Sunset at Agios Nikolaos, Crete

Crete: Not wandering in Agios Nikolaos

We arrived at Minos Beach Art Hotel late at night after an hour’s drive in the dark from Heraklion airport and we were tired. Getting quickly to our bungalow and into bed was the priority for the Wandering Kiwi family but I could see even in the dark that we were surrounded by lush gardens. The air was warm enough to have the windows open and when I lay down I was thrilled to hear the sound of waves sighing against the sand – is there any better background to drifting off sleep?

View from Minos Beach Hotel, Agios Nikolaos

The staff member who showed us to bungalow number 12 assured us that the gardens looked even better in daylight, as did the view from our room. He was not exaggerating. In the morning I woke to a view of sea and mountains that just made me want to sit and enjoy it all day.

Breakfast on the sunny hotel terrace called and a cup of diktamos tea and freshly-cooked omelette, enjoyed while sitting under an arch of bright bougainvillea.

Pool at Minos Beach Hotel, Agios Nikolaos Crete

We swam in the soft, clear water from the little beach a stone’s throw from our bungalow. It was fun to swim out under the footbridge and along the rocky coast. The swimming pool looked stunning and Wandering Kiwi Jr insisted on trying it out but even she had to admit it was just a little too cold in the end.

Hibiscus flowers

Where were we? Oh yes, just outside Agios Nikolaos, probably Crete’s most popular seaside holiday town. My guidebook described Agios Nikolaos as one of the must-see destinations in Crete but I have to admit it wasn’t really my cup of tea. It is mainly a big pile of touristy shops and restaurants.

Fortunately we weren’t staying in Agios Nikolaos but about 10 minutes’ walk along the coast. The Minos Beach Art Hotel was one of the early luxury hotels to be established here back in the 1960s and it is not only beautifully laid out amidst mature gardens studded with art works, it also boasts over one kilometre of coastline. In other words it has the sort of space and grace more recently established hotels in Agios Nikolaos can only dream about.

Minos Beach Art Hotel, Agios Nikolaos Crete

There are so many quite spots to enjoy the view that I can imagine even in high season Minos Beach always exudes peace and serenity. For this Wandering Kiwi it prepared me perfectly for exploring Crete!

By Natasha von Geldern

Thanks to the Minos Beach Art Hotel for hosting the Wandering Kiwi family while we were in western Crete. As always my views and reviews are entirely genuine.

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  1. Oh I have so great memories of Crete and have been many times at Agios Nikolaos. I love your photos and you post.

  2. Sounds (and looks) so lovely! I haven’t made it to Crete yet, but it definitely just got added to my travel list 😀 Thanks for the info about Agios Nikolaos, though. Yeah, that really wouldn’t be my cup of tea either.
    Best, Dana

  3. Crete is probably my favorite place in the world. Even though I haven’t been back since 2006 I constantly dream about this island. Your post took me right back! I wish I could be exploring there now.

    Where you able to get to rethymnon? I stayed there for a month studying archaeology and it was heavenly!

    • I didn’t make it to Rethymnon but have read good things about it – time for a return trip 🙂 Gosh lucky you, I would love to study archaeology in Crete, or anywhere in Greece! Thanks for your comment guys!

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