Updated January 9th, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Folegandros island Greece is a stunning island, mostly undiscovered by mass tourism and ideal for your honeymoon or for romance with your beloved partner.
Folegandros island is also perfect for people who are seeking relaxed and low-key holidays, in a still unspoiled and traditional Cycladic Island, a unique wild-looking rocky Greek island.
Why should you visit Folegandros Island? Perhaps you are a romantic person and you love discovering alternative Greek islands!
Discover in this Folegandros island guide the best things to do, all about your vacation, the best Folegandros hotels, and sites!
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Folegandros How to Get There
Folegandros Greece is a small island of the south Aegean Archipelagos, belonging to the Cyclades island group with just about 650 registered residents. It lies between Milos and Sikinos islands and Santorini is only 22 miles on the northeast.
You can get to Folegandros island:
Folegandros Airport: There is no airport on Folegandros but you can fly to Santorini and take from there the 1,5-hour ferry to Folegandros. That will allow you to combine a visit to both super-star Santorini and tranquil but equally imposing Folegandros.
By Ferry: You can choose between the super-fast ferries which go directly to Folegandros and the slow ferry boats that stop at other Cycladic islands before they reach the island.
Fast ferries are…fast so you get to Folegandros in about 4 hours. A major drawback fast ferries may have is that when the Aegean sea gets windy – and it gets a lot in the summer – and if you get easily seasick then it will be 4 hours in major waves and bumps on the sea. The cost for Seajet2 or SuperJet is 69.70 euros per person.
Slow ferries (Dionisios Solomos boat of Zante Ferries) travel for around 8-10 hours and they cost 36.5 euro for a seat.
Check on FerryHopper for tickets and prices to Folegandros Island:
How to get around Folegandros
There is going to be public transport – KTEL buses – waiting at the Folegandros port to transport you to your destination on the island.
Taxis/Rentals: There is just one taxi on the island!
Check, compare and save with the RentalCars:
Water Taxis: Folegandros may have at least 10 impressive beaches, thing is that not all of them are reachable by bus or on foot. A great way to get around is the water taxis, the small boats that take you to all the remote beaches that cannot be reached on foot or by car. The water taxis are on the scheduled itinerary and they cannot be customized for each separate customer.
Which are the Best Folegandros Villages?
Karavostasi Port & Village
Folegandros island guide: The ship docks on the only island’s port, picturesque Karavostasi which is also one of the 6 villages that you can visit on the island. Karavostasi has all kinds of useful amenities, hotels, rentals, buses, supermarkets, taverns, and bakeries.
From Karavostasi you can also take the sea taxis – small boats – for the island's tour and for many of its remote beaches.
Nearby Karavostasi there are some splendid beaches with green-blue clear waters, all within walking distance:
Vardia beach, probably the longest beach on Folegandros, is right behind the Karavostasi port. It is a small pebbled and dark sand beach with a few trees around.
If there are north winds, it can be very windy, so you should better choose a different beach probably in the south part of the island. Vardia beach is not organized and has no water or food available.
Chochlidia, which is next to the port, has large white pebbles with clear waters, easily reached by car or bus, trees for shade.
From Karavostasis to Livadi there are also three small sandy beaches, worth visiting and swimming: Vitsentzou, Latinaki, Pountaki.
Katergo is a gorgeous green-blue water beach and one of the most popular beaches on the island. It is located on the south of the island, can be accessed either by car, the first 2.8 km from Karavostasi to Livadi and then on foot to the beach (about 30′ walking) or by boat from Karavostasi.
Katergo beach is easily recognized because of the triangular rock inside the sea and if you swim towards the rock you will notice that the water gets warmer and there might be some sulfur smell. Some claim it is because of Santorini’s volcano!
In any case, you should be aware of the strong currents of the spot that may pull you towards the open sea.
Katergo has sand and small pebbles and no shade, water, or food, like most of the Folegandros beaches.
Nostalgia Tip: Today I am a middle-aged person but when I was young, all beaches in Greece were more or less like that, no beach bars, no music, no fancy restaurants. If we were lucky, there would be one tavern making the most basic of dishes, like a salad or fries or some fish. It was such a happy time and Greece was so beautiful and simple. Folegandros is special because it still has something of this old “aura” of Greece.
Folegandros Chora (Main Town)
Folegandros Chora is the prettiest Chora of all Cycladic islands! It is Folegandros’ biggest settlement, almost hanging over the high cliff, reminiscent of Santorini, with a breath-taking vista to the blue Aegean Sea. Chora is only 3 km far from the Karavostasi port.
As soon as you set your foot in the village you will realize that Chora is a really magical place, that takes you back to the time when life was more innocent and simple.
Its small whitewashed alleys are literally made for walking, passing by traditional small white houses. Folegandros is perfect for the rebirth of the soul and for enjoying a good quality of life.
Beautiful Chora has well-preserved stone-paved streets with squares that lay one after the other creating the most amazing labyrinth you have ever been to.
Strolling the squares you get to the Kastro, a 13th-century construction built by the Venetian Markos Sanoudos that meant to protect medieval Folegandrians from the constant pirates’ raids.
The entrance to Kastro, Lotzia, is a small gate where on its top used to be a big bell warning the inhabitants of Folegandros of a possible pirate raid. Kastro is a tiny medieval village characterized by its white small houses with walls.
Chora is car-free so if you have a car you better park it outside the village.
One of the best places to have your dinner in Folegandros Chora is the Pounta square which forms a semicircle with a balcony view to the cliff with a breath-taking sea view.
Pick your table and enjoy excellently prepared food seeping your wine and looking at the view.
If you visit Folegandros in the peak season (July-August) there might be “competition” over the best tables, so you better book one in advance.
The Chora Folegandros Church with the Best Sunset!
On top of the Chora, some 350 steps up, sits the most famous and most photographed church of Folegandros, the beautiful church of Panagia (Holy Mother).
The church is built high on a rock, over an ancient Greek temple, and to get there from Chora you will need to get to Pounta square and climb up uphill the 350 steps.
The Panagia church offers a 360 degrees panoramic view of the whole island. But this is not just that. The spot offers a stunning sunset, that many visitors think is even better than the sunset of Santorini!
If you are a sunset fan, you should go to both Santorini and Folegandros, which is quite easy with the ferry connection, take a jillion photos, compare them and choose the winner! Please let me know who won!
Chrisospilia – The Golden Cave
Right below the cliff of Panagia church and on sea level you can find one of the largest caves in Greece with stalagmites and stalactites. The cave has also great archaeological importance for its countless ancient names engraved on its walls dating from the 4th BC.
They have also found broken vessels and human bones in the cave. Access is possible by boat from Karavostasi port and you get the opportunity to swim in one of the most remote places of Folegandros in crystal clear waters and explore an impressive site.
Ano Meria Village
Leaving Chora and going towards the west, you find the second big settlement of Folegandros, rural Ano Meria. Ano Meria’s farmhouses are its most characteristic aspect, known as “Thimonia”.
To fully understand what Thimonia is, you should visit the very interesting Ecological and Folklore Museum in Ano Meria. Essentially the Museum is a time-traveling exhibition of the Folegandros lifestyle in an authentic rural house (Thimonia) of the 19th century.
You will see a house with its cellar, the bakery, the olive press, the henhouse, a cistern, a stable for the animals, and tall stone walls that protected the citrus fruits from the strong winds.
The Museum is open from 1st of July to 15th of September at 5-8 pm with free entrance for all.
Another impressive local site is the Asropounta Lighthouse, 15′ walking far from Ano Meria. It was built in 1912, is 11 meters high, and offers amazing sea views.
Very close to Ano Meria are also a number of beautiful, unorganized, and small beaches:
- Lygaria Beach: a tiny sandy and pebbles beach with incredibly blue-green waters, no trees, no other shade, no water or food available, 4.5 km from Ano Meria towards the north.
On the northwest of Ano Meria, you can find Ampeli beach. It is a rather small beach, with rocks and rich underwater scenery ideal for divers
Traveling towards the north and 3.8 km from Ano Meria you will find the beautiful beach of Agios Georgios. There are a couple of summer houses, a few trees that can be used for their shade, and the “Syrmata”, the special nooks in the rocks that the fishermen store their boats.
You can reach this beach only by hiking a trail (or taking a boat) starting from Ano Meria and you will need to carry with you lots of water and food as there is nothing else around. Agios Georgios beach is also known as the nudist beach!
A bit of caution of the urchins between the rocks, you don’t want to step on them, trust me I have done this a few times and it is never nice!
Agali village and beach is in the west of Folegandros, a 10-minute drive from Chora and mostly protected from Northern winds. The Agali beach has fine white sand and is one of the few beaches in Folegandros easily reached by car. As Agali beach has hotels and taverns as well, it makes it the busiest beach on the island, especially when it comes to families with small children.
On both sides of Agali, there are a few other beaches: Fira, a small pebbled beach to the left-hand side, Galifos, Aghios Nikolaos, and Livadaki, to the right.
Galifos beach: A 10-minute walk from Agali you find yourself at Galifos beach, a tiny sandy beach with a couple of “rooms to let” around it. In Galifos the rooms have no electricity, most appealing to visitors that would like to forget about the modern world and technology and embrace the stunning beauty of Folegandros.
Agios (Saint) Nikolaos sandy and pebbles beach, is one of the most picturesque and most popular beaches in Folegandros.
It has quite a few trees to protect you from the fierce summer Greek sun, 2 taverns to have your lunch, and the church of Agios Nikolaos. You can get there by taking a small boat from Agali or you can walk for about 20′.
Livadaki beach has stunning green turquoise waters, white pebbles, and flat limestones around the beach.
The impressive rocks are formed by salt and sulfur are great for some exploration, and it would be good if you had a mask to see the deep around.
Easily reachable by boat from Agkali in only 10 minutes; alternatively, take the footpath from the end of Ano Meria (there is a sign) and get there after a 45-minute walk.
Petousi & Livadi Settlements
Livadi is 10 minutes far from Karavostasi and is a fertile area so you will see several farmhouses and cultivated land.
You can combine the visit to go to Livadi Beach which is considered among the best, with warm waters and a sandy beach. Also, here you can find a canteen and a restaurant at the camping site.
Petousi place can be reached from Chora in 15 minutes by car and it also has a few farmhouses.
Other Folegandros Beaches that you must pay a visit and swim are:
Vorina beach, an emerald-colored sandy beach.
Serfiotiko beach, on the north, usually empty of people, with small pebbles, few trees and some fishing boats
Where to Stay in Folegandros
I have a list of Folegandros hotels either by people who have actually stayed there and have let me know of their experience or from a local friend who comes from Folegandros and visits the island a few times a year and knows all the businesses on the island. If you plan to visit in July – August, book your Folegandros accommodation much earlier.
You see, there is just a small amount of accommodation available that gets fast booked. If you find one hotel you like book it and just check if it allows you to cancel later with no cancellation fees.
Folegandros Luxury/Boutique Hotels
- Aspalathras White Hotel: Located 300 m from Folegandros Chora, offering an amazing view, with Cycladic whitewashed fine guestrooms, a pool, and a fitness center, this is one of the best hotels to stay in Folegandros. Check availability and prices on Booking here
- Chora Resort & Spa: A stunning resort in Chora, with a large garden, view to the Panagia church, elegantly decorated rooms, with extended spa facilities, this is a unique luxury resort. Check availability and prices on Booking here
- Folegandros Apartments: Centrally located in the Folegandros Chora, this beautiful hotel features a pool, a hot tub, and a poolside snack bar. Free transfer from/to the port is provided. Check availability and prices on Booking here
- Polikandia Hotel: A very impressive luxury hotel, centrally located in Chora Folegandros, with a heated pool and spa and free transfer from Karavostasi. Check availability and prices on Booking here
- Vardia Bay Studios: Located conveniently to Karavostasi Port, this superior 3-star hotel offers high-quality accommodation with 17 beautifully decorated studios and 3 apartments. They have newly installed Hydromassage showers! Check availability and prices on Booking here
- Vrahos Boutique Hotel: Lovely Vrahos Hotel is located in Karavostasi, just a 1-minute walk from the beach. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar, the stylish whitewashed rooms with the hot tub. There is a free shuttle service at the property for your convenience. Check availability and prices on Booking here
Folegandros Budget Hotels
- Perigiali Rooms & Apartments: Located in the beautiful bay of Agali, Perigiali Rooms, a family-run hotel offers amazing sea views, a spacious and spotlessly clean room, and a hearty breakfast. Check availability and prices for Perigiali Rooms on Booking.com
- Eleni’s Studios: The studios are located in a very quiet area of Karavostasi beach, with a garden full of fantastic pistachio trees. Facilities like bakeries, bus stations, bars, and restaurants are within a few minutes walking distance. Check availability and prices for Eleni’s Studios on Booking.com
- Margarita’s Rooms: The rooms can be found in the Folegandros Chora Kastro area and it is actually a very well refurbished traditional house. I also like the Rooms because they are so cat friendly! Check availability and prices for Margarita’s Room on Booking.com
Folegandros Greece Camping
Free camping is not allowed in Folegandros but there is a nice organized camping site in Livadi, and you can find all the relevant info and photos here
What are Folegandros Best Local Dishes?
Greek cuisine is famous for its tastefulness, being one of the top healthy diets in the world, usually made with fresh ingredients. There are well-known dishes that are served all over the country such as dolmadakia and tzatziki and Greek salad. Besides, the all-time-classic Greek dishes here are some of the only found on Folegandros dishes that you should try when you are on the island:
- Matsata: local pasta, something between lasagne and noodles. Freshly made pasta accompanied with fresh tomato sauce, grated cheese, or chicken.
- Souroto: local soft white cheese, used widely in Greek salads instead of feta
- Kalasouna: Kalasouna is the local savoury pie, which is essentially an onion cheese pie – to die for!
- Biskotenia: Sweet choice of biscuits with chocolate and cream
- Watermelon pie: Sweet choice with fresh watermelon, honey, and sesame, totally yummy! You can have it by itself or with a ton of ice cream on top (my usual choice!)
Are there any good hikes on Folegandros?
If you are going to try all the Folegandros local food, you will then need to burn some of those calories!
Folegandros is a mountainous rocky island with deep valleys, steep uphills, and cliffs. Most of the island is a protected Natura 2000 habitat with shrubby vegetation and caves where the Mediterranean monk seals find refuge.
The highest mountain of the island is Agios Eleftherios mt with a peak at 455 m, on the south, and an ideal spot to watch the impressive sunset and the nearby islands of Milos and Sikinos. The second highest mount is Merovigli just at 312 m high on the north of Folegandros.
Folegandros is a small island, shaped by centuries of agriculture. It has a modest hiking network of 30 km of well-preserved trails.
My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much) and April (everything has blossomed).
There are 13 trails, most of them short ones (1.5-2 h) and one longer and more demanding hike the “Ano Meria – Livadaki – Agali – Chora” trail. In this trail, you should not miss visiting the wonderful Aspropountas Lighthouse and if it is summer, swimming in the secluded and astonishing wild-beauty beach of Livadaki.
Is There an Animal Welfare Group on Folegandros?
To my knowledge, there is no official animal group on Folegandros but there must be good people who take care of them, especially during the off-season period, when tourists go back home.
In the countryside and rural Greece, sometimes the farmers can be cruel, more out of ignorance, rather than because they are genuinely mean. There have been incidents where they tie up the donkey’s or other farm animals’ feet with a short rope so that it won’t escape. This is totally unnecessary, it makes the animals suffer and potentially can cause an accident. If you see any animal cruelty, please report it immediately to the police. Greek laws on animals are nowadays quite strict.
When is Best to Visit Folegandros?
Folegandros never gets as busy as some other very popular islands (eg Mykonos, Santorini). Having said that, August might be also a busy month even for Folegandros.
If you visit in April, roundabout the time of the Greek Easter, you will be fascinated by the richness of the wildflowers covering the island such as Aegean anthillis, crocuses, wild carnations, daisies, lilies.
Greek Orthodox Easter is the most celebrated religious occasion in Greece. Especially in Folegandros, there are extra local customs: they celebrate Easter with tasteful delicacies such as Lazarakia (bread with raisins) or small honeypies, or Easter pies. But besides the amazing Easter week with the house cleaning and Sunday celebrations in Folegandros, they also process the Icon from Panagia church above Chora to all the Chora houses, beaches, and ships for the blessing from the Icon.
The Icon procession is always on foot or on boats when visiting the beaches and the Icon moves on from Chora to Ano Meria to Karavostasi and to all the Folegandros settlements.
A lot of people are following the parade all over the island. As the procession enters the villages, the bells chime as a welcome to the Icon while the houses will have a great variety of dishes of food for the people to sample.
Summer is ideal for swimming and enjoying the island. In August it may be windy and as I mentioned already a bit more crowded than usual. September is a fantastic month not only for your holidays but also for some hiking which is almost impossible on the warm days of the summer.
For the very adventurous, Folegandros is open and working all year round even in the winter. It will be not dead with no people, but more like very quiet. Things are always open on the islands, even when tourists go away because there are local people living there permanently.
Useful Info for Folegandros Island
There is no hospital on the island but there is a small clinic and a pharmacy for any emergencies
There is no bank but 2 ATM. Not all hotels, restaurants, or shops accept credit cards. Better, have enough cash for your vacation
For any health emergency call +30 22860 41222 or +30 22860 41540 (Pharmacy)
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