Folegandros: An Unspoiled Greek Island Paradise

Folegandros Sunset
Folegandros. Credit: Navin75 – originally posted to Flickr as Hora, Folegandros at sunset, CC BY-SA 2.0

Folegandros is a small, quiet Greek island that remains virtually unknown to tourists.

Only an hour by high-speed boat from the popular island of Santorini, Folegandros is for those who are looking to experience a simpler and more unforgettable Greek experience.

“Often overshadowed by neighboring Santorini, Folegandros proposes a [welcome] escape from the hustle and bustle of more popular Greek islands,” a recent travel review said.

“Perched on a towering seaside cliff, the island doesn’t offer much in the way of attractions, but makes up for it with local charm. Visitors can explore untouched beaches, sample traditional food, and spend quiet evenings contemplating the breathtaking, sun-kissed cliffs,” it was written.

Some years ago, CNN was ecstatic about Folegandros, including the island among the top seven most beautiful in Europe.

“Santorini’s streets sag with admirers, but on Folegandros, a nearby island in the Cyclades, you’ll find similar architecture—streets paved in slate, whitewashed buildings decorated with colorful flowers, the occasional Greek Orthodox church with a bright blue dome—without the crowds,” CNN said.

Folegandros has Cycladic charm

Known for its unspoiled landscapes, Folegandros was named after the son of King Minos.

There are only three small villages on the island. The main village, Chora, is filled with houses painted in white with multi-colored doors and windows, perched high on the cliff above the blue sea.

Folegandros Streets
Credit: Zde – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

There are quaint squares and tavernas, so visitors will not run out of things to do when they are not enjoying the beautiful beaches—which are practically empty!

Some examples of the traditional dishes on the island are “matsáta,” which is handmade noodles with chicken or rabbit, and sourotó, a white goat cheese. A popular drink on the island is “rakómelo,” which is warm raki with honey.

Exploring the Church of the Panagia on Folegandros

Panagia of Folegandros
By Zde – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

You can also take a walk and explore the narrow cobblestone streets of the village or take a fifteen-minute walk up a zigzag pathway to the Church of Panagia.

The church is thought to be built on the site of an ancient temple, and although the original date of the construction of the church is unknown, it was renovated both in 1687 and 1821.

Chrysospilia is another place that attracts visitors on the island. You will find it below the Church of Panagia on a rocky beach some thirty meters above sea level with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. It is accessible only by boat.

There are ancient male Greek names written on its walls and roof, dating back to the 4th century BC, which makes it a unique cave to visit.

Karavostasi & Ano Meria are full of marvelous beaches

Angali Beach
Angali Beac, Folegandros. Credit: rene boulay, CC BY-SA 3.0

The other two villages, Karavostasi (the port) and Ano Meria, are all connected by paved roads to Chora.

You will find Greek tradition at its best in these villages. Authentic Greek cafes, called kafeneia, as well as tavernas serving up local dishes, are easy to find.

Karavostasi Beach and Angali Beach are connected by paved roads to the villages. There are also several other beaches you can reach via public transportation.

However, you will find that there are many beaches around the island that will require you to either take a boat or walk in order to get to them.

You can get to Folegandros via the ferry line Piraeus – Milos – Santorini, or hydrofoils from Paros, Mykonos, Ios, and Sikinos.

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