” Folegandros again? Well, isn’t that boring? “, said my friends when I announced that I would go there for the second consecutive summer. So I decided to explain why I love this island so much
I went to Folegandros for the first time in summer 2012. I stayed there for 5 days, but it was such a short stay that I went back the following year. If I could, I would go there every year. Seriously, I could stay there for a whole month. Even more. For all the following reasons :
It is so beautiful and perfect that it looks like it came out of a Hollywood setting. The island is still not very touristic and this is the reason why there aren’t so ‘miserable’ accommodation and shops you can see in other islands. Walking in the streets of flat Chora, you can see cute well-preserved houses with windows painted blue, green, red and even purple. Shop signs are all wooden hand-painted. The few clothes and souvenir shops sell elegant things. The restaurants have their own distinctive character. Taverns are simple and beautiful. In the few bars, you can listen to beautiful music. The sophisticated Chora of Folegandros attracts you like a magnet and you often prefer to walk in the picturesque alleys or sit in cafes and restaurants instead of going to the sea. Now that I think about it, Folegandros is the island where I’ve gone to the beach less often!
There is, for example, Kriticos square where you can find chic restaurants and nearby Kriticos tavern. The first time I went there I happened to see a wedding and I felt that I was in the setting of Mamma Mia. Then, there is Piazza where there are many taverns which mark out their space according to the color of the chairs and tables. Next, there is Ntounavi square with a huge tree in the middle and, going further down. you will find yourself in Punta square, where, in the distance, you see spreading all the blue of the Aegean Sea.
This is how old Chora of Folegandros is called. The Castle was built during the Venetian period for safety reasons. To get inside, you enter Paraporti, a low entrance near Punta. In the Castle, there are several rooms if you want to stay somewhere with a characteristic aspect. During summertime, concerts are organized in the small square of the Castle. Last year, when I was there, the well know greek singer, Matoula Zamani sang accompanied by her lovely orchestra. All the visitors of the island sat on the steps, and listened to Matoula drinking beer and watching the stars. Pure bliss!
The beauty of Chora is completed by superb hotels. ‘Anemi’ at Karavostassi, ‘Anemomilos’ hanging on the rocks, ‘Aria’ and next to it ‘ Odysseus’ at the edge of Chora, ‘ Fata Morgana’ a bit outside and ‘Kallisti’ opposite of it and many more. Of course, there is cheaper and simpler accommodation, but it is worth to stay somewhere more beautiful that blends with the character of Folegandros.
There are many but not organised. It is nice to explore them. ‘Aggali’ is easily accessible and ‘St. Nicolas’ bay has many trees and a tavern on the hill just behind the church. You’ll get there by boat either from ‘Aggali’ or ‘Karavostassi’. You can also go by boat from Aggali to Livadaki. In the north, there are Serifiotika, Agios Georgios and Ampeli. The most beautiful comes last : Katergo, with fine pebbles and turquoise waters, looks as if it came out of a postcard.
The first dish that I tried arriving there, was ‘matsata’ with rooster. Matsata is a speciality in Folegandros and is made with handmade pasta, something like tagliatelle. Another local product is the ‘green cheese’. It is worth to try ‘kalasouna’, local open cheese pie with onions and ‘souroto’ cheese. And when you want to eat sweets (galatopites, sokolatines, galaktoboureko) go to «Ki Araxe», you will remember of me!
Transportation is easy
The island is very small and there are buses to take you from Chora to the village of Ano Meria and to the port of Karavostasi. There are 1-2 taxis. And that’s enough.
I spent many hours at Ntounavi café in the homonymous square. Breakfast is a ritual on the island, so many early or late risers wake up to eat fresh bread and jams, cheese, eggs , cakes and drink coffee. In the yard of “Punta» breakfast is nice where as coffee is served in wonderful cups, hand painted by the owner.
Italians, French, elegant travellers spend their time at the squares, on terraces, on the steps or even in the “Astarti’s veranda, at “Aquarius” and bars with rakomelo, ouzo, beer and wine.
On the way to Panagia
The monastery of Panagia, perched on the mountain, is worth visiting at least once. From there, the view is breathtaking.
They are smart. Intellectual, sunburnt Italians, French, groups or couples and a few families. They wear elegant scarves, linen trousers and colorful espadrilles roaming in the streets or sitting in a cafe and reading a book. You will not see crowds of people, you will not experience much fuss and noise.
The island’s vibe
It is special and if it affects you, the island will attract you forever.
- To go there,take the boat from Piraeus.
- You will enjoy beautiful sunsets at ‘Rakentia’ (+ 30 22860 41581), a café-bar with meze at the edge of Chora. Take your book and relax there for hours.
- On the 15th of August there is an amazing feast in Chora
- As Folegandros belongs to Cyclades Islands, there are strong winds in summer. Take a cardigan, a light footer and shoes.
- Book 1-2 months in advance. The island is very small and accommodation is not enough.
- It is worth visiting the folklore museum at Ano Meria.
- Discover the Carpentry of the Giant with wood creations.
- In the northeastern part of the island there is Chrysospilia, a striking cave that, in the 4th century BC, was a place for age ceremonies. Because of that. you can read the names and places of origin of the teenagers on the walls and the ceiling of the cave. You can go there by boat from Karavostassi.
- For meat and casserole dishes you can go to Piazza (+ 30 22860 41274) and Melissa (+ 30 22860 41067) in Chora.
- For meat you can go to Kriticos (+ 30 22860 41219) in Chora.
- For casserole dishes and handmade, wholemeal matsata go to ‘Spitiko” (+ 30 22860 41235) in Chora.
- For casserole dishes at ‘Punta’ (+ 30 22860 41063).
- For meze dishes at ‘Goupi’ (+ 30 22860 41057) in Maraki square.
- For fish and tasty pasta with seafood at ‘Zephyros’ (+ 30 22860 41556) and ‘Maistrali’ (+ 30 22860 41179).
- For gourmet dishes and a special dinner, make a reservation at Eva’s Garden (+ 30 22860 41110), just outside Chora
- For something special and international cuisine go to Chic (+ 30 22860 41515) in Kriticos square.
- For matsata and amazing octopus at Mimi’s Tavern (+ 30 22860 413 77) and at “Synantisi tis Kyra Marias” (+ 30 22860 41208) for matsata, kalasouna and seafood at Ano Meria.
- There are two taverns at Agios Nikolaos beach. The most known is ‘Papalagki’ (+ 30 6944291988)
- For drinks go to ‘ Astarte’ (+ 30 22860 41091), ‘ Aquarius, Ba Raki, Kastro and Kolpos.
- For breakfast you can go to Ntounavi, Nicola’s Place in the square and Punta (+ 30 22860 41063), in the homonymous square. Of course, all of them serve both food and sweets.