Fodele is a small village with some hundred inhabitants on the Greek island Crete. Fodele is the possible hometown and birthplace of the world famous painter El Greco. In Fodele there is today a small museum with an interesting exhibition of copies (reproductions) of famous pictures of El Greco. Opposite the museum is a small, famous chapel. In the village there are some taverns and shops where mostly local, older ladies sell traditional handicrafts. Fodele is situated in a green valley through which a small river flows. The village is easy to reach by car, only 3 kilometres from an exit of the Rethimno / Heraklio expressway.
El Greco Museum Fodele
The small museum is well signposted. Approximately in the middle of the village you turn right at a sign coming from the expressway. After about a kilometre you reach the small museum among trees with oranges and lemons.
The entrance fee is low. In April 2017 we paid 2,20 Euro, smaller children do not have to pay admission.
In about 4 rooms you can see illuminated copies of well-known paintings by the painter El Greco. In another room you can see a replica workroom of the famous artist. Almost all the paintings are scenes from the Bible or at least Christian motifs.
By the way, it is very controversial whether El Greco really has the birthplace Fodele. It is now considered much more likely that he was born in the capital of Crete Heraklion (then Candia), probably in 1541. As a young man El Greco emigrated to Italy, later to Spain. He died in Tolendo, not too far from Madrid, in 1614. His real name was by the way very Greek: Domínikos Theotokopoulos, (Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος).
In front of the museum there is a very relaxed cafe (open air) where coffee, tea and above all freshly squeezed orange juice made from delicious Fodele fruit are served.
The Fodele Chapel
Just 50 metres from the El Greco Fodele Museum there is a small, very famous chapel. It is a Byzantine cross-domed church from the late Middle Ages.
The place Fodele
The actual village centre is a few metres after the turn-off to the museum. You should park your car and walk through the village. Many shops offer local handicrafts such as tablecloths. Other shops also offer souvenirs.
Some taverns and cafes are well visited by tourists in the summer with rental cars. In our opinion the food and drinks in Fodele for the north coast of Crete are rather cheap and of good quality.
There's a stream running through the village. Behind the centre there is a small bridge in a green park, on the other side there is a nice playground for children (swings and the like).
The area above Fodele is mountainous and very green (forest), ideal for hiking.
Is it worth going to Fodele?
We think: There are certainly more important sights on Crete than the museum and village of Fodele. Nevertheless, a side trip of 1-2 hours is worthwhile, if one drives straight past on the expressway.
By bus to Fodele
You can get off a bus from Rethymno to Irraklio and walk the 2-3 kilometers. There is another kilometre to the museum and the chapel. We have not found a bus timetable to the village of Fodele. Probably there are only few connections like school buses to the next village with school..
There's a beach on the other side down by the expressway. There is a very large hotel, as far as we know an all-inclusive facility. Along the expressway there are some more taverns. But it is certainly more romantic to stop up in the village of Fodele.