Agios Nikolaos is a small village on the North of Zakynthos island, Greece. And when I say “small” I mean “tiny”. Agios Nikolaos operates just during season; in winter the village is completely dead. There is one street, along which is located all the stores and restaurants in the village. However, Agios Nikolaos is also a port that you can use to get to Kefalonia or to Shipwreck Beach and the blue caves. Here is a guide to Agios Nikolaos that might help you organize your perfect vacation.
Zakynthos island doesn’t really have great public transportation, so the only two options that you can use are: driving yourself or taking a taxi.
To order a taxi is not a big problem, although to drive for example from Zakynthos Town to Agios Nikolaos will cost you around 50€. However, if you get lucky like we did, you may meet a very friendly Greek who happens to go there and will take you for cheap/free.
To rent a car in Greece is very easy and quite cheap. So, for those who have a license it will be the most convenient way to explore the island. But if you are an American, I have bad news for you. You cannot use your American license, you will need to get international ones before going on vacation to Greece if you plan to rent a car.
There are not a lot of Airbnbs in Agios Nikolaos, and no big chain hotels as well. So, try to book your accommodation earlier.
Most Airbnbs also do not accept less than two days’ booking, so if you want to spend some time in Agios Nikolaos, plan on staying at least two nights.
During my 4 days in Agios Nikolaos I stayed at the Pink House. I found the price to be fair, although I do wish the air conditioner was more efficient and the bedding was comfortable.
Madrakia Taverna is a must visit place in Agios Nikolaos. The taverna is located next to Madrakia beach, a small hidden beach that looks like heaven.
Besides the amazing view, the food in this restaurant is very good. We got the fisherman’s pasta which tasted fantastic, and super fresh fried calamari as a starter.
Taverna Porto is also known as Dimitris restaurant (at least on Google maps). It is a classic Greek taverna with a good variety of local dishes and a good view of Agios Nikolaos port.
We actually visited Taverna Porto a few times for breakfasts and dinners. They serve a pretty good breakfast for a decent price, but we usually would get just a cup of coffee and a pastry like a croissant or my favorite spinach puff, spanakopita.
To Nisi restaurant is considered to be a fancy place in Agios Nikolaos. It is quite a big place with a nice open terrace, the same great view as Taverna Porto, and good food.
We went there on our last evening and had a lovely time with home made wine and delicious food. Service in To Nisi was good, although the waiter had a problem speaking English.
One of the main attractions that people are looking for in Agios Nikolaos is to take a boat tour to Shipwreck beach. Agios Nikolaos is a perfect location to take a boat from since Shipwreck beach is located just 30 minutes away by boat.
During the high season there are usually two trips per day to Shipwreck beach: at 10:30 AM, and at 12:30 PM. The trip lasts around three hours, including an hour on the beach and 15 – 20 minutes at the blue caves.
There are many places where you can book your boat tour, and they usually charge different prices. The cheapest place (€20 per person) we found with many good reviews was Theodosis Cruises. The captain – Dimitris was really helpful and friendly as well.
Note: sometimes due to the weather the boats are not allowed to visit Shipwreck beach. This is why it is best to plan multiple days in Agios Nikolaos – you don’t want to get unlucky and have to skip out on visiting the beach.
A visit to the blue caves is another popular thing to do in Agios Nikolaos. There are actually many blue caves around Zakynthos Island, but the most famous ones are located on the North, between Agios Nikolaos and Shipwreck beach.
There are two types of boat tour that you can take to visit the blue caves: the aforementioned one that includes Shipwreck beach, and another one that goes only to the blue caves.
We took the one that included the Shipwreck beach and the blue caves. However on bad weather days when the beach is closed, the tours will only go to the caves.
There is one other way to visit the blue caves, not for the faint of heart. You can rent a kayak and work your way around the coast to the caves. Many places along the port will have kayaks for rent, but please keep in mind it is a strenuous workout.
I already mentioned that you should visit Madrakia taverna, but relaxing on Madrakia beach is a must do thing in Agios Nikolaos. Never have I seen in Greece such a beautiful beachside in the middle of town. Seriously, this little beach is located right next to the port.
Madrakia beach has everything you need: fairytale-like scenery, clear blue water, a cute restaurant nearby where you can get food or use their toilets, and it is quite hidden, so there are not a lot of people (at least that was the case when we were there).
Madrakia taverna has placed on the beach a few beach chairs (no umbrellas) that you can use for free, but most people are coming here with their own chairs and umbrellas.
What I noticed during our visits to Madrakia beach is that the most crowded place is after 5 – 6 PM when locals finish their work and go for a swim.
While you are staying in Agios Nikolaos you might use the opportunity and take a ferry to Kefalonia for a day trip. Kefalonia island is located very close to Zakynthos and during the high season there is a daily ferry that allows for day trips.
Unfortunately, due to the Corona pandemic, we were not able to visit Kefalonia. But hopefully by the time you come to Zakynthos island the government will renew this route once again.
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