Fodele beach is located 26km northwest of Heraklion and just 3km north of the village Fodele, which is believed to be the birthplace of the painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos, widely known as El Greco. The National Road connecting Heraklion and Chania passes beside the beach. It's a nice sandy beach, exposed to north winds and protected on the east by Cape Stavros and on the west by the hill of Kastellos, on top of which there are ruins of the old fort Kastelos. The beach of Fodele is formed at the exit of the river Pantomantris or Fodelianos.
Its western part is very well organized with umbrellas, sun beds, showers, water sports, cafes and taverns. Moreover, on the west slope of the Kastellos hill you’ll see a grand hotel, in front of which there is a small pier. This pier protects swimmers in the western part of the beach. If you want to stay remote you can go to the east part of the beach, near the gas station of the area. It is unorganized and vulnerable to common north winds.
You can combine swimming with a visit to the beautiful village of Fodele, located in a green valley formed on the shores of the river Pantomantris. Fodele, which is built on the site of the old city Pantomatri, takes its name from its first inhabitant. The valley is full with orange and lemon trees, which are famous throughout the island. Inside the village and along the river, there are many taverns, offering traditional food under the shade of many huge plane trees. It is worth walking in the streets of the village and visit the churches of St. George and the Assumption. Just outside the village, you can visit the churches of Annunciation, All Saints, St. George, St. John and Virgin Mary.
The most important information about the region is that Fodele is considered the birthplace of the greatest representative of the Cretan School of Iconography, El Greco (1541-1614). El Greco lived in Crete for 26 years and then he moved to Italy, where he continued drawing next to Titian. He later moved to Toledo, Spain, where he died. His works have Byzantine and ancient Greek influences, combined with Renaissance art. The house where he grew up is located 1km southwest of the village, at position Skotini. It is well reserved and operates as El Greco museum with copies of his works. Near the house, it is worth visiting the very old church of Panagia (Virgin Mary), which is considered to have inspired the great artist. Lastly, an exhibition of El Grecos’ original and reconstructed works and objects from the movie «El Greco» operates in the Bethlehem Gate, of the Venetian Walls of Heraklion city, since 2009.