Agia Pelagia spreads around a beautiful, horseshoe-shaped bay with lovely beaches on the northeastern coast of Crete. This former fishing village may have developed into a popular seaside holiday town, but it still retains plenty of authentic charm. Holidays here are centred on the wonderful, sandy beaches, but there are plenty of fantastic places to explore nearby. You could visit the authentic traditional villages just inland, or head to Knossos, legendary home of the Minotaur, to see the spectacular remains of one of the oldest cities in Europe. If you’re in the mood for bright lights and great shopping, jump on a bus to buzzy Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
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Agia Pelagia is a picturesque village on the northern coast of Crete that has developed into a popular and appealing seaside resort. It is set around a breathtaking curved bay, and boasts several wonderful beaches, a host of water sports, and lots of shops, cafés and atmospheric taverns. It’s a great base for exploring eastern Crete, whether you want to explore the timeless and authentic villages in the hills, visit the spectacular monastery of Savathiana, or follow the footsteps of the legendary Minotaur in the ancient site of Knossos. The bustling Cretan capital of Heraklion has plenty of shops and nightlife, as well as a clutch of fascinating sights and museums.
Agia Pelagia has an excellent choice of places to eat and drink, with cuisines from around the world available at prices to suit all budgets. Cretan cuisine is famous throughout Greece, and the island is well known for its abundant fresh produce. You can enjoy all sorts of delicious local dishes, from refreshing salads of plump olives, tomatoes and cucumber topped with mizathra or one of the other famous Cretan cheeses, or dakos, barley rusks with a topping of chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs and local cheese. For a main course, go for some fabulously fresh seafood or lamb braised with wild greens and lemon.
Agia Pelagia is a very popular resort with families, thanks to its winning combination of gorgeous beaches, great facilities, and plenty of child-friendly attractions. The main beach curves around a sheltered bay, which keeps the waters calm enough for even the youngest kids to paddle in safety. There are lots of water sports for adventurous teens, including wind-surfing and scuba diving, and you’ll find all the restaurants are very accommodating to children. Kids will enjoy the boat trips and the fabulous Watercity, which is one of Europe’s biggest water parks. Children who have read Greek myths will love a visit to Knossos to see where the terrifying Minotaur once roamed.
You can enjoy a whole range of water sports in and around Agia Pelagia, whether you want to give wind-surfing a go or fancy snorkelling around the rugged bay. Local diving companies run courses for divers of all levels, and offer excursions to a range of dive sites, including thrilling night-time tours. Crete is a fantastic hiking destination, and there are scores of wonderful trails around Agia Pelagia and in the inland hills. These are particularly beautiful in spring, when the meadows are carpeted with wild flowers. Cavers will be delighted by the many caves to explore on Crete: one of the best is Melidoni, which is about 20 kilometres from Agia Pelagia.
The main beach in Agia Pelagia is a long curve of fine sand overlooking a beautiful, sheltered bay. The calm, crystal-clear waters are ideal for children to paddle in, and there are lots of facilities here, including sun loungers and parasols for rent and a good choice of places to eat and drink within easy reach. You’ll also find plenty of amenities for water sports, from wind-surfing to paddle-boarding. If you want to escape the crowds, you can explore the coast around the resort to discover your own secluded coves. The rugged coastline is particularly good for snorkelling and scuba diving, and there are several local suppliers that offer courses, rent out equipment and run excursions.
Agia Pelagia is a bustling, popular resort and you’ll find lots of atmospheric bars, cafés and taverns to enjoy a few drinks on warm summer evenings. It’s a relaxed, family-friendly resort, and the nightlife reflects the town’s chilled-out pace. If you really want to spend the night clubbing, you should head to Heraklion, the capital of Crete, which is where most of the nightlife in this area is concentrated. There are lots of places to choose from, whether you want to dance under the stars at beach club or party till dawn in one of the city’s mega clubs.
Agia Pelagia is an ideal destination for a romantic holiday if you want beautiful beaches, an atmospheric little town with plenty of places to eat and drink, and enough nightlife to keep things lively without getting too hectic. You can work on your tans on the beach, or explore the surrounding coastline to find a secluded cove for a romantic picnic. Head into the hills to find enchanting villages that have barely been touched by time, where you can enjoy languid lunches under vines and olive trees. If you want some bright lights, then the lively island capital of Heraklion is only a 25-minute drive away, and boasts plenty of shopping along with great nightlife.
The serene monastery of Savathiana is located high in the hills near Rodia, about a 20-minute drive from Agia Pelagi. The monastery was almost completely destroyed by the Turks in the mid-17th century, and reconstruction only took place a century later. This elegant Byzantine monastery is home to a community of nuns that continue to create beautiful embroideries that are sold in the nearby villages. One of the greatest archaeological sights on Crete is located just south of Heraklion: Knossos, one of the oldest cities in Europe, reached the height of its power and influence around 2000BC. The vestiges of its once-magnificent buildings still hint at its former might. According to Greek legend, King Minos lived in the palace of Knossos, where the Minotaur, half man and half bull, roamed in an underground labyrinth until he was killed by Theseus.