Agia Pelagia: A Little Pearl on The North Coast / Travel Guide

A Lovely Destination For Families And Couples 

Just 23 km northwest of Heraklion, Agia Pelagia is one of the resorts on the north coast that has benefited from the recent development and promotion of tourism in the area. This old fishing village became a lively holiday destination boasting an amphitheater-shaped bay with many small beaches. The convenient distance from the city, the relaxed atmosphere, and the varied range of attractions make it a favorite destination for families with children, but also for older couples.

In this mini-guide, we offer you some interesting information, such as:
  • Agia Pelagia At-a-Glance
  • Beaches
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • In and Around
  • How To Get To Agia Pelagia
  • Other Useful Information
Welcome to Agia Pelagia!

Agia Pelagia At-A-Glance 

 Agia Pelagia was just a small and picturesque fishing village for a long time. The only inhabitants were the residents of nearby Achlada village, who primarily worked in agriculture and animal husbandry. However, in the 1970s, the area’s natural beauty began to attract significant attention, and Agia Pelagia quickly became a beloved holiday destination for locals and foreigners alike. Today, the village resort has about 480 residents - most with small family businesses in hospitality and tourist services.

 The village took its name from the Monastery of Agia Pelagia, located 1 km west, on the side of the stream that flows into the sea close to the beach. The monastery, dating back to the 13th century, held great significance during the Venetian period in Crete and later became affiliated with the Monastery of the Sebbathians (Savvathiana) near Rodgia.

 The area is steeped in history, with fascinating archaeological sites, including post-Minoan graves and the University (Prytaneion) of the 4th century B.C.  At the north end of Agia Pelagia Bay, remnants of excavations of the Hellenistic town of Apollonia can still be seen. Also, the cave shrine of Evresi lies just below the ruins of the ancient town, where locals are said to have found the holy icon of Agia Pelagia.

 The central beach is a long but narrow strip of sand lined with sunbeds. Along the promenade that borders the beach is a row of bars and restaurants with traditional cuisine and seafood, and a diving center. Besides the central bay beach, several smaller beaches with sand or gravel are accessible by foot or boat in the resort area.

 Dining options are plentiful - from fast food canteens to traditional taverns and international restaurants. The resort center is sprinkled with bars, cafes, shops, and boutiques, inviting for a leisurely stroll along its winding streets.

 With a hint of history and natural beauty,  Agia Pelagia offers you a rural-style retreat by the sea if you feel the need to escape. Surrounded by mountains and hills, this resort is conveniently located in the heart of Crete, allowing you to explore rural life and other parts of the island while enjoying your vacation.


The main beach of Agia Pelagia is a stretch of golden pebbly sand framed by crystal-clear turquoise waters. With its convenient location and picturesque surroundings, it serves as the focal point for beachgoers and visitors to the area. The beach offers a range of facilities, including sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sports activities, ensuring that visitors have everything they need for a relaxing and enjoyable day by the sea. Being protected from the wind, it is favorable for swimming, jet skiing, and diving.

 Apart from the central beach of Agia Pelagia, the most beautiful beaches where you can enjoy the sun and relax are Mononaftis, Lygaria, Kladissos, Mades, Psaromoura, Fylakes, and Fodele. A few more beaches are hidden among the rocks that can only be accessed by boat or on foot with proper footwear.


 Visitors to Agia Pelagia can choose from a variety of accommodation options. There are hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals to suit every budget and preference. 
Hotels with luxury services provide modern facilities, panoramic views, a peaceful atmosphere, and fitness and spa facilities. Private villas and apartments allow you a personalized experience, with facilities such as equipped kitchen, garden with terrace, and private pool, along with the freedom to organize your holiday independently. 

 Many hotels and apartments are conveniently located near the sea, offering you quick access to the beach and local attractions. However, the main thing to keep in mind when selecting your accommodation is the distance from the beach. There are steep hills that start just beyond the beachfront, so we recommend being no further than 300-400 meters from the seaside.


  Agia Pelagia is a haven for food lovers, offering many dining options. From traditional Cretan cuisine to international flavors, you can embark on a gastronomic journey and enjoy this charming coastal town's vibrant food and drink scene. 

 The Central Beach is lined with tavernas and restaurants, allowing you to taste the delicious Greek cuisine while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Whether you choose a leisurely lunch or a romantic dinner, the ambiance of the setting will enhance your dining experience.

 Agia Pelagia is renowned for its fresh fish and seafood. You can immerse yourself in the flavors of the Mediterranean with locally sourced fish, squid, octopus, clams, and shellfish, expertly prepared by talented chefs. Also, you can experience the essence of Crete's culinary heritage at local tavernas that serve up mouth-watering mezes and dishes infused with aromatic herbs and olive oil. 

 Most restaurants cater to all dietary preferences, offering diverse options for vegetarians and vegans. You will always find salads and plant-based creations highlighting the Cretan culinary creativity and commitment to fresh, locally grown products. Beyond Cretan dishes, many restaurants offer a fusion of tastes and eclectic cuisine.

Best Things To Do And Places To Visit 

 A variety of boat trips and tours, provide opportunities to explore the coastline, discover hidden gems, and enjoy the thrill of navigating the waters. Whether you prefer guided tours or renting your boat, there are options to suit different preferences and interests, including fishing trips, sailing adventures, and scenic routes. Also, you can enjoy activities such as diving, snorkeling, and beginner courses offered by diving centers. 

 In Agia Pelagia, you can visit historical sites like the post-Minoan graves and the 4th-century B.C. University (Pritanion) and the cave (chapel) called "Evresi" next to the beach where the icon of Agia Pelagia was discovered.

Amidst the embrace of mountains and hills, Agia Pelagia's strategic location truly makes it a gem in the heart of Crete. This idyllic coastal town is an excellent hub for further exploration, with its convenient connectivity to other attractions.

 Nearby places of interest include Fodele Village with its long sandy beach, Psaromoura Beach, and Mononaftis Beach, while several tours and day trips available through the travel agencies include visits to the historic Knossos Palace, Zeus Cave, traditional villages, and the Lassithi Plateau.

 Whether you wish to venture into the stunning mountainous landscapes, visit charming traditional villages, or uncover ancient archaeological sites, Agia Pelagia provides a convenient and picturesque starting point for your adventures.

                                                        How to Get To Agia Pelagia

 Agia Pelagia is located on the national road that crosses the island from east to west and is 25 km from Heraklion airport. If you have not included the transfer in the vacation package from the agency, you can opt for the following options:

Shuttle Bus: You can take a shuttle from Heraklion Airport to Agia Pelagia. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes, and the bus operates hourly.

Public Bus: Another option is to take a public bus from Heraklion to Agia Pelagia. The bus service is provided by KTEL Chanion-Rethymnou S.A. and operates regularly. The local bus station in Heraklion for departures to Agia Pelagia is located at Hanioporta, near the old city walls. Please check this link for more information.

Taxi or Private Transfer: For speed and comfort, you can take a taxi from the airport or pre-arrange with the hotel a private transfer, which you will pay at the destination.

 It's important to note that the availability and schedules of transportation options may vary, so it's recommended to check with local transportation providers or consult official travel websites for up-to-date information.

Other Useful Information

 Agia Pelagia has the essential services and modern facilities to make your stay enjoyable. From bank offices and ATM cash dispensers, doctors' offices and pharmacies to barbers, beauty salons or massage parlors, supermarkets and shops for shopping, intercity bus lines, and taxi and car rental services  - everything you need is at hand.

 With its strategic location on the island's heart, Agia Pelagia beckons you to explore the stunning landscapes, charming traditional villages, and ancient archaeological sites that await.  From Agia Pelagia, there are buses to Heraklion and other destinations such as Chania and Rethymno. These bus lines offer you a cheap and efficient way to explore the surrounding areas and enjoy day trips on your own.

 Are you ready to explore your next Cretan paradise?

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