just offshore to provide the dockside taverns with their menu. We plan to return to it soon and hire a boat to take us to the island sitting in the bay called Spinalonga, which is a former Venetian/Turkish fortress that is now uninhabited but is a popular tourist site due to its architecture and historical interest. It was also the site of the last leper colony in Europe, closed down in the fifties. The whole drive along the coast is very charming, houses and hotels clinging to the mountainside and the sea very sparkling and clam. The weather has been terrific--mid-70s (F), with a nice breeze from the water. Spring is on us here, and the air is very aromatic. I hope you are enjoying yourself too, as much as we are.