Discover Agia Pelagia: Top 10 Things To See and Do

Agia Pelagia's Tourist Attractions and Surroundings

 Nestled 25 kilometers west of Heraklion, Agia Pelagia boasts a picturesque setting with pristine sandy shores, azure waters, and a backdrop of rugged cliffs and lush greenery. Its proximity to Heraklion makes it an attractive destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway with easy access to the urban conveniences of the capital. The village also offers various nearby options for those eager to explore rural life, historic monasteries, or the wild beauty of the Cretan mountains.

Whether you're a family building sand castles with the little ones, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or a history buff searching for ancient ruins, Agia Pelagia has it all.

Here are the top 10 most recommended activities in Agia Pelagia:

1. Enjoy the Beach. Agia Pelagia is a sandy beach haven protected from the wind and waves, just a short walk from the center of Agia Pelagia. The beach is a well-organized, narrow strip of sand, equipped with everything you need for a relaxing day by the sea. Also, it boasts a selection of excellent restaurants along its beachfront, providing the perfect ambiance for a memorable dining experience. On the northern side is the Cavity of Evresi, with a shrine where the icon of Saint Pelagia was discovered centuries ago, from which the village got its name.

2. Snorkeling and Diving. Agia Pelagia is a hotspot for its vibrant water sports scene, making it a prime destination for snorkeling and diving thanks to its rich marine life. Whether you choose to snorkel or scuba dive, whatever your experience level, certified instructors provide expert guidance, ensuring your underwater exploration is enjoyable and safe. Immerse yourself in Agia Pelagia's underwater paradise, where adventure awaits beneath the waves!

3. Enjoy a Boat Trip. In Agia Pelagia, you can embark on boat trips and cruises to explore the beautiful coastal area. Boat trips and cruises from Agia Pelagia vary in duration and itinerary. Half-day or full-day excursions give you the opportunity to admire the breathtaking seascapes while exploring hidden coves and secluded beaches accessible only by boat.

 The skippers are often experienced guides who provide information about the local area, its history, and marine life. Depending on the tour, meals and refreshments on board are included, or a visit to a taverna by the sea.

 4. Visit the Savvathiana Monastery, a historic landmark known for its spiritual and architectural significance. Dating back to the 14th century, it features traditional architecture with intricate frescoes and ornate details. The main temple is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Forty Martyrs. 

 The complex includes a cemetery, ossuary, former mill, dining room, guest rooms, nuns' cells, and a water tower. Surrounded by serene gardens, the monastery offers a peaceful atmosphere. Take the chance to venerate the enclosed skull of St. Pelagia and taste the delicious "loukoumi", a nuns' traditional treat.

5. Visit the Monastery of Agia Pelagia. The Saint Pelagia Monastery, a dependency of the Savvathiana Monastery, is situated alongside the stream that leads to Agia Pelagia Beach. Dating back to the 13th century, this monastery held great significance and was renowned among travelers during the Venetian era.

 People from all over Crete and the Aegean Sea would gather to partake in the festivities of Agia Pelagia on October 8th, a tradition that continued until the mid-20th century. The temple no longer functions as a monastery today but is open to visitors.

6. Visit Achlada Village. Achlada is a village located 6,2km west of Agia Pelagia. It sits on a fortified hill with stunning views over the bay of Agia Pelagia. The settlement has a population of 57 residents, mainly farmers and shepherds, known for agricultural activities like vegetable cultivation, olive groves, and vineyards. 

 In medieval times, Achlada was a fortified domain of the Modinos family, strategically built to defend against pirate attacks. Attractions include the double holy temple of Agios Ioannis & Agios Tryfonas, the stone fountains, and the ruins of the village of Kantinos. The Ahlada village has an "eco-hotel" that promotes rural cultural tourism, a restaurant, and a cafe.

7. Visit Fodele, a picturesque traditional village 10 km west of Agia Pelagia. Once the site of the ancient town of Astali, Fodele is popular today and adored by locals and tourists for its rural charm. The village is surrounded by orchards of oranges, tangerines, lemons, and olives, supplying the whole area with fresh agricultural products. Every spring, Fodele hosts a unique culinary festival celebrating oranges, the queen of the fruits in the region. 

 Fodele features a lovely park with a river flowing through it. You'll discover inviting traditional taverns on the riverbanks, perfect for leisurely nature walks and savoring authentic Cretan cuisine. The village thrives with a vibrant trade in souvenirs, traditional products, and local handicrafts. Also, in Fodele you can visit the El Greco Museum, the ancient Byzantine church of Panagia, and the Monastery of Agios Panteleimon, which has a dramatic history within its walls.

8. Visit Rodia Village (or Rodgia), renowned for its stunning vistas of Heraklion City and the Gulf of Heraklion. Elevated and serene, just 9 km south of Agia Pelagia, this mountain village offers a lasting impression of scenic beauty. The 15th-century Modino Mansion, a testament to Rodia's history, showcases intricate design and architectural charm. Formerly the residence of the Venetian feudal lords of the Rodia, Achlada, and Fodele region, the complex includes a villa, a tower, and the magnificent "Panagia tis Rogdia" (Our Lady of Rogdia) church, all preserved in good condition.

 Surrounded by lush greenery, Rodia village serves as a gateway to outdoor adventures, with hiking trails leading to hidden gems. A perfect day trip from Agia Pelagia, it offers a refreshing change of scenery and the opportunity to explore mountains and history.

9. Hiking in Spiliotissa Gorge. West of Rodia village, a small gorge leads to the area of Palaiokastro. The route begins at the old watermill of Koukos, along the main road connecting Rogdia to Achlada Village. Descending into the gorge, you'll encounter the impressive 10m high Rechtra waterfall, accessed by a steep descent with ropes. 

 Along the way, you'll pass small waterfalls, the cavernous chapel of Panagia Spiliotissa, and eventually reach the beautiful beach of Palaiokastro. One remarkable highlight is the cave in the middle of the gorge, transformed into a workshop for painting Christian icons. It's a unique experience to visit the workshop, talk to the painter, admire the icons, and purchase one. From Palaiokastro it is 10 km to go back, by bus, car, or on foot, to Agia Pelagia.

10. Visit Heraklion City and Knossos.  Only half an hour's drive awayHeraklion City offers a vibrant kaleidoscope of history, culture, and modern charm. Take a walk through the streets of the old center, flanked by chic shops, cafes, and historical sights such as Koules - the Venetian fortress in the port, Agios Titos Cathedral, Lodgia - the town hall, Liontaria Fountain or Saint Mina Cathedral!

 Embark on an escapade in the city's cultural scene, by visiting the Museum of Archeology, which houses an impressive collection of prehistoric and ancient artifacts, or the famous archaeological site of the Palace of Knossos, where you can travel back in time and admire the grandeur of the ancient Minoan civilization! From Agia Pelagia, a short escape to Heraklion will give you an unforgettable experience, introducing you to the city's rich heritage and lively atmosphere.

 Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a glimpse into the rich history of this enchanting destination, Agia Pelagia promises to leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul. 

 We hope that this article is helpful to you in getting the most from your vacation in Agia Pelagia! And if you are interested in more, read the article "Agia Pelagia: A Little Pearl On The North Coast / Travel Guide"

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