Picturesque images and serenity transformed into a small village built in a panoramic position on the northern coast of Crete, overlooking a closed bay, protected from north-eastern and northerly winds. Just 20 minutes from the capital city of Heraklion on the road to famous Bali, you will come across one of the most famous beaches of the island and a village with white houses embraced by hills, with the scent of thyme and sage filling the air. Agia Pelagia, with a population of no more than 550 inhabitants, is an ideal base for your stay in Crete, because it is a point from which you can easily reach all major attractions (such as Knossos, Fodele -the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos or El Greco, the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the ancient city of Gortys and the palace of Festos). Near Agia Pelagia, you can visit the scenic Panormos, the beautiful village of Rogdia, Achlada with its panoramic view to the bay of Fodele and Amoudara with its long sandy beach.
At the central beach you will find many cafes, shops, mini market, restaurants or traditional taverns and small bars along the coast while the nearby beaches will captivate you. Do you seek fun and bustling crowds? Or do you rather enjoy tranquillity and solitude? You can find all this at Agia Pelagia, with its unique natural beauty that combines arid mountainous land with olive trees, vineyards and wild herbs and clean, crystal blue sea, awarded with the Blue Flag. Crowning the view and natural beauty is the genuine, warm hospitality offered.
Agia Pelagia does not only stand out for its beaches and nature, but also for its long history, dating back about 2000 years, when it was first cited as the ancient city of Apollonia, a theory later confirmed after the first excavations in 1979. In fact, its location was so privileged that its port was, according to archaeologist A. Evans, one of the best preserved Minoan port sites. Important excavation findings, dating back to 1700 BC and 1300 BC, include the Prytaneio-Andreio (headquarters of the Council of Worlds, the common hearth of the city and an area for the soup kitchens), a Roman water-tower, large water jars, carved chamber tombs, pottery and coins, semi-precious stones and building materials, port facilities and water tanks that were used to supply ships, towers and fortresses, which show the importance of Apollonia during the Hellenistic period.
The city was renamed to Agia Pelagia during Christian times, when the namesake monastery of the patroness saint of the seas was founded. The chapel of Agia Pelagia is located 1 km west of the beach, while in the northwest end of the beach you can find the small cave of Evreseos (discovery), measuring 2.30 x 1.10 x1.70 m, where the icon of Agia Pelagia, one the most famous in Crete, is kept. On the day that Agia Pelagia is celebrated, there is a litany taking place carrying this icon along the beach, up to the cave where priests read the gospel perched on the roof of the cave.
Agia Pelagia continued to be a very important port during the Venetian period and later during the Greek revolution as a point of supply and accumulation of volunteers to fight for the Revolution.