Explore Folegandros Greece: Top Things to Do on this Greek Island
December 30, 2022
Folegandros Favorites: Ultimate Guide to Visiting this Greek Island
There isn’t a ton of information online about visiting the tiny island of Folegandros, but the posts that are out there do get it right. The sunsets from the Church of Panagia are unparalleled. And the Chora – capital town – is one of the best in the Cyclades.
I read plenty of posts online about the island, and after reading so many of them, almost every restaurant in the Chora had been recommended by someone. That doesn’t help to narrow down the selection, but it does provide confidence in the quality of the food in Folegandros.
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I, too, will include my recommendations here as well. But, what made Folegandros so special was discovering my own favorite gems that became my “local” spots during my visit to the island. I urge you to do the same.
For example, everyone talks about the great breakfast at Pounta. The breakfast is good (get the homemade takos), but I preferred the nightly live music from Natasha Moisoglou at Pounta from eight to midnight.
We also discovered our own hidden spot to watch the sunset. The Castro neighborhood, a medieval town hidden behind an alley in the Chora, has a magnificent view from the walls surrounding the Pantanassa Orthodox church. There’s barely anyone around so you can have your own private viewing.
I also discovered the scrumptious chocolate banana croissant at The Baker, a bakery just on the outskirts of Chora near the bus station. Their selection of pastries is vast and I loved people watching as the shop was constantly bustling in the mornings with locals and tourists alike.
And finally, we had a phenomenal experience at the Domaine Paliomilos winery. Chora can get quite packed with people after sunset during the summer months which can be exhilarating but a little overwhelming. If you don’t have a dinner reservation and are looking for a more subdued ambience, this winery has a food menu and great selections of wines and tasting options. I urge you to ask the owner, Michalis, about the history of the building and its many iterations.
Ferries to Folegandros:
There’s usually limited, but daily ferry options in the high season from various origin destinations like Athens and Santorini. You can travel by ferry from Athens but you will stop in Milos beforehand. Look at Ferryhopper to discover all of your options from your origin destination. Since it’s a booking engine, the site will present all of the ferries available for the day. You don’t need to book your tickets in advance – I bought my return ticket to Athens at a kiosk in the Chora at 9pm the night before I left Folegandros – but if you are the type of person who likes to stay organized, then you can go ahead and do so.
Where to Stay in Folegandros:
Stay in an accommodation in the Chora with a property that ideally has a pool.
Our stay at Paraporti was absolutely lovely. The location was perfect, the price was right, and it had just enough trappings to make our stay quite pleasant. The one thing I would suggest though when booking a stay in Folegandros, is finding a property with a pool. Here’s why: Most of the beaches on the island are quite difficult to get to. You either need to take a boat to get there (Katergo) or hike down 200 or so meters to a beach. And the beaches that don’t require any difficult measures to get to- Agali and Livadi more specifically – are generally going to be quite crowded during the summer season. Both are lovely and sandy and you can take the public bus there easily from Chora, so if you don’t mind crowds, then it’s a great option. But, you might go one day to the beach and then want the ease of sitting on a lounge chair underneath a shady tree at your hotel pool the next.
Some of the properties with a hotel pool in Chora are the following:
- Anemomilos Boutique Hotel
- Check rates and read reviews on Hotels.com | Booking.com | HotelsCombined
- Polikandia Hotel
- Mar Inn Hotel
- Fata Morgana
- Check rates and read reviews on Hotels.com | Booking.com | HotelsCombined
Things to Do on Folegandros:
When I arrived on the island, I started getting nervous. My travel companion loves to have activities to do and see each day and it didn’t seem like there was much of anything to do except hike to beaches and gorge yourself on Greek food. Now, you might say, what’s wrong with that? But, when you’ve already been in Greece for 15 days, you’ve already been to magnificent beaches (shoutout to Klitchiko in Milos) and eaten the freshest vegetables on dozens of Greek salads.
I needn’t have worried. We both instantly fell in love with the island and enjoyed the slower pace we finally allowed ourselves to embrace after visiting attraction after attraction for the prior 20 days or so.
Beaches in Folegandros
Agali and Livadi Beaches
Of course, you can spend much of your time here exploring the many beaches in Folegandros. Like I mentioned above, if you are looking for sandy beaches that are accessible from the main road without any sort of hiking, then head to Agali or Livadi beaches. You can take the public bus to both of these beaches. Make sure you ask for the bus timetable from your hotel upon arrival.
Katergo, Livadaki, and Agios Nikolaos Beaches
There are other beaches that take a bit more physical exertion to get to, but you might find them worth the effort. The first is Katergo beach. You can take a roundtrip boat taxi from Karavostasis to get there for around 12-14 euros or you can walk 20-30 minutes but it is steep at the end. The water is clean and clear and the beach is composed of coarse sand and gravel. Bring an umbrella, water, and food because there are no facilities and little shade.
Renting a car/ATV/scooter on Folegandros:
It’s not necessary to rent an ATV or scooter on Folegandros. You can take the public bus to the port, the two aforementioned beaches, and the other village on the island, Ano Maria. But, I would highly recommend that you do. Most islands are too populated to drive an ATV, but Folegandros is not.
This is how our hunt for an ATV went down. I’m sharing because I think it will give you a sense of island life on Folegandros. We wanted to rent an ATV ( I can’t drive a scooter) and so we looked on Google Maps in Chora and decided to walk to the various rental shops that popped up. The first was Folegandros Moto – Road Runner. We strolled over but couldn’t find the rental shop. So, we walked into Sousi’s Hair & Nails which was supposed to be right next door. Well, Sousi’s daughter apparently owns Folegandros Moto so Sousi handed us her cellphone to call her daughter and talk to her about renting. They had a large ATV for 65 euros for the day. We weren’t sure if the price point was fair since we had seen online that people rented for 35 euros, but that was pre-pandemic and pre-inflation.
We told Sousi we would call her daughter back in 10 minutes or so and called/walked to the rest of the rental shops in Chora. Everywhere else was sold out and not just for tomorrow, but for a week. The lesson here is to rent in advance if you can. And if you can’t, call Folegandros Moto because they ended being a fantastic “place” to rent from. They dropped the ATV off at our hotel at 11am and we returned it to them the next day at 11. The large ATV ended up being the way to go because we went down our fair share of rocky, unpaved roads.
Churches in Folegandros
Of course, the Church of Panagia is the star of the show. The dramatic cliff views are spectacular and it might just be one of the greatest places to watch a sunset in Greece. Staring down with a bird’s eye view of the volcanic rock that makes up the island with the sun as a backdrop is magnificent, but you don’t have to hike up there nightly.
If you do head up there for sunset, make sure you wait a half hour or so after to watch them turn on the lights.
In summation, explore the town and choose your own favorites. You can use these online guides as rough outlines for your trip, but seek out your own favorite mini market, restaurant, sunset spot, breakfast treat, etc.
And, once again, on the nights that you don’t want to make the 20 minute trek up to the Church of Panagia, watch the sunset from the Pantanassa Orthodox Church in the Castro neighborhood. It will be your own little hidden oasis.
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