1. Welcome to Folegandros Island
You will enjoy the beautiful, traditional Cycladic architecture as well as the fantastic mountain and sea views on the island of Folegandros. The island of Folegandros reminds us a lot of the island of Santorini because here, we will also find the main village of the island which is known as Chora built upon a cliff overlooking the ocean. A beautiful area named Chora, that was untouched by the great earthquake and the years, a village where you walk through the picturesque narrow streets and alleys and if you close your eyes for a second you might believe that you have traveled back in time to the Middle Ages. The island of Folegandros does not only own the beautiful village of Chora but also the village of Karavostasi, the small port with its crystal clear waters, the golden sand of Angkali beach and the caves that have been formed in the area as well as many isolated beaches and rocky caves that you can visit either by foot or by a boat trip.
Folegandros is a small island, just 32 km2 with just 600 inhabitants. The island lies between Sikinos and Milos. It is a mountainous island, very rocky; the tallest mountain on Folegandros is Ayios Eleftherios (455m) located on the south of Folegandros here in the northern part of the island another mountain, Merovigli just 312m. Due to the rocky ground, the historian Aratos, he called Folegandros the island of the iron.
Folegandros has three small villages, Karavostasi (the port), the Chora, Ano Meria and Agali Beach that are connected by paved roads. What catches the eye immediately is the endless series of “dry-placed” walls that have been erected over the centuries by the inhabitants to create terraces on the sunny slopes of the territory to be able to raise cereals. Folegandros Chora, closed to car and motorcycle traffic, has a unique “center” of three squares in a row, with trees under which to enjoy a drink or food in a quiet, romantic atmosphere. In the gentle breeze passing through the small streets, you may feel the perfume of lime trees or of the local (exceptional) bread. Bougainvillea and hibiscus color the small wooden balconies around the Kastro (XIII century). At Folegandros, the church of Panayia, on the top of a hill, offers a nice walk and a magnificent view of the Chora and of the west coast. Also, the area of the Kastro, a small fortress made by the Venetians in 1210, a small village into the Chora village, will take you back to the Middle Ages. The village of Ano Merià is spread over cultivated fields and “dry-placed” walls and has typical “kafeneio” and taverns. It has also a Folkloristic Museum, open from 10 to 18. Folegandros island harbor’s, Karavostasi, also with a few shops and restaurants hosts today several hotels and some of the best of them.
Folegandros is a quiet, virgin island, there are many wonderful places for long hikes, snorkeling is always a good activity on Folegandros and then relaxing, sunbathing and there are also some day trips available to the nearby islands. For those who believe that the ideal vacation is not just rest and relaxation, there are many activities on Folegandros that they can participate in, such as Swimming, Hiking, Cycling, Beach volley, Walking around Folegandros Island, Snorkeling, Fishing, Water Sports, Diving and Windsurfing
These are just a few of the activities available to the more adventurous. For the vacationer who really needs some rest and recreation, there are some truly beautiful remote beaches with the characteristically pristine, crystal clear waters for which the Greek islands are renowned and where you can laze about soaking up the sun and blissful quiet.
Curated Yoga activity on Folegandros Island: Zoja is a Greek-Czech-Canadian artist, curator, and yoga instructor who spends her time making, performing, and teaching between Toronto, Montreal, L.A., and Berlin. She’s spent 6 summers on Folegandros. Read more about Zoja here!
We have tried to give as much information about Folegandros as we can and we shall personally try to make your stay on the island of Folegandros remain among the best memories in your life.
Folegandros has nice beaches, but uneasy to reach: you need to walk a bit or rent a boat. Two beaches can be reached by car: Karavostasi and Angali, one of the nicest beach.
Our suggestion: get a map, then memorize the bus schedule from and to the Chora, and always take along water and food! From Karavostasi you may reach Vardia Beach, Latinaki, Vitzenzou, Pountaki and the beach of Livadi, where there is a camping and that of Agios Nikolaos.
In Karavostasi you find a fairly long stony beach, one beach East of the port and small beaches towards Livadi. From Ano Meria you may walk from 40 to 90 minutes to reach other beaches, among which Agios Georgios, on the North/East.
Walking this island is a joy as nature and its perfumes, and its silence is really unique. In springtime and early summer, the island is rich with caper flowers, thyme, and oregano.
The church of the virgin Mary: The largest church on Folegandros, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. It is built on a rock above Hora, probably on the site of an ancient temple, building materials from which were used for its construction. You can see the ancient inscription, sculptures and statue bases in the courtyard and the interior of the church.
The temple used to belong to a nunnery. There is a marble epigraph dating from 1687, which refers to the renovation of the temple. The church took on its current form during the restructuring that began in 1816 and was completed in 1821. The icon of the Virgin Mary that can be seen in the church is linked to pirate stories and legends of Folegandros. In accordance with an old Folegandros custom, the icon is carried to all the homes on the island at Easter. To reach the Panayia church, follow the cobbled street starting at Pounta square (15’).
The Crisospilia cave on Folegandros: Chrisospilia is a unique natural monument. It is a remote cave on the north-eastern side of the island, about 30 meters above sea level, with a significant speleological and archaeological interest. It has a length of 300 m and two main chambers joined to each other by a small corridor. Roman wells and a large number of shells have been found on the floor of the first chamber, while the second chamber is decorated with impressive stalactite formations. However, the element that makes Chrysospilia a unique monument of the global cultural heritage is a large number of ancient names covering its walls and ceiling. The names date mainly from the 4th century BC and belong to young adults who arrived here from all parts of Greece. The young adults who managed to enter the main chamber inscribed their names on the walls, thus leaving a trace of their visit. It is thought that the nature of the visit was religious and that this difficult venture took place within the framework of a coming-of-age ceremony. Around 400 male names have been recorded (female names are rarer), and many of them are accompanied by surnames recording their place of origin. Also, the existence of human bones at the entrance to Chrysospilia has led the creation of legends that describe the cave as the islanders’ hideout from the pirates. Steps built in antiquity lead up to the cave, and are known as the “Hellenic steps”. Access to the cave is still difficult and dangerous, however, especially when there is a strong north wind blowing. The cave is also accessible from the sea, but visits are not allowed since the archaeological investigation has not been completed and there is no infrastructure in place for accessing and visiting the cave.
The Kastro on Folegandros: Kastro is the oldest part of the Hora. It is a medieval settlement built to protect the island’s inhabitants from enemy invasions. It has been inhabited continuously since its establishment. Its northern side is built at the edge of a cliff. The houses, some of which are over one thousand years old, are inhabited and maintained in good condition.
The Folklore museum on Folegandros Island: The Folk Museum of the island, is located at Ano Meria, and is a representative sample of a traditional farm of the 19th century, a “themonia” as the locals call the complex which in other islands of Cyclades is called “chorio” (“village”). As it is totally authentic, the Museum gives a pretty accurate picture of how this kind of farms used to operate in the past. The Museum is comprised of four separate buildings, the older of which is more than two hundred years old, whereas the most recent was constructed some years ago, in the same architectural style as the rest of them. You will see several objects: tools, furniture and utensils of everyday use. Several of them have been collected from the “themonies” and the houses of the island. Among the exhibits of the Museum are: a loom, big jars for storing liquids, various types of handmade baskets and an original wooden mouse trap of local origin.
The walls of the older building are made of stone and they are not plastered, so that the wall is camouflaged and not discerned form afar, as the island suffered very often from pirates’ attacks. The building is topped with compact soil mixed with seaweeds. This roof is supported by roof timber made of the local tree called “feida” (a kind of cypress tree). The floor is made of compact earth, the so-called “patossi”. Very close to the house, the large basin (of a capacity of some 100 cubic meters) collects the rainwater.
Folegandros has three small villages, Karavostasi (the port), the Chora, Ano Meria and Agali Beach that are connected by paved roads.What catches the eye immediately is the endless series of “dry-placed” walls that have been erected over the centuries by the inhabitants to create terraces on the sunny slopes of the territory to be able to raise cereals.
Folegandros Chora, closed to car and motorcycle traffic, has a unique “center” of three squares in a row, with trees under which to enjoy a drink or food in a quiet,romantic atmosphere. In the gentle breeze passing through the small streets you may feel the perfume of lime trees or of the local (exceptional) bread. Bougainvillea and hibiscus color the small wooden balconies around the Kastro (XIII century).
At Folegandros the church of Panayia , on the top of a hill, offers a nice walk and a magnificent view of the Chora and of the west coast. Also, the area of the Kastro, a small fortress made by the Venetians in 1210, a small village into the Chora village, will take you back to the Middle Ages.The village of Ano Merià is spread over cultivated fields and “dry-placed” walls and has typical “kafeneio” and taverns. It has also a Folklorist Museum, open from 10 to 18.
Folegandros island harbor’s, Karavostasi, also with a few shops and restaurants hosts today several hotels and some of the best of them.
The first inhabitants of the island seems to have been the Carians. Found in Folegandros ruins belonging to Cycladic settlement. The Carians were followed by the Cretans, who were even delivered by tradition with the first settlers led by Folegandros, Minos’ son, after whom they named the island. Unlike Sikinos, Folegandros was never habited by the Ionians, but by the Dorians. That’s why the island was not involved from the start in the Athenian battle, but later took part (around 425 p. X). In 338 BC, the island came under the power of the kings of Macedon, and then the successors of Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies in particular. The Romans, who became masters of the island in the 1st century BC, often used Folegandros as a place of exile, while during the brand Byzantine period (4th century BC – 12th century AD) Folegandros fell into obscurity.
The dominance of the Cyclades from the Sanoudos was stopped in 1269 with the appearance of the Italian admiral Lykariou, who fought on behalf of the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus and conquered the islands of Ios, Folegandros, Sikinos and Sifnos until the year 1307, when it was occupied by the Spanish Giannoulis Dakoronia. The 1467 Dakoronia their successors in power are Gozadini, gentle Vononia originating from Italy.
The island’s occupation by the Turks in 1617 meant the end of the domination of the Franks in the Cyclades. The island during the Turkish occupation, not only paid, like other islands, the tribute, but in 1715 suffered from Hoxha Kapoudan Pasha Tzanoum a terrible pillage. The Turkish occupation of Folegandros and the other Cyclades islands was temporarily stopped in 1770, the Russo-Turkish war and occupation for four years by the Russians.
Eventually, Folegandros was released during the War of 1821 and was united with the rest of Greece.
There are regular bus services on Folegandros island that can take you to every village, beach and settlement, but the timetables do not suit everybody’s needs. If you would like to rent a car, a scooter, an ATV or a buggy, we are here to help you!
Here are some useful agencies for renting vehicles on Folegandros:
Tomaso rents – Rent a car / motorbike — +30 2286041600
SPIROS – Rent a car / motorbike — +30 2286041316
8. Useful information about Folegandros island
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS ON FOLEGANDROS
|Community of Folegandros||+30 22860 41285|
|Municipality of Folegandros||+30 22860 41416|
|Police station on Folegandros||+30 22860 41249|
|Port police on Folegandros||+30 22860 41530|
|Medical centre on Folegandros||+30 22860 51211|
|Post office on Folegandros||+30 22860 41299|
|Bus station on Folegandros||+30 22860 41425 / +30 22860 41328|
HOW TO GET TO FOLEGANDROS
You can fly to one of the other islands of the Cyclades, like Naxos, Mykonos and Santorini and then take the ferry boat to Folegandros from there. There are also ferries that connect Folegandros with Piraeus port in Athens. There are also ferry connections with the islands of Syros, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Kimolos, Sikinos, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos, Santorini and Anafi.
RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS ON FOLEGANDROS
|Name of restaurant||Location of restaurant||Contact details|
|Piatsa||Chora – Folegandros||+30 22860 41274|
|Zephyros||Chora – Folegandros||+30 22860 41556|
|Mimis||Ano Meria – Folegandros|
RENT A CAR ON FOLEGANDROS
|COMPANY NAME||TYPE OF BUSINESS||LOCATION||TELEPHONE NUMBER|
|Tomaso rents||Rent a car / motorbike||FOLEGANDROS||+30 2286041600|
|SPIROS||Rent a car / motorbike||FOLEGANDROS||+30 2286041316|
BEACHES ON FOLEGANDROS
Folegandros has nice beaches, but uneasy to reach: you need to walk a bit, or rent a boat. Two beaches can be reached by car: Karavostasi and Angali, one of the nicest beach.
Our suggestion: get a map, then memorize the bus schedule from and to the Chora, and always take along water and food! From Karavostasi you may reach Vardia Beach, Latinaki, Vitzenzou, Pountaki and the beach of Livadi, where there is a camping, and that of Agios Nikolaos.
In Karavostasi you find a fairly long stoney beach , one beach East of the port and small beaches towards Livadi. From Ano Meria you may walk from 40 to 90 minutes to reach other beaches, among which Ayios Georgios, on the North/East.
Walking this island is a joy as the nature and its perfumes, and its silence are really unique. In springtime and early summer the island is rich with caper flowers, thyme and oregano.