Folegandros

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The Island of Iron

Wild Sceneries and Rugged Coastlines Under the Romance of the Moon
While approaching the harbour of Folegandros, you will be fascinated from the barren beauty of the towering cliffs that resemble just a rocky mountain. Folegandros has built its own myth as the island of the measure as the residents have managed to maintain the authenticity of this mysterious island alive. The beautiful villages and the pristine beaches will definitely captivate the eyes of the travellers. Its just this wild beauty of the barren and rugged sceneries of Folegandros. As for Hora, it is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean, a genuine sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Scattered whitewashed houses with colourful windows, purple bougainvillea hanging from the successive charming squares and labyrinthine alleys perching on the edge of the vertical cliff. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval villages of the Cyclades. Folegandros creates a bohemian atmosphere with the romanticism of Hora and its medieval colours, the charming scattered chapels and the magnificent sunset colours under the scents of the shrubs of thyme and oregano that decorate the dry slopes of the arid landscape. The puzzle of the island is completed with the breezy landscape of Karavostasis dominated from the reddish rocks, and the traditional cottages and stone windmills of Ano Meria. The tremendous beauty of Folegandros will make you forget everything.

Discover Folegandros

Best of Folegandros

The Capital of Folegandros

The Settlement of Hora is the capital of Folegandros located on the east side of the island. The beautiful settlement is a true sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Scattered whitewashed houses with colourful windows, purple bougainvillea hanging amongst the successive charming squares and labyrinthine alleys perching on the edge of the vertical cliff. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval villages of the Cyclades. However, one of the most intriguing parts of Hora is Kastro, the oldest part of the village. Kastro is a medieval fortified settlement that was built at the edge of a sheer cliff with the intention of protecting the inhabitants of the island from pirate invasions. Some of the houses are aged one thousands years old and they are still inhabited and maintained in a good condition. Kastro has been declared under historical preservation and it is under purview from the local department of the Archaeological Service.

The Beach of Katergo

The Beach of Katergo is the most beautiful beach of the island located on the south side of the island. It is a sandy and pebbled beach with sapphire waters with sceneries of extreme wild beauty. The easiest way of access is by boat.

The Cave of Chrisospilia

The Cave of Chrisospilia is a unique natural monument with a significant speleological interest located on the northeastern side of the island. The cave consists from two main chambers with rich stalactite formations and has a length of three hundred meters. The upper part of the cave is accessible through the ancient steps known as Hellenic steps. Access to the cave is difficult and dangerous from the land. However, excursion boats operate during the summer months.

The Church of Panagia

The Church of Panagia is the largest church of the island dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary. The church is built on a rocky hill above Hora on the foundations of an ancient temple. It is an impressive whitewashed church that displays an ancient inscription, sculpture and statue bases in the charming courtyard of the interior of the church. The marble epigraph inside the church refers to the renovation of the temple that took its present form after the reconstruction that was completed in 1821. The icon of Virgin Mary is linked with the pirate legends of Folegandros and it is carried to all the homes of Folegandros during the Easter. The church is accessible through a cobblestone street starting from the square of Pounda in Hora.

Archaeological Sites

The Ancient Town of Paleokastro lies on the mountain slopes above the churchyard of Panagia. In 1840, archaeological investigations discovered the remnants of an ancient wall and a medieval tower. Paleokastro is accessible from the narrow street close to the church. Here, one can admire panoramic views to the Aegean Sea.

Castles

Kastro is the oldest part of the village. Kastro is a medieval fortified settlement that was built at the edge of a sheer cliff with the intention of protecting the inhabitants of the island from pirate invasions. Some of the houses are aged one thousands years old and they are still inhabited and maintained in a good condition. Kastro has been declared under historical preservation and it is under purview from the local department of the Archaeological Service.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Pantanassa lies on the western side of Kastro in Hora. The church was built in 1830 at the expense of Georgios Staes, a notable person from Crete. It is the most beautiful church of the village. The church offers panoramic views to the islands of Milos, Kimolos and Sifnos.

The Church of Panagia is the largest church of the island dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary. The church is built on a rocky hill above Hora on the foundations of an ancient temple. It is an impressive whitewashed church that displays an ancient inscription, sculpture and statue bases in the charming courtyard of the interior of the church. The marble epigraph inside the church refers to the renovation of the temple that took its present form after the reconstruction that was completed in 1821. The icon of Virgin Mary is linked with the pirate legends of Folegandros and it is carried to all the homes of Folegandros during the Easter. The church is accessible through a cobblestone street starting from the square of Pounda in Hora.

Museums and Monuments

The Folk Art Museum of Folegandros is located in the village of Ano Mera. The museum is a reproduction of typical agricultural residential unit, known as themonia, of the nineteenth century.

The Lighthouse of Aspropounta is an impressive lighthouse that was built in 1919. The lighthouse lies in an altitude of 59meters above the sea level.  The lighthouse is accessible through a hiking trail from the beach of Livadaki or the village of Ano Mera.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Chrisospilia is a unique natural monument with a significant speleological interest located on the northeastern side of the island. The cave consists from two main chambers with rich stalactite formations and has a length of three hundred meters. The upper part of the cave is accessible through the ancient steps known as Hellenic steps. Access to the cave is difficult and dangerous from the land. However, excursion boats operate during the summer months.

The Cave of Georgitsis is an impressive sea cave with blue waters located in the southern side of the island. The cave is accessible through a boat trip.

The Mount of Agios Eleftherios is the highest mountain of Folegandros with an altitude of 455 metres. The mountain is accessible through a hiking trail.  The highest point of the mountain offers panoramic views over the surrounding islands especially during the sunset.

Promenades and Villages

Ano Meria is an agricultural village located on the northwest side of the island. The houses of the village are agricultural and animal breeding units called themonies surrounded from arid landscapes. The village has preserved its authentic character and it is endowed from the beautiful landscapes of lush vegetation. The surrounding areas are ideal for hiking lovers.

Hora is the capital of Folegandros located on the east side of the island. The beautiful settlement is a true sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Scattered whitewashed houses with colourful windows, purple bougainvillea hanging amongst the successive charming squares and labyrinthine alleys perching on the edge of the vertical cliff. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval villages of the Cyclades. However, one of the most intriguing parts of Hora is Kastro, the oldest part of the village. Kastro is a medieval fortified settlement that was built at the edge of a sheer cliff with the intention of protecting the inhabitants of the island from pirate invasions. Some of the houses are aged one thousands years old and they are still inhabited and maintained in a good condition. Kastro has been declared under historical preservation and it is under purview from the local department of the Archaeological Service.

Karavostasis is the harbour of Folegandros located on the east side of the island. The main beach of the area is Hohlidia while the central bus station is found on the harbour. One can visit numerous beautiful beaches in a close proximity from Karavostasis.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Abeli, Northwest Folegandros

Spot: Church of Panagia, East Folegandros

Spot: Lighthouse of Aspropounta, Southwest Folegandros

Spot: Square of Pounda, East Folegandros

Excursions

Boat Tour: The tour of the island of Folegandros is a beautiful experience. Excursion boats operate from the harbour of Karavostasis.

Boat Tour: The Cave of Chrisospilia is a unique natural monument with a significant speleological interest located on the northeastern side of the island. The cave consists from two main chambers with rich stalactite formations and has a length of three hundred meters. The upper part of the cave is accessible through the ancient steps known as Hellenic steps. Access to the cave is difficult and dangerous from the land. However, excursion boats operate during the summer months.

Boat Trip: The Island of Ios is an island of history since the depths of centuries alleged as the home of Homer. An island embellished with magnificent beaches, beautiful landscapes of natural beauty and a lively nightlife. The island hides inexhaustible mysterious beauties that will fascinate you with the spirit of Homer wandering around the island under the sun of the Aegean. Charming chapels and archaeological treasures, dreamy beaches and cultural attractions, Ios has managed to tie everything. It is an island of diversionary, which gives you the opportunity to meet the other, unseen side of it, embellished from natural beauty sceneries, an ideal place for exploration. When you arrive at the harbor of Gialos, the whitewashed church of Agia Irini will salute you while looking higher, your eye will be charmed from the beautiful village of Hora surrounded from the windmills and the churches composing a landscape of unique beauty worthy to see before you disembark. A mountainous island is waiting for you to discover it, an island with a rugged coastline and scattered whitewashed churches embellished from the special touch of the grey mountains of Ios, overflown from olive trees and vineyards. Hora is the charming capital of Ios boasting one of the finest villages of Cycladic architecture with whitewashed cubic houses, stone windmills and light blue domes amongst the charming labyrinthine alleys spreading amphitheatrically on the slope of a hill dominated from the Medieval Castle. One can say that Ios knows that the secret to remain forever young is at your heart.

Boat Trip: The Island of Sikinos is a hidden treasure lying in the Aegean. From the time of legends, Sikinos appears as a mysterious refugee and nothing seems to have changed up until now, as it remains a haven for those who are looking the beauty of simplicity. In Sikinos, you might remember what seems forgotten from the gentle rhythms of a different lifestyle. The warmth of the local people and the unspoilt hospitality of the island will make you appreciate the simple moments in life. Hearing narrations for the ancient wines of Sikinos, the wild bees of Sikinos and the traditional custom of Panigirades from the local people of the island attest moments of a forgotten era. The local people are the true soul of Sikinos. You might feel like that they gave you a piece of their heart. As for its natural beauty, the pristine landscapes and sceneries of the small lady of the Cyclades are stunning, just with one word. Undoubtedly, the main village of Sikinos is one of the most authentic traditional settlements in the Aegean. Standing like a balcony to the open sea, the colours are even more intense in the early morning. Only then, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning clarity of the atmosphere. Discover the beautiful trails and the charming chapels, enjoy the crystal clear waters and wander around the labyrinthine alleys to enjoy the endless beauty of this pristine paradise. Shining in its simplicity, Sikinos is a hidden treasure!

Activities

Camping: Are you a camping lover? You will find a campsite at the beach of Livadi.

Diving: The varied coastline of Folegandros offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. The cave of Georgitsis, the reefs of Agios Ioannis and Serfiotiko and the the beautiful seabed of Agios Georgios, Livadi and Vorina are some of the most interesting diving spots. One will find a diving center in Hora of Folegandros.

Hiking: Folegandros hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the route that starts from the area of Kastro in Hora, passes below the chapel of Pantanassa and the chapel of Agios Savvas, and continues to the church of Stavros and Christos. From there, the path becomes tougher descending to the charming bay of Fira and then to the bay of Agali. (2) Another interesting trail includes the one that starts from the area of Agios Ioannis Eleimonas on the eastern side of the settlement of Ano Mera. The route continues towards a paved path that leads to the Folk Art Museum and the chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos. Descending to the abandoned village of Marmaro, the path passes above the bay of Agios Nikolas and descends to the beach of Galyfos. (3) It is also worth following the long route that starts from Taxiarhis and moves in a circular direction towards the area of Myloi in the settlement of Ano Mera. When you get to a fork that leads to Livadaki, a well-preserved path starts passing though the old agricultural settlement of Armiros and the chapel of Agioi Anargyri with panoramic views of the surrounding area. After passing the beach of Livadaki, the path continues uphill until the lighthouse of Aspropounta. At the end of the route, the trail passes from the area of Petalakia and above the gorge of Tzanis and ends to the area of Myloi in the settlement of Ano Meria. Discover more information from the Official Website of Folegandros.

Beaches

Abeli is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the northwest side of the island. The beach is rather secluded is ideal for those seeking for peacefulness. It is accessible through a path starting from the area of Agios Panteleimonas at Ano Meria. The easiest way to get to the beach is by boat.

Agali is a sandy beach with azure waters and sheer cliffs located on the western side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Folegandros and it has easy access. The beach of Agios Nikolaos is located close to Agali. Here, you will also find a small tavern with amazing views. Moreover, you can head to the small sandy cove of Fira from the same trail.

Agios Georgios is a sandy and pebbled beach with crystal clear waters located on the northern side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those seeking for tranquillity and isolation. The beach is accessible either through a car dirt road from Ano Meria or through a path starting from the village of Ano Meria.

Agios Nikolaos is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters located on the western side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for seclusion. Access to the beach is possible through a trail starting from the beach of Agali or by boat.

Hohlidia is a sandy and pebbled beach with crystal clear waters located in front of the houses of the settlement of Karavostasis. The beach has amenities on the surrounding areas.

Katergo is the most beautiful beach of the island located on the south side of the island. It is a sandy and pebbled beach with sapphire waters with sceneries of extreme wild beauty. The easiest way of access is by boat.

Latinaki Vincenzo- Poundaki are three successive sandy beaches with turquoise waters located on the southeast side of the island. All of the beaches are secluded ideal for those looking for tranquillity.  The beaches are accessible through a path starting from the harbour of Karavostasis.

Livadi is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the east side of the island. The beach is ideal for water sports. Access is possible through the road starting from the harbour of Karavostasis.

Serfiotiko is a sandy beach with crystal clear waters and tamarisk trees located on the northeast side of the island. The beach is an ideal place for nature lovers. Access is possible i through a path starting from the village of Ano Meria.

Vorina is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the eastern side of the island. The beach is an ideal place for nature lovers. Access is possible through a path starting from Hora to Ano Meria.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktails Inspirations

Coffee Corners

Anemomylos: Breakfast, Hora

Bakery of Nikos: Bakery, Ano Meria

Coffee Shops: Coffee, Square of Dounavis

Iliovasilema: Coffee, Ano Meria

Laoumi: Coffee, Hora

Pounda: Breakfast & Coffee, Hora

Rakendia: Breakfast and Coffee, Hora

O Theios: Ice Cream, Hora

Gastronomic Delights

Evas Garden: Greek Cuisine, Hora

Goupi: Greek Cuisine, Hora

I Sinantisi: Greek Cuisine, Ano Meria

Kafepantopoleion tis Kyrias Eirinis: Greek Cuisine, Ano Meria

Kyra Maria: Greek Cuisine, Ano Meria

Nicholas Michailidis: Greek Cuisine, Hora

Pane e Vino Pizzeria: Italian Cuisine, Ano Meria

Pounta: Greek Cuisine, Hora

Papalagi: Greek Cuisine, Agios Nikolaos beach

Pasithea: Seafood, Agali beach

Vegera: Mediterannean Cuisine, Karavostasis

Zefiros Anemos: Ouzo and Meze, Hora

Cocktails Inspirations

Anemomylos: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Astarti: Raki and Rakomelo, Hora

Ba Raki: Raki and Rakomelo, Hora

Laoumi: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Patitiri: Drinks, Hora

Pounda: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Rakendia: Drinks, Hora

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include souroto, a white goat cheese, rakomelo, an alcoholic drink made with raki and honey, and the local wines.

The local specialties of the island include kalasouna, a cheese pie made with souroto cheese and onions, matsata, a dish made of handmade pasta with rabbit or rooster, melopita, a cheese pie with mizithra cheese, honey and cinnamon, and karpouzenia, a local sweet made of friend watermelon.

Events & Festivals

Every summer, the Cultural Society of Folegandros organizes art and photography exhibitions.

Every summer, concerts and poetry readings take place on nights with full moon in the Museum of Ano Meria.

Every 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honour of the Assumption of Virgin Mary takes place at the square of Hora. The feast hosts folklore dances and traditional food specialties.

Every August, the Maritime Society organizes Swimming and Sailing Races that take place in the bays of Agali and Karavostasis.

Every July, the Folegandros Festival takes place in Ano Meria, Karavostasis and Kastro. The festival hosts numerous special cultural and folklore events.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, the creation of the Cyclades is attributed to God Poseidon. It is said that the god of the sea transformed the Cyclades nymphs into islands, when they angered him.
History

Archaeological findings show that the first inhabitants of Folegandros were the Carians from Asia Minor followed from the Cretans and the Dorians. The remains of the sanctuary of Artemis attest that the inhabitants worshipped goddess Artemis. During the 5th century BC, the island was under the domination of the Athenians while it passed over the Macedonias after their defeat at Chaeronia in 338 B.C. Folegandros was also dominated from Ptolemy until the Roman occupation, the time when the island served as an island of exile. In 1204, the Folegandros was dominated from Venetian Marco Sanudo who established the Duchy of Naxos and offered independence to the inhabitants in terms of religious matters. The island, then, passed to the Byzantine occupation until the Ottoman Empire in 1617. In 1715, Folegandros was attached from Kapoudan Pasha who sold the inhabitants as slaves while the few ones who were not captured invited their island neighbours to settle in Folegandros and form a new community. The island was finally liberated during the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Travel & Transport

By Boat (101 Nautical Miles): Folegandros is accessible by boat from the harbour of Piraeus. The journey usually lasts from four to six hours. Folegandros is also connected with the islands of Kimolos, Milos, Sifnos, Serifos and Thirassia amongst others. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

Mysterious Greece Tips

Bird Watching in Folegandros

It is interesting to mention that Folegandros is the passageway of numerous migratory birds coming from Africa in the springs and travel to Europe. In the fall, the migratory birds go back to Africa! The most rare species include the Eleonora Falcon and the Audouin Seagull!

Discover Folegandros by Boat

Undoubtedly, the easiest way to discover the beautiful beaches of Folegandros is to take the boat tour from the harbour of Karavostasis. Usually, the boat stops for swimming and relaxing at the inaccessible beaches of Folegandros! You will have the opportunity to discover Katergo, the most beautiful beach of the island!

Dounavis, Kontarini, Kritikos: The Squares of Hora

Hora stands out for its beautiful labyrinthine alleys that lead to the charming squares. The first square is Dounavi Square, else known as the Italian Square owing to the fact that the owner of the restaurant speaks Italian and attracts many Italians. The second square is the Kontarini Square that is bordered from two churches. As it is the liveliest square, it is also known as Piazza. The third square is the Kritikos Square, else known as Cretan Square, which hosts the homonymous tavern.

Easter Celebrations in Folegandros

Shortly before the beginning of the Holy Week of Easter, the people of Folegandros ensure that their houses are shining like a star. You must be wondering the reason! The holy icon of Virgin Mary passes from every single house of the island. The procession of the icon lasts three days and goes into all the houses of Folegandros along with procession of the pilgrims in order to bless the house. With the departure of the icon from each house, the people exchange greetings followed by a treat.

Enjoying a Cocktail at Rakendia in Hora

Hiding in the labyrinthine alleys of Hora, Rakendia is one of the best places to enjoy your cocktail in its lovely terrace overlooking the endless blue of the Aegean!

Folegandros Has the Art of Measure

Folegandros has built its own myth as the island of the “measure” as the residents have managed to maintain the authenticity of this mysterious island alive. It will be quite easy to adapt to the simple rhythms of life of Foleganros. So, make sure you leave all of your problems and thoughts in the ferryboat! Once you step in Folegandros, the air of serenity will definitely capture your body and soul!

Hiking At Its Best: Iron Land

Enchanted from the beautiful trails of Folegandros, one should dedicate an entire day to explore the hinterland of the island. Discover the hiking trails of Folegandros from the Official Website of Folegandros.

It’s Sunset Time

If you are looking for another spot other than Hora to admire the sunset, choose the lighthouse of Aspropounta. The lighthouse is accessible through a hiking trail from the beach of Livadaki or the village of Ano Mera. Here, you will have the opportunity to admire one of the best sunsets in Folegandros!

Meet Everyone in Folegandros

Folegandros is one of those places where all the people of the island become one big company during the night. As there are not many places you can go out for a drink, you will meet everyone passing in chronological order!

Poetry Readings Under the Full Moon

Every summer, concerts and poetry readings take place on nights with full moon in the Museum of Ano Meria!

Rakomelo and Raki in Hora of Folegandros

The charming taverns of the alleys in Hora is definitely a must visit! Rakomelo is the main element of the nightlife, so enjoy responsibly! Also, don’t forget to buy a bottle of rakomelo before you leave the island, as here you will find the best one in the Aegean!

Relax at one of the Finest Balconies of the Aegean

Standing like a natural balcony at the steep cliff of Hora, the square of Pounda is one of the best spots of the island to enjoy the endless blue of the Aegean Sea! Especially during the sunset hours!

Smells and Flavours in the Labyrinthine Alleys of Hora

Look for the bakery of Hora. It is hidden in one of the labyrinthine streets of Hora. You wont regret it!

Taste the Watermelon Delicacy of Folegandros

Surely one must taste the local delicacy of watermelon. Known as karpouzenia, it is one of the most summerish specialties you can enjoy in Greece! Karpouzenia is made from watermelon and honey baked in the oven!

Wandering around one of the Most Beautiful Villages of the Aegean

Hora is the capital of Folegandros located on the east side of the island. The beautiful settlement is a true sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Scattered whitewashed houses with colourful windows, purple bougainvillea hanging amongst the successive charming squares and labyrinthine alleys perching on the edge of the vertical cliff. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval villages of the Cyclades. However, one of the most intriguing parts of Hora is Kastro, the oldest part of the village. Kastro is a medieval fortified settlement that was built at the edge of a sheer cliff with the intention of protecting the inhabitants of the island from pirate invasions. Some of the houses are aged one thousands years old and they are still inhabited and maintained in a good condition. Kastro has been declared under historical preservation and it is under purview from the local department of the Archaeological Service.

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Agali Beach: Vipera Vip by Panoramio

Agios Georgios Beach: Psilossss by Panoramio

Ano Meria Village: Dl by Panoramio

Church of Panagia: Nick Gent by Panoramio

Hora of Folegandros: Gmaragkos by Panoramio

Karavostasi Harbour: F Longo by Panoramio

Kastro: Pel Thal by Wikimedia

Kastro houses: Haris Vilthoukas by Skaikairos.gr

Katergo beach: Konoikon by Panoramio

Landscape: K-K by Panoramio

Rocky Landscape: Tasos K by Panoramio

Seashore: Dimitris Kolokousis by Panoramio