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|Agia Pelagia Home||Agia Pelagia Hotels||Agia Pelagia Villas||Agia Pelagia Restaurants|
|The village of Agia Pelagia on the island of Crete|
The village of Agia Pelagia was once the site of the ancient Greek city of Appolonia. Is situated in a bay 22 kilometers north west 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 beach villages that are sometimes placed directly next to the main road 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. Since 2019 this beach has been completely filled with umbrellas and sunbeds, a so-called "upgrade", and according to Greek law that is not permitted at all. There must always be at least 50% of beach furniture-free on every beach and there must be at least an aisle of a meter wide between the sunbeds, and that is also not the case. The sunbeds are side by side and you can only walk on the footpath that runs along the tavernas, or along the sea. According to the law there also needs to be a gap of minimum 5 meters between the sunbeds and whoever is renting them out. This isn't the case anywhere on the main beach. It is really completely full on the beach of Agia Pelagia. Such a shame! Having said that Agia Pelagia is still nothing like destinations such as Malia or Chersonissos, and it remains a nice place for families with children.
|More about Agia Pelagia - the beaches of Agia Pelagia in the north Crete|
When driving in from the main road it's easy to lose your way in the spiders web 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 main beach can be approached from both sides and of course there are several beaches in Agia Pelagia and there are several roads leading from the National Highway to enter the village.
The atmosphere in Agia Pelagia is cosy, and its bay looks very pretty, with caiques (traditional wooden boats) in the water and greenish rocks rising out of the of the sea. It's a rather green place with palm trees 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 the main beach of Agia Pelagia 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. Facilities have "improved" over the last few years and you will find more umbrellas and sunbeds on these beaches nowadays. Every year the village becomes more touristy, new accommodations are being built and bit by bit it is losing its authenticity. Large travel organizations include Agia Pelagia in their travel offerings, including cheap all-inclusive deals. The result is that it is also getting busier and the local population does not profit from it, since individual travellers with some money to spend start looking for other destinations.
|What is Agia Pelagia and nearby Lygaria Beach like|
A walk down westwards will bring you to some excavations (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 (update 2007: sorry people, the zoo is closed and replaced by a building).
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. It is also possible to walk to this beach from Agia Pelagia. On this beach there are also a couple of places where you can have a drink or something to eat and there is a small supermarket. At the beach there are umbrellas and sunbeds for rent.
A few years ago a large complex of holiday homes was built here on the hill overlooking the bay, so it is possible that it is a little bit more busy now. So summarized Agia Pelagia comes with all sorts of beaches for different kinds of people and there is a large choice in tavernas, small cosy bars, shops, super markets, hotels, apartments, studios and villas. Update: it doesn't seem to have affected the village of Lygaria that much and the beach is still pretty quiet.
|Tourism and agriculture in Agia Pelagia - the landscape, what can you expect|
Besides tourism a lot of people in Agia Pelagia still live from farming. This is why in between the houses, 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. Slowly Agia Pelagia is expanding and more new houses are being built. Because the village is built on a slightly sloping hill a lot of these new houses will get a sea view. The latest project is a cluster of holiday homes (it is called Agia Pelagia Villas) that are being built at the public parking square at the end of the small road that leads to the beach (distance 80 meters). If all goes according to plan it should be finished in 2009 (in the meanwhile it has been finished).
In 2019 an underground drain / canal has been made in the main road to the beach for the water that comes from the mountains to prevent frequent flooding of Agia Pelagia. Digging also took place around the large parking lot and the school. Parts of the ancient city of Appolonia (2000 BC) were uncovered. It would be nice if they did not cover it again with earth after the archaeological investigation in order to extend the parking space.
|The "Agia Pelagia Church" - the monastery in Agia Pelagia, walking around the village|
In the village you will also see a couple of signs that are pointing to the Agia Pelagia Church. If you follow these signs you will end up at an old church / monastery, but of course it is closed, so you are unable to take a look inside. Another walk that you can make is all the way up the hill towards Nymphes Villas which will give you breathtaking views of the bay and the opportunity to take a look inside a small church on top of the hill. Here the roads turn into walking paths and you can make walks to the inland or along the coastline.
|The journey to Agia Pelagia - how to get to the village of Agia Pelagia|
The easiest way to reach Agia Pelagia is of course with your own transportation. From the capital Heraklion it takes about a half an hour drive westwards before you are downstairs in the bay. There are several entrances to the village of Agia Pelagia from the main road. From Heraklion and from Rethimnon there are also buses that stop at Agia Pelagia, but they make you get out at the main road, which means that you still have to walk downstairs about three or four kilometers. The views over the bay that you will get are rewarding though. A better alternative for a rental car would be a taxi from for instance the bus station or the airport. The prices for the ride are fixed. Since 2008 there are two petrol stations on the way from the main road to the bay of Agia Pelagia.
|Movie of a stormy day in Agia Pelagia by fly2greece.net|