A BEAUTIFUL NATURE & THE BEST BEACHES IN AGIOS NIKOLAOS, CRETE
The plateau of Katharo is the ultimate place to visit in order to comprehend the character of Cretan countryside and its majestic rustic landscape. At an altitude of 1200 metres you can leave your car, go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air and take in the outstanding nature around you. You will see shepherds and their flocks, eagles and other birds, wild goats to name but a few.
One of Europe’s longest canyons and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Samaria Gorge is definitely on the bucket list for many keen hikers who visit Crete. It is a 16km hike through raw Cretan beauty, immersed in the natural surroundings of soaring cliffs and passageways. It is a National Park of Greece and home to many endemic species of birds and flowers as well as the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat).
Psychro Cave otherwise also known as Dictaion Cave is a Minoan sacred cave on the Lasithi Plateau. It is believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the Gods of Olympus. A fascinating cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites lets the imagination run wild as to how this could have been the hiding place where Rhea decided to protect Zeus from his father Cronus. Artefacts from Psychro Cave can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London.
At the very tip of the eastern side of Crete lies Vai Beach also known as Palm beach and home to the Cretan Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti). This exotic sandy beach with white sand is formed at the end of the palm forest and boasts beautiful cobalt waters, ideal for snorkeling. It is preferable to visit early or late summer as this beach can be very busy during high season.
Located 8 miles south of Ierapetra, the island of Chrissi is a Wildlife Refuge and boasts crystal clear waters and the protected forest of juniper trees. Taking its name from the pinkish-golden colour of its fine sand, Chrissi (meaning golden in Greek) island is also known as a paradise for geology enthusiasts due to the thousands of dead sea shells that have gathered over time and fossilized here.