The Gulf of Mirabella, also called Mirabella Bay, is in the north of the Prefecture of Nomos Lasithiou in the island of Crete, the largest Greek island. The capital of the Prefecture is Áyios Nikólaos (often transliterated as Agios Nikolaos), a tourist town overlooking the gulf.
The coast of the Mirabello Bay is one of the most beautiful in Crete Island, with a number of scenic beaches on its shores. There are also a number of historically important archeological sites in and around towns and villages near the gulf.
There are evidences proving that the coast of the Gulf of Mirabello and the nearby regions have been inhabited for over 5000 years, and also copper metallurgy was developed by the inhabitants here around 3000 BC.
Situated on the slopes of hills and cliffs overlooking Mirabello Bay, Áyios Nikólaos is a very popular holiday resort, especially for tourists coming here for longer vacations. Lake Voulisméni in the middle of the town, which was earlier a freshwater lake where goddess Athena used to bathe according to Greek mythology, is now linked to the harbor through a manmade canal.
The name Ayios Nikolaos literally means Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and the entire Greece. The town sits partially atop the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara. The Archaeological Museum of Áyios Nikolaos displays a very large collection of artifacts and historical evidences related to the region and dating back to 3000 BC. According to evidences, the town was settled in the late Bronze Age by the Dorian occupants of Lato.
Located at just 6 km north of Ayios Nikólaos, at the holiday village of Eloúnda, there are ruins of the Dorian town of Olous, which is partly submerged under the sea.
Gournia, about 20 km southeast of Áyios Nikólaos, is the site of a Minoan palace complex excavated in the beginning of the 20th century.
Dreros (or Driros), near Neapolis and 16 km northwest of Aghios Nikolaos, is a post-Minoan site. This early Iron Age site contained archaic inscriptions, one of which is the ‘sacred law of Dreros’, the oldest written constitutional law found in Greece.
At the village of Máles, 30 km southwest of Áyios Nikólaos, there are ruins of the Dorian settlement of Malla. At Myrtos Beach, about 15 km south of Máles, there are remains of Ancient Roman settlements. Myrtos beach is also world-famous for the magical colors of the seawater that changes colors from green-blue, turquoise, sky blue to dark blue.
In the Island of Mokhlós (or Mochlos) in the Gulf of Mirabello there is an archaeological site of an ancient Minoan settlement. Interestingly, according to archaeological and other evidences, Mochlos was part of the mainland and not an island in ancient times. A number of tombs of the early Minoan period were also found here. Articles buried with the dead and excavated from the graves are now in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (or Iráklion).
The Island of Pseira, an islet in the Gulf of Mirabello, also has archaeological remains of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations.
Kritsa, one of the oldest and most scenic villages in the region and an important center of weaving art is very popular with tourists. There is a spectacular climb to the Katharo plateau from where visitors can catch the panoramic view of the Mirabello Gulf and the town of Agios Nikolaos.