Fodele Village

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Shady, Cool, Revitalising

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.

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See the location of this village on the handy map below

Fodele Village

Fodele Village - main square (image by dchris)Cool, shady main street of Fodele

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.

Orange Flower in the shady valley

El Greco Museum

Museum of El GrecoThe Birthplace of El Greco on the fringe of Fodele Village

El Greco - Domenikos Theotokopoulos - self portrait

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 original works in the Historic Museum in Heraklion. 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.

More about the biography of El Greco

Historic Church

Byzantine church of Agia Panagia (image by Silvia de Munck)
Byzantine church of Agia Panagia (image by Stavros Markopoulos)

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.

Byzantine church of Agia Panagia (image by Elisa Triolo)

The Taste of Honey

Byron Ayanoglu, an international chef, tells of his experiences whilst living in this village in his book The Taste of Honey, 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.

Exploring Around

The Bembo Fountain in central Heraklion, CreteThe Bembo Fountain in central Heraklion, Crete

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.

To the east again are the ruins of a Venetian fort at Paleokastro, the long sweeping beach of Ammoudara and the capital of Crete, the modern bustling town of Heraklion.

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.

Almyra Cafe Bar in Agia Pelagia - right by the waterAlmyra Cafe Bar - Agia Pelagia 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.

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.

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!

Just outside the village of Axos in the foothills of Psiloritis, is the Enagron Traditional House. 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.

On the Map

Here you will see the location of the village in Crete.

The Fodele Orange Festival

As Fodele is well-known for its beautiful oranges, this festival held every year since 2013 celebrates all things orange.

  • Oranges
  • Orange raki
  • Orange cookies
  • Orange marmalade
  • Orange cakes
  • Orange juices
  • Orange spoon sweets
  • Orange and bergamot essential oils
  • Did we mention the oranges??

Fodele Orange Festival 2013
Fodele Orange Festival 2014
Fodele Orange Festival 2015
Fodele Orange Festival 2016
Fodele Orange Festival 2017
Fodele Orange Festival 2018
Fodele Orange Festival 2019

2023 Festival is coming up on April 2!

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.

Byzantine church of Agia Panagia - rock wall detail (image by Elisa Triolo)

Byzantine church of Agia Panagia - rock and window detail (image by Elisa Triolo)

Getting Here

Take a 1 hour flight from Athens to Heraklion with Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air, with many flights available per day.

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 an easy online booking procedure. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid or non-hybrid vehicles.

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Anastasi & Apostoli - authors of We Love Crete

"We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the team at We Love Crete. Evíva!"

Contact us with further questions or feedback. We love to hear about your travels in Kríti and Greece. Let us know of any updates or additions, errors or omissions. Help us make this website the best it can be. Kaló Taxidí!

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