between Milos and Sikinos, 105 nautical miles from Piraeus. Its land
mass is 32 sq. km. and its coastline is 40 km. The ferries on the way to Folegandros stop first at nearby Sikinos, which is a greener spot but has few amenities for travelers.
Folegandros is a wonderful island
of sheer cliffs and spectacular views. Its population is 650. It is
one of the nicest of the Greek Islands and not overwhelmed by tourism,
except during July and August.
Views from the main town of
Hora are wonderful. Many call Folegadros' Hora the most captivating island capitol in the Cyclades
(and that's saying something).
This island is popular
with those who want to see a real Greek Island. Boats dock at the
eastern port of Karavostassis with its own pebble
beach, tavernas and rooms to let. There's a newly repaved road leading up
to Hora, or Folegandros Town, the capital.
and rocky, Folegandros is, in fact, a Phoeniciann word meaning rocky.
The island has several nice beaches. In the South, sandy Livadi
Beach is a short walk from the port. The island's best beach, Katergo
Beach can be reached from Livadi by walking across the hills. It's on the island bus route as well. There's a picturesque islet in the bay at Katergo, and a long sandy strip of beach.
Halfway between Hora and Ano Meria lies sandy Angali Beach with several taverns, a campground and shady pine trees. The beach is
at the bottom of a steep path with donkeys availble to carry one down
for a fee. Nearby the 2 nudists beaches of Aghios Nikolaos and Fira are also within walking distance but easier to reach
by water-taxi from Karavostassi Port. There is swimming right in Karavostassi, also.
The beaches on the north coast are accessible only by boat.
on the sheer cliffs sits Folegandros Town, or Hora. It perches some 900 feet above sea level. It is
home to 600 inhabitants and the Cycladic Center of Art.
Cars are only permitted on its outskirts and many of
its stone houses face inland. There's a quaint old quarter around the Kastro or castle. The Castles outer walls, built in 1212
by Marco Sanudo, incorporate an external row of houses. Two entrances
remain of the castle itself and within, a labyrinthine maze of cobbled
alleyways and white houses with wooden balconies bedecked with flowers
and bouganvilleas. The 17th Century Church of Pantanassa and 2 smaller churches
serve the needs of parishoners.
The more recent sections of town have dazzling white houses, narrow streets, and many courtyards. The
town revolves around its four linked squares or Plateas. The first of which
is tree lined and containing most of its tavernas, is the center of
The second is much quieter. The third has cafes and is popular with the locals.
The fourth square holds the Post Office while
the others have stores, cafes, tavernas and open spaces. Shops in Hora sell the local flowered pottery with its decorative handles.
Near the Hora is Chryssolilia, the golden cave. It is approachable by water taxi and has stalagmites and stalactities. It was a refuge in times past. The large grotto containing the
golden cave was used in antiquity
for ancient cult rituals. It posseses some ancient
tombs and Classical-era inscriptions.
from the far side of town to Ano Mera (5km) surrounded
by terraced fields, as well as to other village and beaches around the island.
Around the Island
The Monastery of Evangelistria may be reached
from the town of Livadi by mule path. It sites at the islands southern shore. In the north, Aghios
Georgos Bay below the town of Ano Meria has a nice beach as well as the nearby beaches of Ampeli
and Livadaki accessable by foot after alighting
at the bus stops above. Ano Meria also has the Ecology and Folk Museum (open daily: 5-8, Tel: 41387). There are fabulous sunsets at Ano Meria, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Crete. Ano Meria is actually a string of farming hamlets surrounded by terraced fields.
the NE of Hora lies Paliokastro and the ruins
of castle fortifications and the ancient city.
Built upon the site of
The Ancient Temple of Artemis is the Church of the Panagia
with its blessed icon.
Drinking and Dining
There are many good places to eat. O Kritikos is recommended
for local specialties. Try The Folegandros for a huge selection of
dishes and Pounta for nouvelle cuisine in its lovely outdoor
area. There's also a busy nightlight in the Hora area for party-seekers.
This rocky isle was traditionally a place of exile. The Aegean's various rulers mostly passed it by as of little interest, although there were plenty of pirates attacking the island. Frequent pillaging explains why the houses in the Hora have their backs to the sea and are built around protected courtyards in twisting streets.