Lassithi Prefecture (also known as Lasithi Prefecture) covers the eastern part of Crete with a coast line of about 400 km with several bays, coves, capes, peninsulas and one beautiful lagoon (Voulismeni Lagoon). Visiting the villages of the inland is a fascinating experience, since the natural environment and the character of these traditional villages are enchanting. Extended areas of the inland are dedicated to agriculture and there are many fields of vineyards, olive trees, citrus trees and wheat.
In Lassithi high mountains, green plains and picturesque villages can be found. Tourist development almost disappears away from the coast, with the exception of Kritsa, a village whose traditional atmosphere draws large numbers of visitors. This means that there are many opportunities for people who come to Agios Nikolaos on holiday wanting to explore non-touristy areas of East Crete. Agios Nikolaos is the capital of Lassithi Prefecture. It is set on the largest natural bay in Crete, Mirabello Bay (also known as Merabello Bay), named for the beautiful view (mira bella) of the sea from the town.
The most famous beaches of Lassithi are in the areas of Elounda 10 km north of Agios Nikolaos), Vai (next to the Palm Forest of Vai, the greatest palm forest of Europe, 93 km east of Agios Nikolaos), Makrygialos (61 km southeast of Agios Nikolaos) and Ierapetra (32 km south of Agios Nikolaos). Some other worth visiting beaches are Tholos (a tropic beach with olive trees, 32 km) and Xerokampos (also known as Zerokampos, 103 km southeast of Agios Nikolaos).
Elounda (11 km north of Agios Nikolaos) is a very popular resort featuring quaint beaches and crystal waters. Overlooking the magnificent bay of Mirabello, Elounda is the ideal destination for those who seek calmness and relaxation. The sank ancient city of Olounda and the picturesque islet of Spinalonga lie nearby waiting to be explored. Only a few kilometres north of Elounda there is located Plaka village, offering two beautiful pebbled beaches overlooking Spinalonga islet. East of Agios Nikolaos lies Ammoudara beach, Golden beach and Vai beach. Some other worth visiting beaches is Kato Zakros beach, Achlia beach, Ierapetra beach and Myrtou beach.
Ierapetra and Sitia (also known as Siteia) are two important towns of Lassithi attracting every year many tourists. Ierapetra is the southest town of Europe and the biggest town in Lassithi. The beautiful Chrissi islet (also referred to as Gaidouronisi) is located opposite of Ierapetra featuring a cedar forest, Belegrina beach (also known as Golden Sand) with fossil shells and an old lighthouse. Sitia offers a beautiful sandy beach. In the plateau of Tzermiado in the region of Seli Ampelou (52 km west of Agios Nikolaos) there are situated the famous Windmills of Lassithi. Today 24 windmills are preserved (out of the original 26), most of which in a good condition.
You can travel to Lassithi by airplane. After you land to N. Kazantzakis airport of Heraklion, you have to drive 62 km until you reach Agios Nikolaos.
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