Folegandros is probably one of the most underrated islands in the Cyclades. Known for its traditional character, beautiful nature, and stunning beaches, this low-key island has a lot to offer to visitors willing to discover it. Here is a roundup of the best things to do and see while in Folegandros.
Chora (pronounced HOR-ah) is the largest settlement on the island is called, situated approximately 656 feet above sea level. Its white-washed buildings perched atop the cliff and narrow streets unexpectedly opening into squares is instantly seductive. Access to all motor vehicles is strictly forbidden, so visitors can easily wander the sinuous streets, discover little shops, and enjoy a meal on a quiet square. Don’t forget to visit Kastro, the oldest part of Chora, and admire 1,000-year-old houses still in good condition.
Pay Respects to the Church of Panagia in Chora
The island’s largest church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, looks down on Chora. Climb the zigzagging steps all the way up to the Church of Panagia, built on the ruins of the ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Open every evening (from 6pm-9pm), the church features stunning sculptures and statues as well as breathtaking views over the sea from the courtyard.
Eat at Pounta and Shop Some Ceramics
Pounta is a family-run restaurant with a wide menu including breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The brainchild of a creative Danish-Greek couple, the restaurant is a great place for enjoying a relaxing meal served on Lisbet’s handmade ceramics, also available for sale. Pounta is famous for breakfast, so mornings often have a long wait, but the verdant garden alone is worth the buzz.
Pounta, Chora, Folegandros 84011, Greece, +30 228 604 1063
Why, Yes, Have a Beach Day
Known for their beautiful and quiet surroundings, the island beaches are definitely worth exploring. True to the traditional character of the island, the beaches are usually unorganized or semi-organized and are perfect for a relaxing day. Fancy a sun-soaked day on a sandy beach? Head to Agali. For shallow waters, head to Karavostasi beach. The island’s vast variety means travelers can visit a new beach every day.
Learn All About the Island’s Folklore
On a hiking adventure to Ano Meria, take the opportunity to visit the Ecological and Folklore Museum of Folegandros. The museum, a house built according to old techniques (with stones and mud, no plaster), holds a wide collection of traditional well-preserved daily life items and utensils. Various nearby taverns offer hearty meals.
Hike the Trails
With an extensive network of old donkey tracks, rugged Folegandros is a paradise for hikers. Take the time to travel north of the island to Ano Meria to discover the folk museum or to Agios Nikolaos to cool down with a refreshing swim.
Have a Glass of Wine
After a day at the beach or hiking, a good glass of wine is a must. Check out Wine Bar Merkouri just outside Chora and enjoy the view from the patio. The bar has a selection of 40–50 wines from across Greece and serves some dishes to pair as well. The owners also make their own wine from Assyrtiko, muscat, and local wine grape varieties.
Wine Bar Merkouri, Folegandros 84011, Greece, +30 693 604 9661
Eat the Local Specialty
Matsata is the local dish: fresh pasta in tomato sauce, with rabbit, goat, or chicken. For an authentic taste, head to Mimis, a small tavern in Ano Meria. Have a go at the shrimp saganaki and, of course, the cheese pies.
Ristorante Flora Mimis, Ano Meria 84011, Greece, +30 2286 041377
Explore the Underwater World
With spectacular landscapes and nature, it is not surprising that Folegandros’ underwater world is equally impressive. Sign up for scuba diving and snorkeling sessions, or even free diving for advanced swimmers, to explore the wonders of the crystal-clear waters.
Folegandros is one of the best spots in the Cyclades to enjoy all the advantages of an island without the overcrowded beaches or roads. Take it all in, explore the island by boat – and maybe catch a glimpse of the mysterious Chryssospilia cave, thought to be an ancient place of worship of some kind, where excavations are still underway – swim at Katergo beach, or simply enjoy a hike to the Aspropounta Lighthouse.