The Palaiokastro Venetian Fortress is a historical attraction nearby Fodele, on the way to Heraklion. It is one of fourteen fortifications built in 1204 by the Genoese Pescatore who conquered Crete at the time.
The purpose of the Palaiokastro Venetian Fortress was to defend the Bay of Heraklion against enemy invasions. The Palaiokastro was the most important of the castles built by the Genoese Pescatore at the time. Their rule was, however, brief: in 1211, after the Venetians conquered the island, the Genoese had to leave. Part of their favorite fort stands and it is the most important landmark of the village of Palaiokastro.
Because the fortress was built on a rock, access to see it is very difficult. It’s a lovely sight from the beach and if you like to get wet, you can see a lot of its still standing (in particularly good condition) walls on the rock facing the horizon. The castle was probably built on the acropolis of Kytaeon, according to Cretan Beaches. What’s impressive about this particular fortified structure is that the rock is virtually inaccessible from all sides. Yet, many adrenaline junkies climb up the steep and sharp rocks of the northeastern corner of the castle to indulge in spectacular dives.
The Palaiokastro Venetian Fortress stands atop of a small pebbly beach under the national road bridge that passes over the village. The beach itself is scenic offseason but in July and August gets crowded and parking places are scarce. It has many rocks so you should wear appropriate beach shoes, even in the water. It has changing cabins and a shower, however, there are no chairs or umbrellas on the beach. Yet, you can rest at the local taverna, which servers typical Cretan fare and cold drinks and coffee. There’s also a small shop selling snacks and beach essentials.