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The village of Agia Pelagia in Crete
The village of Agia Pelagia, once the site of an ancient Greek city, is situated in a bay 22 kilometers northwest of the capital Heraklion, and set 4 kilometers off the main road. The name Agia Pelagia derives from a monastery 1 kilometer west of the bay. It's a haven of peace compared to some of the other beachvillages that are sometimes placed directly next to the mainroad itself. Agia Pelagia is actually more like a cluster of small villages and beaches, the main beach being the most eastern one, decorated with a small 'boulevard' with restaurants, cocktail bars and a supermarket. For a short movie of Agia Pelagia you can click
When driving in from the mainroad it's easy to lose your way in the spiderweb of small roads and the lack of signs (especially when you see a sign saying 'beach' pointing both left and right one might not understand...). The atmosphere in Agia Pelagia is cosy, and its bay looks very pretty, with kaiks in the water and greenish rocks rising out of the of the sea. It's a rather green place with palmtrees and flowers. The main beach is not very long or wide, and it gets shady very quickly at the end of the afternoon. The people in Agia Pelagia belong to the most kind Greek people I have ever met. West of Agia Pelagias' main beach you will also find three more quiet beaches with less facilities. My favourite is the middle one of the three which has only a small 'shop' that sells drinks and ice cream. I like it the best because of the beautiful rocks on the left side of it and because of its quietness. The first beach west of the main beach of Agia Pelagia is called Kladissos. The second beach that you will encounter when you walk eastwards from Agia Pelagia's main beach (the one with only the small shop with drinks). This is my favourite one. It's called Psaromoura and it has some beautiful rocks in the sea. The third beach is called Mononaftis, and has a nice green rock in the opposite. In the neighbourhood of these beaches there are a couple of big holiday resorts, amongst which the big Capsis beach hotel with a pool and lots of small houses.
A walk down westwards will bring you to some escavations (near the big Capsis Hotel on the rock), and a small zoo with storks, strange chickens, some baboons and other animals. It's quite a strange surprise, but a funny one. Most of the birds and some of the animals just walk around freely (sorry, the zoo has been closed!). If you want to try another more quiet beach in the area you can take the turn just before Agia Pelagia, which will bring you to the sheltered and more quiet Ligaria beach. Besides tourism a lot of people in Agia Pelagia still live from farming. This is why in between the restaurants and hotels you will see a lot of agricultural fields in the village. There are onions, cabbages, herbs and all sorts of vegetables growing everywhere.