Traditional Cretan villages in Heraklion: Fodele, the village and landscape

⏩ Fodele, a scenic village about 20 kilometers to the west of Heraklion, is located in a picturesque small valley with lush vegetation, orange groves, olive trees, and water resources. The village is mentioned in Venetian-period written sources, even from the middle of 13th century. The prosperous area however was inhabited from previous periods, as the archaeological remains indicate. Moreover, during the first half of the 20th century some scholars proposed that a famous Greek painter who became famous for his work in Spain in the 16th century, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), was born in Fodele. This hypothesis fostered the development of Fodele as a touristic destination, however is not proven (Spanakis, 2006).

The Byzantine-period church of Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.

The El Greco Museum.

⇑ Pros: scenic place, view, authentic Cretan food, sense of living like a local.

 Cons: as in almost every other Cretan village, renovation and redevelopment works, as well as construction of modern day concrete buildings affected to a certain degree the authenticity of the place, especially in the lower part of the valley.

⇨ Where to go / what to do: 

  • Food, coffee and drinks, wander in the valley around the village,
  • head to the Byzantine church of Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (dated to 11th-12th centuries, built on the site of a previous Basilica of Late Antiquity), 
  • and the nearby Museum dedicated to El Greco, housed into a vernacular building (the museum exhibits reproductions of his work, Apr-Oct, 09:00-17:00, admission 2 euros; don't miss a coffee in the coffee shop there!), 
  • or ascent to the Venetian-period monastery of St Panteleimon.

St. Panteleimon monastery.

Part of the interior of the El Greco Museum.

🔝 Best time to visit:  All over the year, especially on the third Sunday of March when the local festival for oranges is taking place.

The March festival for oranges.

Goal for the next visit: try to visit more local taverns and ascent to an Ottoman-period fortress on a hilltop near the village!

For further information or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us:

Bibliography: Spanakis, S. (2006). Towns and villages of Crete over the centuries. Volumes I & II. Heraklion: Detorakis (3) [In Greek].

🔃 What do you think about this place? Feel free to leave a comment below!