History of Crete comes from the depths of centuries. In the crossroad of three continents, since the Neolithic Age till 1912 when it was integrated to Greece, has developed civilizations with visible proofs. From 2600 till 1000 B.C. there was the Minoic civilization. Afterwards, the Geometrical Age, 1000-600 B.C. and from 600 till 69 B.C. Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods and following them the Hellenic-Roman Years till 330 A.D. Later on the island was conquered by the Arabs. During Byzantine period it was under the sovereign of the Venetians till 1669, the Turkish occupation of the island from 1669-1898 A.D. and then the Crete State, 1898-1912 A.D..
The prefecture of Lassithi, in the far eastern part of Crete with capital St. Nikolaos, is situated in a distance of 200 n.m. (11 hours) from Piraeus.
Aghios Nicolaos is a picturesque port and a modern city built in the north-western side of the gulf Mirabelou in the location of the ancient city Latous.
Characteristicla of the city is the Lake Voulismeni or Xepatomeni as the people of the region call it, which is connected with the sea by a canal. The two parts of the city are connected with a bridge.
In Aghios Nikolaos there is an Archaeological Museum with rich exhibits from the excavations in the region as well as Popular Art Museum.
You can go for swimming in the city in the municipal beach and farther beyond in the small port down Kitroplatia. Towards the northern part there are beaches with pebble and rocks. Among the marvellous beaches they are Ammoudara and Istro.
The cosmopolitan Elounda, 11 km. from Aghios Nikolaos, it is situated in the same location where the ancient city Olounda was built. In the entry of the gulf it is the island Spinalonga or Kalydona. The beaches of the region are sandy or with pebble.
Built in a fertile valley it is located Kalo Horio with its sandy beaches that is in a distance of 12 km. from Aghios Nikolaos.
Ierapetra is a modern city, 35 km. from Aghios Nikolaos, with the famous castle Kales built by the Venetians. There is also a very interesting archaeological collection housed in the Othoman School in the square of the Town Hall. You can enjoy the immense, sandy beaches of the city.
Famous summer resort is Makryghialos, 63 km. from Aghios Nikolaos. From here you can also visit the men’s monastery of St. John Kapsa of the 15th century and to go for swimming to the nearby beaches.
Sitia is built amphitheatrically in a hill side and is situated in a distance of 70 km. from Aghios Nikolaos. The city is almost in the place of the ancient Itia that was a port of Praessos. Exhibits showing the flourishing period and civilization of the ancient city are to be found in the Archaeological Museum.