So last year I went to visit my friend who was working in Agios Nikaloas, Crete. This year, it was much much better as she wasn’t actually working, so we actually went out for a wicked little week’s holiday! I absolutely love travelling and travel blogging, so I hope this helps anyone thinking of a little holiday.
How we got there
We travelled by Easyjet and unfortunately due to loads of different boring underlying reasons, a flight to Crete or mainland Greece will still set you back even if you are going with a so called ‘budget’ carrier. One thing they did advertise on board was the new ‘Easyjet plus’ card which would actually really benefit someone who travels as often as me. For the price though, I still think they are a good airline, and some of the planes have had an upgrade and the seat pitches seemed a lot more roomy.
I ALWAYS use the airport lounge when I travel, as I am scared of flying and I feel getting away from the hustle and bustle (and the unlimited alcohol) really helps. I blogged last year on the No1 Traveler Lounge at Gatwick South and again I couldn’t recommend it more highly. I had a lamb kofta from the menu and also lots of salad and cous cous from the buffet. You also get panoramic views of the runways which I really like, although that sounds mad for someone scared of flying. It’s about £25 to £30 to use the lounge and I honestly don’t know why more people don’t do it! You could EASILY spend that in an airport bar, and the lounge is unlimited (within reason, I don’t think they would appreciate if you rinsed the free bar and started doing your version of Madonna ‘Holiday’ using a spoon as a microphone).
Luckily, on the flight, Easyjet didn’t run out of prosecco like they did when I went to Marbella.
Where we stayed
Last year, we stayed at Sunbeam Apartments in Agios. We had a small room last year so this year thought we would push the boat out and get a bigger studio room with a kitchenette. First things first, this is not a big hotel or resort, so no, there isn’t a pool or restaurant. It is however, smack bang in the middle of Agios 2 minutes from the lake, clean, and reasonably priced. The owner is fairly friendly and it is opposite a small supermarket so if you are sitting in the room and realise you all of a sudden have a fancying for a Smirnoff ice then you could have one in two minutes. There are loads of beaches within walking and taxi distance and there are also a few pools which will probably let you use them if you buy a drink. It was £150 for two of us for a week and the room was actually massive! The maid came in a cleaned every day and left fresh towels. The wifi is a bit ropey but to be honest if you are away updating your status should be the last thing on your mind.
Where we went
Although there are countless restaurants on the actual lake in Agios, you will be hard pressed to find better food and ambience than La Strada, which is a little way up into town. Nestled in amongst souvenir shops this rustic little wonder does the best Cretan and Italian cuisine in Agios. The menu is so big you are spoiled for choice and will end up ordering way more than you can eat. The halloumi is exceptional. There is what I believe to be some sort of caramelised balsamic vinegar which is absolutely amazing. I like to get a gyros when I am Crete and theirs is brilliant. They also have a very long, very posh wine list, and they also do prosecco! Yay! Leanne who works in there will take care of you like she would her own family, and I really would recommend finding it. You can look up the location and some reviews on Tripadvisor.
Almyros River Hotel
We took full advantage of everyone thinking my friend Toni was returning to work this year and used the pool at the hotel they used last year. To be honest they are pretty fair and I am sure if you were not staying here you could still use the pool if you bought a couple of drinks. Although the pool and the beach are absolutely beautiful, be prepared for a massive day of aggro if you do want food and drink. Ordering food and drink from these people is like getting blood from a stone, and despite refusing to serve us at the bar most days and promising the waiter will be round we just gave up on most occasions.
I don’t know what the actual hotel is like but again I guess you could check out Tripadvisor if you are thinking of booking.
Alexandros Roof Bar
Where to even start with these guys? What a decent craic. Honestly I loved it here. We did go a couple of times last year but I think we did so much else I don’t really remember it. This year, I loved it so much. Check out their Facebook for updates on opening times and events, but I’d say go about 1am when it gets busy. The views are absolutely stunning and the champagne is even better. George the owner and Alex and Dimitri looked after us so well, I couldn’t insist more on you going here if you visit this beautiful town. Obviously they did know my friend, but that wasn’t the reason for their hospitality at all, it’s just their standard. They stood by the door and literally welcomed everyone in. The great news as well is there is an all night pizza place underneath that does a two euro slice of pizza!
Other Bits and Bobs
We booked our transfer from Heraklion to Agios Nikalaos with Resorthoppa for about £36, but what I would say is if you can afford a taxi, get one. This transfer goes all round Malia first and takes about two hours.
Be warned if you are going to get a taxi anywhere, ASK FOR THE PRICE FIRST. Taxi prices are like the worlds biggest secret and as friendly as the taxi drivers are, they really do not have a meter or give any hint of the price when the journey ends, you have to ask.
Remember, YOU ARE IN GREECE. Learn some Greek words and don’t be an absolute animal and expect them all to know English. Although Agios is touristy, there are still some very small shops.
TAKE LOTS OF SPENDS. There are loads of lovely little souvenir shops in Agios town and you can pick up anything from some olive oil cosmetics to a solid wood penis bottle opener!
Here is a little bit more from our holiday.