General Information on Folegandros
Folegandros belongs to the Cyclades cluster, between Sikinos and Milos. Its coasts are quite steep, and form capes, such as Kasteli, Kyparissos, Aspropounta, Grota, Livadi etc. It is considered one of the most charming Greek islands. Since the early 1980s, tourists arrive in Folegandros in increasing numbers. Apart from tourism, another main source of income in the island is fishing and agriculture.
Visitors will get a taste of genuine island life, rather than nonstop parties. Nevertheless, Folegandros gets crowded during July and August, but is otherwise very peaceful. The island has several nice beaches and a striking landscape.
History of Folegandros
The island is mentioned in Greek mythology: it was inhabited by shepherds from West Greece, searching for pastures. Minoan Cretans later came here, led by the son of Minos, Folegandros. During the historical period, it is possible that the inhabitants were Dorians from Santorini. In 425 BC, it was a vassal to Athens, paying taxes, while it also contributed financially in the repair of the Snactuary of Apollo in Delphi during the 4th and 3rd century BC.
Romans used the island as a place of exile. During the occupation by the Franks, leader Marco Sanudo ordered the construction of a fortress. It remained under Venetian rule until 1566, when it was destroyed by Turkish pirates. It was conquered by the Turks in 1617 and remained in their hands until 1821.
Towns & Villages in Folegandros
Hora: Hora or Folegandros, which consists of two settlements, is located above the harbour at Karavostassis. In the old part of the town, in the area of the kastro, the outside walls of the houses form a fortifying wall (as is the case of many Cycladic islands).
The recent part of the town is equally attractive, with narrow little alleyways, low stonewalls, courtyards, wooden balconies and Aegean-style churches. The church of Panagia, the best of the island, was built on parts of the ancient wall.
Slightly further lies Chryssospilia, which has some magnificent stalactites, stalagmites and relics from antiquity, and the area of Ano Meria, consisting of a number of small hamlets, where the locals celebrate the feast of Agios Panteleimon on 27 July. There is an Ecology and Folk Museum in Ano Meria which contains reconstructed exhibits and scenes from the traditional peasant way of life.
Beaches in Folegandros
Well known beaches at the southern and western part of the island are Livadi, Livadaki, Ampeli, Dendro and Avlaki. Other great beaches are Latinaki, Katergo, Fyra, Galyfos and Agios Nikolaos. Near the port are the beaches of Karavostassi and Vardia.
Top Things to Do in Folegandros
Accommodations have increased in recent years, without altering the island atmosphere. The island is full of churches and chapels, its most attractive being the church of Virgin Mary on the hilltop next to Hora, that is only accessible on foot. Don't miss the local delicacies, such as matsata, a type of pasta served with lamb or spicy meatballs (soutzoukakia), and karpouzenia, a dessert made of watermelon, honey and sesame.
How to Reach Folegandros
By sea: Folegandros is connected to Piraeus by high speed ferries, the trip lasting 3.5-4 hours. The route to Folegandros passes by the islands of Sifnos, Milos, Santorini, Amorgos, Naxos, Paros and Syros. Non-high speed ships also reach Folegandros from Piraeus, after 11 hours. Local routes connect Folegandros to Santorini, Anafi, Ios, Sikinos, Naxos, Paros, Syros, Kythnos and Kea.
Getting Around in Folegandros
There are bus services on the island, connecting Karavostassi, Hora, Angali and Ano Meria. Small boats also offer rides around the island in summertime. Taxi services are also available, and car rentals operate as well.
Weather in Folegandros
The climate is dry, and precipitation is rare. Strong northern winds blow all year round; notice how the trees on the island tilt to the south.
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Map of Folegandros