Agia Pelagia Crete - the perfect place for a relaxing holiday
The cozy village of Agia Pelagia is located at the north coast of Crete some 20 km from Heraklion. The name Agia Pelagia was taken from a church which is 1 km west of the bay.
Compared with other tourist resorts, Agia Pelagia is a quiet place with picturesque white buildings, bluish-green waters, sandy brown to lush green shades along the shore; an awe-inspiring example of the beauty of Cretan nature and the perfect place for a relaxing holiday on Crete.
Agia Pelagia is built amphitheatrically on the hills and slopes around the shore, creating an even more impressive sight when viewed from above.
The bay is protected from the wave-creating north winds, and the sea is almost always serene. In fact, it is more a community of small villages and beaches, rather than a town, the major of which is the most eastern.
The large deep cove of Agia Pelagia is surrounded by the smaller Ligaria Cove on the east and Mononaftis Bay on the west. West of the main beach there are some quieter beaches with fewer facilities.
Tourism in Agia Pelagia started around 1965. Up until then it was a small port used for shipping wood and coal to Heraklion. Agia Pelagia has developed around its shores, so that's where you'll find many of the hotels, tavernas featuring Cretan, Greek or international cuisine, and cafeterias, all having a beautiful view to the sea.
The center of Agia Pelagia has just about everything you'll need on your holiday: super markets for fresh bread and other local products, a pharmacy and a doctor's office, car and bike rentals, tourism and sightseeing offices, internet cafe and an ATM.
However, there is no intense night life here. There are, of course, a good selection of bars and cafes to enjoy a drink, but Agia Pelagia is mainly for people interested in calm, relaxing sea-side holidays.
The main beach is right in the middle of the bay with a boulevard in the back and splendid rocks to the left; a sandy beach with umbrellas and beach chairs, featuring water sports and diving centres which offer beginner courses.
The bay deepens relatively fast, but in the middle of the beach there is a long and narrow rocky plate which provides a small area safe for children. There is a good selection of tavernas and cafeterias along the beachfront.
To the west of Agia Pelagia is Mononaftis beach, which looks out on a green rock which stands in the sea. A lovely small cove with umbrellas, hotels and restaurants, but it is not protected from the north winds. The beach is beautiful with sand and pebbles, but, here too, the water deepens rapidly.
A quieter beach is Ligaria east of Agia Pelagia; also sandy, with umbrellas and several tavernas. The bay is smaller, but it is also protected from the north winds, and rent-rooms are available.Another quiet beach is Made which can be reached from the Ligaria road.It is not particularly attractive and it is used mainly by the locals for tying up their fishing boats. A big hotel imposes above the bay.
A small beach is on the peninsula of the Capsis Beach Resort; a nice, but tiny beach, with just enough sand for about four or five people. You can get there by swimming or by peddle boat. To find it you must look for an inlet with steep sides and green waters at the centre of the peninsula.
To the east is Psaromoura, a rather small beach, preferred by locals on weekends. There are umbrellas, but it is not protected from the north winds, and the water can get choppy. To find it, continue on the road after the Capsis hotel, but you may have to ask a local for accurate directions.
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How to get to Agia Pelagia:
There are daily buses from and to Heraklion (20 km) but the departure/arrival times are not always exact, and there is no night bus service. So if you plan to visit Heraklion and stay on late, you will have to return by taxi, which costs about 25 euros (2006).