The scruff island of Folegandros is very different from other Greek islands. It has a rocky mountain feel with desert like spots and high cliff formations on its coast. The peanut shaped island is almost 13 km long and only 1,1 km wide on the smallest part and is only reachable by boat, with Santorini and Paros being the closest airports. There are no cruise ships docking here and therefore it is not overcrowded. It has a discrete, posh and in a way an authentic, unhurried atmosphere. More or less, everything is happening in Chora, one of the three villages of the island.
Fly to Santorini or Paros and take a ferry to Folegandros. Alternatively, the ferry from Athens to Folegandros will take 5 to 6 hours, depending on the service. All ferries arrive at the port of Karavostasis. Other than a few lodgings this village has not much to offer, not even an ATM. We suggest you settle in Chora or its surroundings.
Your hotel will pick you up on arrival at the port. The cost of renting a car left us a little traumatized, so we finally decided to share a scooter at a cost of 40 € a day. If you do the same, make sure your bike has enough power to bring two adults up the hill. There is also an infrequent bus service operating on the island and a few taxis. But getting around is more fun with your own scooter. We recommend Folegandros Moto rent in Chora.
As we prefer accommodation with a homely feel instead of a hotel room,Aeri Studios was perfect for us. Prepare your own breakfast with Greek yoghurt and fresh, sweet peaches or order breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea. Another option is the Hotel Anemomilos Apartments, located directly on the edge of the cliff in Chora and is also a perfect place to stay.
If you want to be away from it all, the Blue Sand Hotel and Suites in Agkali is a good option. Walk down the few steps for a morning swim in the glittering sea. Be aware that you need a car when you stay here as all nightlife is happening in Chora and driving around with a scooter at night can be hazardous.
Park your car at Agkali beach, put on your sneakers instead of your flip flops and hike the little path leaving Agkali up to your right. After a picturesque 10 minutes’ hike, you will reach the little pebble beach of Galifos. Ignore it and continue another 15 minutes and you will be rewarded with the wonderful Agios Nicolas beach. Little pine trees offer shade to the sun worshippers. During the small hike, you have several spots for the perfect Instagram shot. The beach is partially nudist, which is not uncommon on the Greek islands.
Ready for a wonderful daytrip? On your way to Karavostasis port make a stop at the little bakery next to Kalinos Restaurant, fill your hampers with Greek delights and be sure to grab enough water and sunblock. For 10 € return a water shuttle will bring you from Karavostasis to Katergo Beach. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Cycladic islands and is an excellent place for swimming. With good skills, swim to the Katergo rock across the beach but be aware of the currents and boats.
The third beach we recommend is the Livadaki beach which can only be reached by boat from Agkali or a 40 minutes’ hike from Ano Mera. Here too, you can enjoy pristine waters and a clean pebble beach. As in Katergo beach, there are no sunbeds nor umbrellas so be sure to be well equipped when you head here.
Enough of decorated plates? Why not try Mama’s Pita Souvlaki Housein Chora. The food is always fresh, served quickly and with a smile as the staff serve you authentic Greek Souvlaki with a twist. Seats are limited so you may get take away or just sit somewhere nearby and enjoy the food.
Operated by a French owner Blue Cuisine offers nice and delicious alternatives to Saganaki and Greek salad. Try the tender beef fillet or Ceviche on the terrace with a view of the church.
Just around the corner is Eva’s Garden, which really feels like the garden of Eden, and the food is excellent. If only the service had been a bit better it would really have felt like paradise.
If you prefer a refreshing garden setting, don’t miss Pounta, a hidden gem in a backyard and worth visiting for their fresh breakfast.
Up for an adventure? Take your car or scooter and drive all the way to Ano Mera or go directly on your way home from the beach to restaurant Flora Mimi’s. If you head that direction you might enjoy the sunset at Chrisopigi church at the end of the road. Octopuses lined up to dry will greet you as you enter. Eat with the locals, listen to traditional folk music and enjoy this authentic local tavern, though we found the service to be a little rude.
On your way to Agios Nicolas beach you will walk through the Papalagi Seafood restaurant. Make sure to reserve a table with a view for lunch before settling at the beach. Fish is delivered fresh daily with a cablecar from the pier to the restaurant. If you are too lazy to walk up again, enjoy your fresh fish from the charcoal fire on the terrace of St. Nikolas tavern on the beach. Super friendly staff and coffee to go will make you survive your beach day.
Enjoy a hot Rakomelo while seeing and being seen at the lovely little bar Astarti with a Greek influenced playlist. Make new friends on the common shared tables outside and enjoy the evening under the starry sky.
A not to be missed activity is the hike up to Moni Panagias Church (Church of Our Lady), near Chora for sunset. Be sure to get here early before sunset to secure the best seat for a breathtaking view over the whole island. If you arrive early enough, light a candle inside the church and ask for some absolution.
Good to know
Due to its topography, the island can be very windy, be sure to pack a windbreaker and a light pullover.