Agios Nikolaos was settled in the late Bronze Age by Dorian occupants of Lato,
at a time when the security of the Lato hillfort became a lesser concern and easy access to
the harbour at Agios Nikolaos became more important.
The name Agios Nikolaos means Saint Nicholas.
Its stress lies on the second syllable of the word "Nikolaos".
Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos (alternative romanizations of the Greek Άγιος Νικόλαος) is a
common placename in Greece and Cyprus, since Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and of all of Greece.
Near the town there's an archaeological site of ancient Priniatikos Pyrgos.
It appears to have been first settled in the Final Neolithic, circa 3000 BC. Activity on the site continued throughout the
Minoan Bronze Age and the Classical Greek and Roman periods, spanning a total of up to 4,000 years.
Since 2007, Priniatikos Pyrgos has been undergoing excavation by an international team under
the auspices of the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens.
Agios Nikolaos is probably best known as a tourist town that serves as a hub to the
twenty or so small villages and farms that make up that part of Lassithi.
Tourist attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, small beaches in the town,
the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archaeological museum, the local flora exhibition “Iris” and numerous fairs.
Just a short ferry ride away from Agios Nikolaos is the island of Spinalonga,
an old Venetian fortress turned ex-leper colony in the beginning of the 20th century.