Mades is a small bay 20 km west of Heraklion located in the coastal settlement of the same name. The beach is pebbly, the water clear and a beautiful seabed is there for underwater exploration, so don’t forget to bring your mask. This is a popular area, but much less crowded than nearby Agia Pelagia, with all the amenities and infrastructure visitors will need. In the village you will find lovely tavernas, shops, and various accommodation options. Alternatively, you can also visit one of the nearby settlements for food, coffee and a swim.
To get to Mades from Heraklion, take the main north-coast road west out of the city, and turn off right after Ammoudi, when you see the sign. Some of the other beaches in the area are Agia Pelagia, Lygaria, Parasfoungario and Trypiti as well as Psaromoura and Mononaftis further to the north. The area is popular with families as it is very close to Heraklion and the airport, but is quieter and retains the laid back Cretan charm that visitors have come to love and expect. Do not miss a visit to the village of Fodele, on the western side of the bay, and Fodele beach that is known for its stunning sunsets. In the village, visitors can explore the pottery workshop “Keramos” that has been operating for 20 years and showcases Cretan art and traditions. The village is the homeland of Dominikos Theotokopoulos, also known as “El Greco“. There is a small museum dedicated to the painter’s life, where you can get a better idea of his influences during his youth. Whether you prefer to lounge by the beach or explore cultural and archaeological sites, there are plenty of attractions to keep visitors occupied. If you haven’t already, you should also aim to visit the Palace of Knossos, one of the most popular archaeological sites in the country. In the area you will also find various hiking trails and routes that cross small gorges. Only 8 km to the south, we find the gorge of Spiliotissa. Here you will find a cave that houses a small church and various religious icons painted by a local artist.