Achlada Village

Achlada village: An example that times change

Achlada is one of the villages closest to Heraklion. It gets its name from the wild pear tree known as ahladia that grows in the area. Ahlada is situated on a fortified hill above the bay of Agia Pelagia, in a beautiful setting. Despite its proximity to Heraklion, Ahlada has practically become a ghost village after many years of continuous use. Almost the whole western portion of the town, as well as the core, is made up primarily of empty residences. While going through the village’s incredibly tiny alleyways, it is clear that the village was designed like a fort to defend against attacks, particularly by pirates.

Almost all of the inhabited residences are located on the village’s east side, beneath the beautiful two-aisled church of St. John the Baptist  and Saint Tryfonas with its carved iconostasis which was addes at 1860. According to the 2011 census data, the population of the village amounts to 57 permanent residents, who are mostly farmers and shepherds. The settlement was deserted due to the rapid rise of the beaches of Agia Pelagia and Lygaria, which are located on the village’s outskirts. The growth of tourism encouraged the villagers to relocate to the sea and become entrepreneurs in tourism in just a few years. Unfortunately, this resulted in the deterioration and destruction of the seashore region.

Church of St. John the Baptist and saint tryfonas

Other things that you can visit are the stone fountains (“Krini“) of Achlada (the oldest of which was built in 1746—one of the most impressive on Crete—and the most recent in the early 20th century), and the ruins of the village of Kantinos (with 48 houses, 5 churches, and 2 windmills) are also worth seeing.

Fountain (Krini) of Achlada

This destination can be added to your list just before a day at the beach since Lygaria beach and Agia Pelagia beach are connected to Achlada village by history and people. Both great seaside destinations full of activities, restaurants and caffeterias.

Photos featuring achlada village

How to Get There

Achlada village is located 23 kilometers from Heraklion city. You can rent a car from heraklion to get there which will take you around 25-30 minutes. By public transportation you can get a but from the central bus station in Heraklion to take you to Agia Pelagia beach and then by taxi or a rented car you can go and visit the destination. It’s located 6.2 kilometers from the beach.


It might not fill the eyes but actually Achlada village is a great destination up in the mountain with great panoramic vies of the sea and the destinations we mentioned above. It is a prime example of how time changes and the needs of the people that got them out of the village. You can witness history just by walking through the narrow streets and talking with residents that left behind.


Timing is key!
We suggest an early start to catch the colors of the sky in the morning or later in the afternoon to catch the sunset.
Comfortable Clothing!
Wear comfortable hiking shoes and appropriate clothing for exploring the village and the surrounding areas. The terrain can be uneven, so sturdy footwear is essential.
Explore Cautiously!
Some of the village's buildings and structures may be in a state of disrepair. Be cautious when exploring, and avoid entering any unstable buildings to ensure your safety.
Enjoy the Scenic Views!
Achlada offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Take some time to relax, enjoy the scenery, and appreciate the tranquil atmosphere of this ghost village.
Achlada offers fantastic photo opportunities with its picturesque ruins and scenic surroundings. Also, if your type of photography is human-centered, you can always take pictures of the locals gardening, etc. Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the unique beauty of the ghost village.
Respect the Village!
Achlada is a place with a rich history and cultural significance. Treat the remains of the village with respect and do not disturb or remove any artifacts or structures. Leave everything as you found it to preserve its historical value.

Destinations near achlada village

More options for nearby locations to plan your vacations better!


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