Agios Nikolaos & Plaka - Greece

Agios Nikolaos


Nothing can beat trading the cold, miserable days of a British August for that blast of heat that smacks you when stepping off a plane into a hot country. Even the beads of sweat that begin to form on your forehead and the feelings of regret as you begin to question your outfit choice of black skinny jeans aren't enough to put you off.

On return from my stay in Elounda, an exceedingly beautiful fishing town on the northern coast of Crete, I have put together a series of three blog posts full of our various ventures, photographs and small snippets of information. I often feel miserable after arriving home from Greece, especially when greeted with gloomy skies and an abundance of puddles, and writing blog posts about my stay is a way of comforting myself. That, and making sure my parents have booked our next trip to our favourite destination for the following year.

After a short, air conditioned coach ride from Elounda's harbour and some exquisite views we found ourselves in the town of Agios Nikolaos. Here I was grateful for having pulled my hair back into a plait as the heat seemed to cling to your skin. It got to the stage where I had to dish out four euros for a hand held fan, which did come in very handy for the rest of our stay and provided with me with some very strong arm muscles.

Central Agios Nikolaos has a large selection of water-front tavernas and back streets of shops full of anything and everything any tourist could ever want. I heart Crete mugs, t-shirts with pictures of the island plastered of the front, beach towels- you name it, they've got it.

Our first point of visit was to the Lake Voulismeni, also known as the Bottomless lake. This lake gained the epithet bottomless due to a local urban legend that states, as the name clearly implies, that the lake has no bottom. This was partially due to the fact that when an earthquake occurred in Santorini locals noticed a difference to the waters surface there in Agios Nikolaos. Unfortunately, which isn't as exciting, Lake Voulismeni does actually have a bottom and it is 64m deep. It was a lovely stop off place to have a quick wander around as the scenery is very eye-catching and there is certainly no shortage of well decorated & quirky boats for you to capture with both your eyes and your camera.

As you can see from the photo above, we found a small cafe/taverna just past the lake full of multi-coloured chairs, flowers and ornaments. It was a lovely place to hang out and cool off in the shade of the plants. You can't fault a place when they give you free cucumber and olives to nibble on and I found myself fascinated for a good 5 minutes on how they managed to grow a tree with it's trunk woven around a bicycle. Our stop their almost lead to us missing our bus home.







Plaka


The village of Plaka is situated along the northwesterly coast of Crete. From Elounda, dealing with the temperature, it wouldn't be wise to make the walk to Plaka as there is a risk of overheating. One evening on the day we had our jeep on hire we made the drive over. However, on our daytime visit, the easiest mode of transport was the Happy Train. The train took us along the road at a speed slow enough to take some pictures of the island of Spinalonga as it drew closer. It was nice to see how the locals waved at the train as it passed them and we had a nice breeze as we journeyed along the waterfront.

The view from Plaka over to Spinalonga is really something you can't miss out on. The blue of the water alone is enough to captivate anybodies attention. The island is set right ahead in the opening to the waters surrounding Plaka. It was originally used as a defensive position during wars before it was occupied by the leper colony and it is clear the position would have been a strong one. It was hard to resist the urge to swim across which would evidently be harder than it first appears. The clear water is so transparent that it takes so much willpower to not jump in fully clothed- especially when the weather is as hot as it is.

Around Plaka you can find a range of different stalls and shops. These are very different to the ones in Agios Nikolaos and contain everything from delicately painted jars and ornaments to traditional pieces of jewelry which can be picked up for just a couple of euros. The splash of colour that fills the streets was often the highlight of many tourists photographs.

Alike many other places along the Greek coast, Plaka has a range of waterfront tavernas. Here you are paying more for the view than the food, but they often have wires similar to washing lines outside the front which are used for a very different method that is nothing to do with drying clothes. On these lines you can see octopus and squid, pinned in rows, waiting to be dried out by the sun. This makes them much tastier when it comes to eating them.

The best place to go for food, wherever you are in Greece, is a more traditional taverna where you can share a meze. A meze being a selection of small traditional dishes that you place in the middle of the table, almost like an English buffet, before eating as you please. We often find that these meals are not only the tastiest but also the cheapest and it is at these more traditional places that we receive the best hospitality. Whether it's Calamari, Fried Courgettes or Tzadziki we always leave feeling fulfilled.

If you are interested in finding out a little about the history of Spinalonga, the leper colony and life beforehand keep an eye out over the next few months as I will be sharing some of my writing and photographs from my trip there. Alongside this, I will also be posting some content similar to this talking about Elounda itself before going on to talk about the small, picturesque village of Mochlos.

Happy holidays. 







2 comments

  1. These pictures are gorgeous! Greece looks amazinggggg! :)

    Syd
    The Style Roll

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    1. Thank you very much!! It truly is, it's my favourite place.
      Katie x

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