Magical Chora, the untamed beauty of Ano Meria, secluded beaches, small tavernas: Folegandros has so much to offer that we had difficulty choosing the 10 best experiences we enjoyed on this south Cycladic island.
Text: Lina Kapetaniou
Translation: Lisa Radinovsky
1. Walk to Kastro. The medieval village of Kastro in Chora, the main town of Folegandros, has preserved its traditional character, with low whitewashed houses and arcades built on the edge of the cliff, 200 meters above sea level.
2. The square was full. Every evening the plazas of Chora fill with people. Whether to eat in one of the tavernas or for rakomelo (raki with honey) or a drink, visitors put on their best and grab one of the many small tables in Dounavi Square, Kontarini Square, or Piatsa Square. This is the hot spot of evening entertainment in Folegandros.
3. Breakfast in the courtyard. Hatzidakis, light popular and classical music on the loudspeakers, a flowery courtyard, and excellent service. At Pounta Restaurant in Pounta Square, breakfast is a whole ritual. There are many options: sandwiches, omelets, eggs, and traditional products such as honey and jam. The Pounta is also open the rest of the day, serving selected dishes. Information: Pounta Square, Tel. 22860-41063
4. Contact with Tradition. The Folk Art Museum in Ano Meria is a real treasure with regard to the folk history of the island. An old “themonia” (farmhouse) has been restored and hosts all the objects used by the people of Ano Meria in their daily life. In addition to the reconstruction of a typical house with the kitchen, the living room, and the bedroom, you will see a lot of tools and a very nice view of Chora from the courtyard of the museum. Information: Open daily in summer from 5:00 to 8:00 in the evening, telephone 22860-41370.
5. For Foodies. On the main street of Ano Meria in northern Folegandros, the taverna of Mimis is one of the top choices for dining on the island. Fresh octopus, fried shrimp, spawn, and handmade appetizers such as fava beans and hand cut French fries. Also served: grilled meats and traditional matsata (the island's locally made fettuccine) with rooster or rabbit. Authentic, affordable, and honest food. Information: Ano Meria, Telephone 22860-41377.
6. Rakomelo till Morning. It has become almost an institution in Folegandros. Rakomelo (raki with honey) comes and goes at a very rapid pace, and the patrons enjoy the terraces of the square and the adjacent church, since tables are scarce. The Astarti café / bar is the meeting place from the afternoon until late at night. With sophisticated music, mainly artistic, exquisite rakomelo, and pure drinks. Information: Piatsa Square, Chora, Folegandros, Telephone 22860-41091.
7. In the Arms of the Virgin Mary. Built on a hill above Chora, the church of the Virgin Mary makes the capital of Folegandros look even more mythical and theatrical. The winding, climbing trail requires endurance, but the picture of Chora from above will reward you. The best time to visit the church of the Virgin is just before sunset.
8. Beach hopping. They may not be easily accessible, there may not be many of them, but the beaches of Folegandros have crystal clear waters and are pleasantly different, from the fine pebbles and rocks at Livadaki to the great sandy beach of Agios Georgios and the cosmopolitan Agali to the dreamy [Katergo][TID:41622 ]. The best way to explore them is in the small boats that start from Karavostasis and Agali.
9. Traditional food. Produced exclusively on a small scale, mainly in homes and tavernas, the traditional dish of Folegandros is the handmade pasta called matsata. It looks like fettuccine (or a thicker version of the Greek hilopites) and can be served with rooster in tomato sauce, with rabbit, or plain with cheese. Wherever you try them on the island, they will definitely be fresh and delicious!
10. Walking the trails. The paths of Folegandros may have existed for centuries, but they were inhospitable to visitors until recently. The marking and description of the paths began only in 2013. The nonprofit group Active Folegandros began marking the lost trails of the island, and it also offers complete packages that include hiking and transport by boat to spots of rare beauty on the island's coast. Information: www.activefolegandros.blogspot.gr, Telephone 6947-649415.