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Fodele Φόδελε is a charming village 30 km west of Heraklion on the island of Crete in Greece. It is set back a little inland from the coast. In fact, it is on the river in a lush green valley, and known for its shade and greenery. Fódele Beach, 4 km from the village, is a small beach resort.
The village is set in a valley full of groves of oranges, lemons and mandarins. Everything grows here, but most of all the oranges, their scent and bright colours bursting all over the valley. The river Pandomandri flows throughout the year.
Many locals come to eat at tavernas by the running waters of the river, under the shade-giving platanos trees.
Don't miss the walkway by the river, enjoy the shady cool drossia and relax by the soothing waters.
There are a few tavernas with local traditional Cretan food, visited by Herakliots, a nice place to relax, especially at the height of summer, with the cicadas singing their song and the heat gets too hot on the beach.
El Greco - Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born in Fódele in 1541. A renaissance painter who came to fame in Spain, he studied in Greece and Italy before establishing his reputation in Toledo and staying there until his death in 1614.
A plaque from the University of Valladolid honouring Theotokopulos is prominent in the main street of the village.
There is also the Museum of El Greco in the house said to be his birthplace, on the outskirts of the village. It has no original paintings by El Greco, as these are dotted all around the world. There are some lovely reproductions to see and plenty about the artist - the museum is open from April to October.
This small display in the little house, tells the story of his life, and along with the Byzantine church nearby, makes an interesting morning or afternoon excursion into the history of Crete.
There are some original works in the Historic Museum in Heraklion.
See the location of the El Greco Museum of Fodele on the map below.
The Byzantine church of Agia Panagia (above) from 11th Century and the Monastery of Agios Panteleimon are also interesting highlights of visiting this pretty village, where much of the history of Kríti is encapsulated.
The frescoes of the mid-Byzantine era inside the Agia Panagia are of interest to those studying this art form, and these icons are respected from the height of the ascendance of this religious form.
The Monastery of Agios Panteleimon is located 4 km south of the village, and dates from the last Venetian occupation of Crete, somewhere around 1660, it is built as a sturdy fortress and reflects the violent times of external forces including pirates, attacking the island. After some restorations, it is now possible to visit to view the 17th century icons, remember this is an active monastery and be respectful of this quiet religious place.
Byron Ayanoglu, an international chef, tells of his experiences whilst living in this village in his book The Taste of Honey also known as Crete on the Half Shell, about his return to Crete from Canada.
This hilarious memoir is a travel narrative and soul searching repatriation story all rolled up into a good hearted tragi-comedy.
A good read, this is warmly recommended, lighthearted reading.
The small cove of Fodele Beach is 4 km from the village, and is dominated by a large family resort with water park, as well as the national road which is routed directly next to the beach.
A short drive away is Agia Pelagia Beach, with Mononaftis, Psaromoura, Kladissos and Agia Pelagia beaches close together and Ligari and Mades Beaches are slightly to the east. Wonderful beaches to choose from everyday and everything you could want from a Greek seaside village. One of our favourite seaside bar cafes is Almyra (pictured below), for its location right next to the water and tempting combination of cafe-bar-restaurant with rustic chic style.
There is so much to explore in the Heraklion Region, including the most popular attraction on the island of Crete, the ancient site of the Palace of Knossos. A drive from the village to Knossos is only 32 km, with wineries and olive farms to explore after the historic interlude. Perhaps stop for lunch in the village of Archanes.
To the west on the national road, only 26 km are the many beautiful bays of Bali, and west again 10 km the pretty seaside village of Panormos, with seafood tavernas overlooking the little harbour. Further along is the Venetian Old Town of Rethymnon, which is full of history, great shopping, architecture and cafes, as well as seafood tavernas. To the east of the town lies a wide sandy beach - Rethymnon Beach.
There are plenty of accommodation options in the village and at Fodele Beach, with resorts, domatia and apartments. Nearby Agia Pelagia Beach and coves has plenty of accommodation, if you are looking for accommodation inland, the village of Achlada has some good places to stay.
In Agia Pelagia, choose opulence at the Out of the Blue Resort on the point, with its own private beaches and variety of services, several dining options and a spa, this is one of the prettiest luxury resorts in Crete.
"Great location close to Heraklion with nice beaches and attentive staff. Excellent food prepared to high standards with fresh local ingredients. The staff at the Safran and Sea salt & Rosemary restaurants know the meaning of greek “Filoxenia” and made our stay more enjoyable and memorable. The staff really go above and beyond. Also, depending on which room (suite) you book, you will have a private cabana reserved in a VIP section of the hotel’s beach which is a nice bonus."
The Mourtzanakis Residence is a B&B set in the hills inland from the coast of Agia Pelagia, just 10 km from Fodele village. With expansive views and home cooking, this is a laid back choice for a healthy holiday with a real Cretan experience.
"We would definitely recommend staying at this beautiful place. It is an oasis of nature in an very small town with the most amazing view of the sunset and mountains. We had some great days staying at one of the apartments. The pool gives you a nice refreshment during the hot summer days and the apartment was clean, spacious and had everything we needed. The residence is run by Marcos and Valerianos, father and son, who are amazing people with very kind hearts. They made our stay on Crete so special and Valerianos makes great freddo cappuccino and Greek coffees! We hope to come back some day."
The Stone Village Hotel is set back in the country inland from the beautiful Bali Beaches, 25 km west of Fodele village. With lovely expansive views and delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you might not want to leave!
"Welcoming was great and we felt very special uppon our arrival. Hotel is great, breakfast and dinner were amazing, with a varieté of choice. All the staff were very nice to us, and this helped us relax and felt comfortable during our entire stay."
Enagron Traditional Village - just outside the village of Axos in the foothills of Psiloritis. This set of village houses, built in the traditional Cretan stone and wood style give, have the complete experience of village life, with cooking lessons, food fresh from the farm and surrounded by nature.
"The food was outstanding. The rooms were spacious and quirky (right up our street) and the view from the pool was amazing. We did a morning cookery course as well where we picked vegetables from the garden and cooked a sumptuous lunch with the owners daughter-in-law. Truly wonderful stay."
Saveriako Eco Farm
is a paradise for relaxed free spirits. Just 12 km from Fodele and 2 km from Agia Pelagia. Chill out in a
rural setting with quirky designs and up-cycling all around you.
Different styles of rooms and accommodation are on offer.
Guests can enjoy meals prepared with organic products. Cooking classes can be are offered - arranged upon request.
“Excellent location - fantastic view - with great attention to detail and very thoughtfully designed accommodation - stylish sustainable, perfect facilities - great hosts - all the best!! Saveriako is a brilliant cook!!”
"The place where we felt most at home. The house is invested down to the smallest details. The pleasant breeze welcomed us on the balcony with a sea view. Close to the promenade, the supermarket and simple and pleasant beaches. The host is Italian with a knack for cooking and joie de vivre. Must order dinner with him!"
Here you will see the location of the village in Crete.
As Fodele is well-known for its beautiful oranges, this festival held every year since 2013 celebrates all things orange.
As with every celebration in Crete, there is always loads of good food, dancing and local pride. Get your dancing shoes on and get down there - it is held on different dates in March or April.
Or take a 9.5 hour overnight ferry from Pireaus port of Athens to Heraklion port.
More on flights and ferries below.
To find you way to the little village of Fodele, arrive into Athens then take a flight or a ferry to Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
From there take the local bus or drive a hire car just 32 km from the airport.
Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.
When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.
"We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the team at We Love Crete. Evíva!"
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