ÁYIOS NIKÓLAOS, known simply as “Áyios” to the locals, is set around a supposedly bottomless salt lake, now connected to the sea to form an inner harbour. It is supremely picturesque and has some style and charm, which it exploits to the full. The excellent archeological museum (Tues–Sun 8.30am–3pm; €3) on Paleológou north of the lake, and an interesting Folk Museum (Tues–Sun April–Oct 10am–2pm and 5–7pm; €3) near the tourist office are both worth seeking out. Both the lake and the harbour area are surrounded by charming restaurants and bars.

The small and busy Kitroplatía beach lies just around the southwest corner of the port and is lined with tavernas and cafés, while 1km beyond here, past the marina, lies the much larger, and well-kept, municipal beach. There are further swimming opportunities to the north around Eloúnda, and some great backcountry inland – perfect to explore on a scooter.

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