Crete is home to many places that resemble paradise, yet none comes close to the lush and authentic charm of Fodele Village. Located on the northern coast of the island and just a short drive from the capital of Heraklion, Fodele sits just a few kilometers inland from the splendid beach of Fodele, easily reachable even on foot. Surrounded by lovely green groves of olive, orange, mandarin and lemon trees, the village is a verdant oasis, crossed by an enchanting river that runs all year round.
The village of Fodele was once the site of an ancient town called Astali, a sea port for Axios, yet it is mostly known throughout the world as the birthplace of famous painter Dominikos Theotokopoulos or “El Greco”. The museum dedicated to the painter who lived in the 16th century and a superb Byzantine Church of Panagia dating from the 14th century are the main attractions of Fodele. The village is also an authentic destination, with traditional architecture and enchanting handicrafts. The beachside resort of Fodele features a stunning beach with perfect conditions, as well as extremely well developed leisure industry.
Where is Fodele
The village of Fodele is located on the northern coast of Crete, about 30 kilometers west from the capital of Heraklion and about 50 km east of the city of Rethymno. It is one of the most popular destinations on the island for its authentic charm, cultural heritage and awesome beach. It is extremely easy to reach the village with a rental car from Heraklion along the coastal road, while the beachside resort is only 3 kilometers away. The closest major summer resort to Fodele is Agia Pelagia, just a few kilometers away, although this destination gets rather crowded in summer compared to the more relaxed Fodele village.
How to Get to Fodele
Getting to Fodele by Car
You can easily reach Fodele with a car rental from Heraklion airport. The capital of Crete is located just 30 km east of Fodele, with a major road connecting the two places. The trip will usually take you just about 30 minutes. Renting a car in Crete is definitely the best option if you wish to visit some of the amazing destinations close to Fodele, as well as some of the outstanding beaches along the coast. The village has plenty of tourist services available, with more that can be found in nearby Agia Pelagia.
Getting to Fodele by Bus
There are many daily buses connecting the capital of Heraklion and the village of Fodele, although most of them do not enter the village, passing along the coastal road. During the summer season, the frequency can be hourly and the tickets are about 3-5€.
Best Things to Do in Fodele
The village of Fodele is among the most authentic and enjoyable destinations in Crete, a verdant heaven located close to the capital and the superb Mediterranean Coast. It is the perfect mix of cultural heritage and natural escape, birthplace of the famous El Greco and surrounded by green orchards of groves, close to the amazing beach of Fodele.
The beach is about 3 kilometers north of the actual village and can be also reached on foot in less than 30 minutes. Fodele Beach is split into two parts, with the western side well organised and equipped with umbrellas and sun-beds, while the eastern part is wilder and unorganised, usually also less crowded. Next to the western side, there is a large hotel complex and a small pier, while there are several taverns and guesthouses right along the beach.
Returning to the village of Fodele, it is mostly known for its orange and mandarin production, while the locals also make beautiful handicrafts. It is also famous as the birthplace of El Greco, with the El Greco Museum located in a villa about 1 km west of the village. The splendid building dating back to the times of the painter houses amazing reproductions of his works, as well as interesting memorabilia relating to his life and work.
Although he spent most of his life and created his masterpieces in Spain, El Greco never forgot his Cretan origins. Right next to the museum, another fascinating sight of Fodele is the Byzantine Church of Panagia (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary), dating as back as the 12th century, built over an even older Christian basilica. It features superb and unique frescoes dating from the height of this religious art form. The church and the museum are open during the tourist season daily from 9am to 7pm. The village also has an enchanting park, as well as a large old platanos tree in the main square. You can also visit other fascinating sights that are located near the village or along the northern coast of Crete.
Visit the Monastery of Agios Panteleimon
The old monastery of Agios Panteleimon can be reached by driving from the village towards the interior of the island for about 4 km, through small roads flanked by enchanting orange and mandarin groves. The monastery was built in the 16th century, at the end of the Venetian era of Crete and features beautiful architecture. During the Ottoman occupation, the monastery was a revolutionary center and was severely damaged as a result. A visit of this serene place is a truly insightful and rewarding experience.
Discover the ruins of the Turkish Towers
During the Ottoman occupation, this area of Crete was considered of great importance and many defensive towers were built in high locations along the coast. There are many ruins around Fodele from these towers that are known as koules. You can visit the ruins of several koules that are located nearby, including Kelia Koules located above Fodele Beach, the Kokkinos Pirgos located on a hill towards Achlada and Kastelos Koules which is best preserved.
Visit the Monastery of Savvathiana
Built in a sheltered natural position at about 440 meters altitude, the old monastery of Savvathiana (or Savatiana) dates back to the Venetian period. It is located near Rogdia, about 20 kilometers east of Fodele. The monastery used to be one of the most important on the island during the Ottoman occupation. Today, it is an inspiring destination, offering fascinating sights like the small Church of St. Anthony, a newer Church of Savatiano, an old stone bridge and other beautiful corners.
Explore the Santorinios Gorge
The short but wild and spectacular canyon of Santorinios is less known due to its difficult accessibility. It is located south of Fodele, near the village of Marathos, and it can be explored by crossing the stream and several ponds, reaching amazing natural wonders. With stunning waterfalls and ponds, the remains of an old mill and high cliffs, this is a veritable adventure experience.
Discover other beaches close to Fodele
Although the beaches of Fodele are perfectly fine for anyone who wishes to relax and practice engaging water activities, you can explore other splendid beaches located along the central northern coast of Crete. The resort of Agia Pelagia is located about 15 km west of Fodele and has a really long beach with all the necessary amenities.
Other wonderful beaches towards Heraklion include the long sandy Ligaria beach, the small rocky Mades beach or the endless Ammoudara beach. Towards the west from Fodele Beach, there are other smaller but more secluded beaches that are worth visiting, like the remote Korakia, Pera Galini or Aliki beaches.
Where to Stay in Fodele, Crete
Inside the village of Fodele, there are only a few accommodation options, with several guesthouses and apartments to rent. Right next to Fodele Beach, there is a large hotel complex with over 400 guestrooms, several swimming pools and other amenities, as well as a few hotels along the coastal road. If you cannot find accommodation in or near Fodele, there are plenty in the resort of Agia Pelagia, just 15 km away.
Fodele Beach Hotel and Waterpark Holiday Resort
This superb complex is located right next to the beach of Fodele, with hundreds of elegant and charming rooms divided among many buildings and surrounded by gardens. There are also three amazing swimming pools, a waterpark, sports activities, wellness center, as well as several restaurants and bars.
☏ +30 2810 522000
Orange Apartments Fodele
Located right next to the Fodele Beach, this accommodation offers quality apartments with balconies right on the beach. The rooms are basic and have cheap prices.
Fontana Apartments Fodele
Located right in the center of the village, the Fontana Apartments offer rooms with private bathrooms balconies, kitchenettes and other amenities.
☏ +30 2810 251758
Where to Eat in Fodele
To Giasemi Tavern
Lovely family-owned tavern located right in the heart of Fodele Village and offering delicious traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes, including the most amazing lamb chops, as well as handmade Orange raki drinks.
website / facebook
☏ +30 2810 521207
Located right on the Fodele Beach, this tavern is extremely appreciated by its guests, serving fresh Mediterranean and Greek food, with delicious seafood dishes and other delicacies.
website / facebook
☏ +30 2810 521082
El Greco Tavern
Nice little family restaurant located right in the center of Fodele Village. It offers delicious traditional food, including seafood, pork and lamb dishes.
☏ +30 694 408 4616
website / tripadvisor
Best Time to Visit Fodele
The northern coast of Crete has sunshine for most of the year, maybe except several months of winter when it is too cold for most travel activities. Considering that the island is a popular destination during the peak summer season, with crowded beaches, the best time to visit Fodele is during spring (April-June) or autumn (September-October). These periods also have lower prices for accommodation and restaurants, as well as lower temperatures for hiking and other activities.