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Folegandros Travel Guide
Folegandros Island Name

According to one theory, the island of Folegandros was given its name from the Phoenicians who observed its rocky formation and thus called the island “phelekgundari”, meaning stony land.
But, as the most predominant speculation quotes, Folegandros was actually named after one of the sons of king Minos, named Folegandros, who led the Minoans out of Crete to the island in order to find refuge because Cretans were persecuted from their homeland at the time.

Folegandros Inhabitants

Based on historical evidence the first inhabitants of Folegandros were the Carians from Asia Minor who were followed by the persecuted Cretans and then by the Dorians. All inhabitants worshipped Artemis and Apollo and, hence, one can still find the remains of a sanctuary of Artemis in Hora.

Folegandros Domination

In the 5th century BC Folegandros was under the domination of Athenians but after their defeat at Chaeronia at 338 B.C. Folegandros was passed over to Macedonians and later to the Ptolemy’s. When the Romans reigned over Greece they used Folegandros as an island of exile.

In 1204 the island was dominated by the Venetians with Marco Sanudo who established the Duchy of Naxos and offered independence in terms of religion  to the inhabitants. After Marcos Sanudo the island passed to the Byzantines until the Ottomans gained its possession in 1617.

The Destruction and Rebirth

In 1715 the island of Folegandros was attacked by the Kapoudan Pasha, who sold the island’s inhabitants as slaves. The few inhabitants who were left on the island invited their neighbors from nearby islands to come and settle in Folegandros so as to create a new community. This community flourished in the 18th century thanks to the trade and other commercial services. The island was finally liberated during the Greek revolution in 1821.


According to mythology, Folegandros was created by God Neptune when he got angry with the Cyclades Nymphs and decided to turn them into islands.

The naming of the island also has a version in mythology since it is believed that the first inhabitants of the island were some shepherds seeking for grassland for their flocks. Since all shepherds were men (andres in the Greek language) the island became known as “Polyandros” meaning many men. From that name derives the current name of the island.


The Hryssospilia cave, meaning “golden cave” in Greek, is a remarkable cave found at an altitude of approximately 10 meters above sea level on the hillside of mountain Palaiokastro. Situated on the eastern coast of the island Hryssospilia cave ,one of the biggest caves in Greece, is adorned with stalactites and stalagmites forming a throne-like perch along the cave’s long chamber.

The cave is considered an exceptional archeological site since it was used as a place for rites, mystique rituals and sacred ceremonies during the 4th century B.C. according to some archeological findings. It was also the ideal place to be used as a shelter during the Roman domination and a place for shepherds to water their flocks because of its natural spring and its secluded location.

Access to the cave is really difficult both from the land and sea. The excursion boats that go on daily island tours will stop at the cave’s entrance for a few minutes for travelers to take a quick glimpse and admire this spectacular natural formation.

The Castle of Hora

Established by Marco Sanudo, the duke of Naxos during 1212, the castle of Folegandros is a medieval settlement created in order to protect the island’s population from enemies and pirate invasions.Still inhabited and well preserved the castle offers breathtaking views of the island and the surrounding Aegean Sea.
Within the settlement one can encounter several picturesque churches as well as the unique “monospita” houses which were single room houses built for entire families. The Castle is easily accessed on foot from the Hora of Folegandros.

Archeological Sites of Interest

•    Kastello
Remains of a prehistoric settlement were found at the small picturesque rocky peninsula of Kastellos, situated on the northern side of the island. Some archeological findings are dated back to the Early Cycladic period.

•    Palaiokastro
Located right above the church of Panagia in the Hora of Folegandros the site of Palaiokastro is a site of significant importance due to the remains of an ancient acropolis dating back to the Classic period and the Byzantine era.

•    Hora
Considered to be one of the most picturesque and unspoiled settlements of the Cyclades island complex, Hhora is the capital town of Folegandros. Hora consists of two separate settlements, the old medieval settlement of Castle (Kastro in Greek) and the newer settlement of Horio. Representing the quintessence of the Cyclades, Hora is an authentic Cycladic town with narrow paved streets, whitewashed houses, scenic churches and consecutive squares. Many tourist facilities are available at Hora including lodgings, restaurants, cafes and bars as well as other tourist services and must see sights.

Folegandros Villages

•    Karavostasi harbor village
Karavostasi is the quiet scenic harbor village of Folegandros situated at approximately 2 km distance from Hora.  It is surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches of the island and it is lined up with taverns and cafes and filled with traditional Cycladic houses, picturesque lodgings and hotels.

•    Ano Meria village
Only a few km away from Hora the picturesque village of Ano Meria is nuzzled amidst lush green fields. Visitors will be enchanted by its unraveling scenic beauty and its unspoiled character. It is worth while visiting the Laographic museum and tasting the local handmade pasta “matsata”.

•    Livadi Village
Known for its stunningly beautiful golden sand beach the village of Livadi is a quiet agricultural settlement situated in the southeast of Hora.

•    Agali Village
Amphitheatrically built over the bay of Vathy and only a few kilometers away from Hora, the name of Agali village means “embrace” in the Greek language. The beach of Agali is considered to be one of the best beaches on the island, therefore many visitors choose to go there for a swim or for a meal at one of the local beachside taverns. Swimming and sailing games and competitions are organized every August by the Nautical Association of Folegandros at Agali beach. The village of Agali offers some beautiful accommodation lodgings and it is located nearby the pristine beaches of Agios Nikolaos and Fira.

The Ecology and Folklore Museum

Situated at Ano Meria, the island’s Ecology and Folklore museum is actually a “themonia”, a bulding in formation  of an original Folegandros farm of the 19thcentury. The museum consists of four buildings, old and more contemporary, featuring a collection of tools, utensils and furnishes as well as other exhibits.

A small threshing floor, a large basin, a small wine press, a traditional oil-press, an authentic wood oven, a wine cellar, a small vineyard and acres used for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables can be found all around the farm.

Panagia’s church (the church of Virgin Mary)

Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Panagia church is the most popular church on Folegandros. According to archeologists the church was built on the same place where an ancient temple used to be and constructed with the remains of this temple. Famous craftsmen have decorated both the interiors and exteriors of this church with the multi-domed basilica with exquisite inscriptions and statues.
According to the myth on May 1st of 1790 18 boats of Algerian pirates reached the island of Folegandros and the island’s frightened residents begged for Virgin Mary’s protection. Then all of a sudden a strong wind blew and sank the ships without leaving any survivors. Thus on the 1st of May each year the church of Panagia is celebrated with a feast. The church can be reached from the Pounta square at Hora by following an uphill path.

The lighthouse of Aspropounta

Built in 1919 the whitewashed lighthouse of Aspropounta lies 58 meters above sea level and has an 11 meter tall beacon. It can easily be reached from Livadaki or Pano Meria.

Eat & Drink
TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Lounge & Atmospheric
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Lounge & Atmospheric
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Bar - Restaurant,   STYLE: Mediterranean & International Cuisine
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Ano Meria

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Ano Meria

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Folegandros Hora

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Folegandros Hora

Practical info
General Info

The climate of Folegandros is warm and pleasurable despite the humidity levels, which are balanced by the northern winds who keep the atmosphere pretty dry. On the island of Folegandros the highest temperatures are usually measured during the months of May and June while the northeastern winds help the atmosphere cool a little during summer months.

The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad. All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 8 digits (e.g. 210-3227400).
The Area Code for Folegandros is: +30 22860 xxxxx. If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call.

Euro €
Euro Coins:
1 and 2 euro coins (gold and silver color)
10, 20 and 50 cents (gold color) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper color)
1 euro = 100 cents/centimes
Euro Bank Notes: Are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes

Getting There

Folegandros Island doesn’t have an airport and the closest airport to Folegandros is on the island of Santorini, which is approximately two and a half hours from the port of Folegandros by boat.

The island of Folegandros can be reached by a conventional ship from Piraeus with a journey lasting approximately 6 hours or by High-Speed catamaran during the summer months with a journey lasting almost 4 hours. The island is also connected with most of the Cycladic islands by frequent ferry services and hydrofoils.

Aegean Speed Lines (fast ferry). For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Aegean Speed Lines website www.aegeanspeedlines.gr

Sea Jets (fast ferry). For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Sea Jets website www.seajets.gr

Zante Ferries (normal ferry).   For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Sea Jets website www.zanteferries.gr
Lane Sea Lines (normal ferry). For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Lane Sea Lines website www.lane.gr

Nel Lines (normal ferry). For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Nel Lines website www.nel.gr

Ventouris Sea Lines (normal ferry). For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit the Ventouris Sea Lines website www.ventourissealines.gr

Local Transportation

Folegandros is a small island and so the distances one needs to cover are also relatively small, making it possible for visitors to move around the island without necessarily bringing or renting a car. A scooter or a 4wd vehicle though could come in handy due to the island’s rocky formation and the difficult access to most of its beaches. Considering the island’s size, Folegandros’ transportation infrastructure is pretty adequate. Local buses and excursion boats are the best way to get around the island.

The local buses of Folegandros connect the Hora of Folegandros with the picturesque harbor of Karavostassi and the scenic village of Ano Meria in the northern side of the island.
Tel.: +30 22860 41043, +30 22860 41238

There is only one taxi service in the island of Folegandros which it would be wise to book in advance.                                                                                                                                                                  Tel.: +30 22860 41048, +30 69446 93957

Visitors can also pick up a water taxi from Karavostassi harbor to visit all secluded stunningly beautiful beaches of the island of Folegandros.   

Excursion boats leave from the harbor of Karavostassi and cruise around the island. It is a good way to see the beauties of the island and visit some of the most private and tranquil beaches.

Visitors can use the inter-Cycladic line from Syros and other Cycladic islands to connect to the island of Folegandros.

Cars and motorbikes are also available for rent for those wishing to explore the island on their own pace.  

Local Services

There is no bank in the island of Folegandros therefore all transactions are processed through an ATM, travel agents and hotels.
Maraki Travel Agency. Tel.: +30 22860 41273
Sottovento Travel. Tel.:+30 22860 41444

Visitors should make sure when arriving on the island to have the necessary cash with them for the entire stay because exchange rates at travel agents and hotels can be much higher than they officially rates and the one and only ATM may run out of cash during high peak season.               

The Greek post office is called ELTA and you can find the post office savings bank of Folegandros by the central square of Hora. The post office performs money transactions and cash currency exchange. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. You shouldn’t expect to find such boxes in the island. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE. +30 Post office no:  +30 22860 41299

The police station of Folegandros is right behind the post office and OTE in Hora.              
Tel.: +30 22860 41249

The Municipality of Folegandros is situated in Folegandros Hora. Tel.: +30 22860 41285

Useful Numbers

• Radio Taxi: +30 6944-693957, 22860-41048
• Tourist Police: +30 22860 41249
• Port Authority: +30 2286041530
• Hellenic National Meteoroligcal Service: +30 210 9699101-3
• Elpa ( Car breakdown tourist information service): 174

In Folegandros there are a few stores selling magazines and international press but for those who enjoy reading through a variety of international press, it would be a wise choice to bring their own books or magazines because there is not a great variety on the island.

• Police: 100
• Fire Department: 199
• Ambulance: 166

There is a rural health center in Folegandros for health emergencies at Pounta square.
Health center - Regional surgeries. Tel: +30 22860-41222

If visitors are in need of medication or pharmaceutical cosmetics there is a pharmacy right in the heart of Hora within the high school building.
Tel.: +30 22860 41540

There are a few travel agents in the Hora of Folegandros that can arrange all kinds of travel arrangements, exchange cash and offer island information and maps.
• Diaplous, Hora, Tel.: +30 22860 41158
• Maraki Travel, Hora, Tel.: +30 22860 41273
• Sottovento Travel, Hora, Tel.: +30 22860 41444, +30 6939 498972

Pristine golden beach with emerald waters
Location:Vathy Bay, 4 km western to the town of Folegandros

Surrounded by steep rocky hills the beautiful beach of Agali at the picturesque bay of Vathy is considered to be one of the best beaches in Folegandros. It is a quiet unorganized sandy beach with emerald waters ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is affected by summer winds and there is never any shade except for the spots under the high rocks. A few taverns as well as some rooms to let can be found a few meters away from the beach for those wishing to spend a few days in the area.

Pristine sandy beach and seabed
Location:Ano Meria, Northern coast of the island

Set within a natural cove with emerald waters the long sandy beach of Agios Georgios at the northern part of the island attracts many visitors throughout the summer months. It is small secluded beach ideal for swimming and sunbathing when not affected by summer winds. Some tamarisk trees offer shade to the bathers who should bring along all provisions necessary since the beach is totally unorganized. Agios Georgios is named after the picturesque church nearby and can be reached on foot from Ano Meria or by scooters and 4x4s.

A secluded and private beach retreat
Location:Agali , West of Vathy Bay

Nestled in the scenic landscape of the area, the golden sandy pebbled beach of Agios Nikolaos was named after the small church built on top of a hill right by the beach. Situated at approximately 20 minutes distance from Agali, the beach of Agios Nikolaos is only accessible on foot or by excursion boats, since no road of any kind leads there. Some tamarisks provide shade to bathers and there is also one tavern serving fresh fish and grilled meat a few meters away. Due to its secluded location this beach is nudism friendly.

A haven of tranquility and pristine beauty
Location:Ano Meria, 40 min. Walking distance from Ano Meria

The fine pebbled beach of Ambeli in the northwestern coast of Folegandros is a remote secluded beach for those seeking tranquility and peacefulness. Among the precipitous rocks and the crystal clear waters visitors can enjoy the pristine beauty and the stunning sunset in the late afternoon hours. Due to its private setting this beach is nudist friendly. The beach of Ambeli is completely unorganized therefore bathers should arrange to bring along all the necessities required. Access is only possible by private boats or yachts or on foot from Agios Panteleimonas at Ano Meria.

An emerald green oasis of tranquility
Location:Vorina, At the middle of the eastern coast

Situated northern to Chora in the eastern coast of Folegandros the beach of Vorina is a stunningly beautiful beach with crystal clear waters and fine pebbles surrounded by green stone hills. Naturists are welcome to enjoy the sun and sea in any way they please since the beach of Vorina is set in a very private location. The beach offers no facilities therefore provisions should be arranged. Vorina beach can be reached by private boat or by foot following the route from Chora to Ano Meria.

A secluded beach haven
Location:Ano Meria, northeastern coast of the island

Detouched by the surrounding areas due to high rocks and nestled within an open cove, the beach of Serfiotiko allows visitors to swim in crystal clear waters and soak up in sun as they laze on the beach in total privacy. The few tamarisk trees that are scattered around offer some shade but the beach not at all organized, therefore visitors should arrange to bring along water, snacks and other necessities. Nudism is usual since there are probably only a few people visiting this small haven. The beach of Serfiotico is affected by several winds and can only be reached on foot by Ano Meria or by private boats.

Amazing sandy beach with crystal waters
Location:Livadi, Approximately 1200 m from Karavostasi settlement

Situated near the scenic village of Karavostasi as well as the tourist settlement of Livadi, Livadi beach is a long sandy beach with sapphire waters, ideal for sunbathing, beach fun and water sports. Tamarisk trees offer shade to bathers who can also enjoy a refreshing drink or snack from the restaurant and bar at the camping nearby. It is preferred by young people that enjoy water sports activities and games on the beach.

Private beach haven
Location:Livadi, 40 km from Livadi

Katergo is one of the most famous beaches of Folegandros due to its crystal emerald waters and its remote location. Offering solitude and serene repose this stunningly beautiful long pebbled beach is ideal for anyone wanting to escape in an oasis of peace and seclusion. The locals used to extract haematite in this area and thus gave the beach the name Katergo meaning galley. Katergo beach is completely non organized and can only be reached by boat or an hour long hiking from Livadi. Visitors should take provisions because no shade or even water is available.

Unspoiled and pristine sandy beach
Location:Karavostasi, 800 m from Karavostasi

On the way from Karavostasis to Livadi there are three successive pristine beaches hidden in natural coves with rustic surroundings. The first beach to encounter is Latinaki beach, a beautiful secluded beach with gold sand and crystalline waters embraced by the scenic environment. Following Latinaki beach is the small sandy beach of Vincenzo fringed by rocks for those who seek privacy. Pountaki beach is the last beach in line, similar to the other two. All three beaches are endowed with serene seclusion and calmness and boast beautiful views to the surrounding islands.

Popular sand and pebbled beach with emerald waters
Location:Karavostasi, 3,5 klm southeastern from Chora

Situated in the picturesque settlement of Karavostassi, Hohlidia beach is a beautiful sand and pebbled beach with emerald waters. The sandy seabed and the swallow waters among downed trees make this beach an ideal choice for families with small children. Children can also attend swimming and sailing courses here during summer months. Hohlidia is one of the most popular beaches on the island of Folegandros lined with coastal hotels, bars and taverns and has a lively atmosphere throughout the day.


Local Specialties & Recipes
Local Specialties

The island of Folegandros, just like all other Greek islands, has a variety of local specialties worth trying. From Hora, to Ano Meria and the picturesque village of Agali one can find many traditional taverns serving homemade delicacies and mouthwatering local specialties for visitors to enjoy.

• “Kalasouna” is a typical Folegandros cheese pie made with sorouto cheese and onions
• Cooked capers
• “Matsata” handmade pasta served with rabbit or cockerel
• Oven baked chickpeas
• “Karpouzenia” is traditional sweet pie made of watermelon, honey and sesame
• Pastelli bar made with sesame and honey

Local Products
Folegandros Products

Even though only a small part of the island of Folegandros is cultivated, the goods produced here are of high quality and excellent taste. Visitors will definitely enjoy some of the following products in most restaurants and taverns on the island.

• Sorouto, a fresh soft white cheese which is mostly used in salads.
• Folegandros cheese which is a hard type of cheese that can be eaten as a snack, with wine or even grated over pasta.
• Olive oil
• Local wine
• Local meat (pork, goat, veal)
• Fresh lobster and seafood
• Local tomatoes and cucumbers cultivated without water
• Folegandros honey

July Feasts

Every July the island awakes from its winter slumber with the summer’s festival taking place throughout the island, perambulating the streets of Kastro, the picturesque port of Karavostassi and Ano Meria with theatrical performances, exhibitions, music concerts and workshops. The entire island comes alive with a wide selection of festivities for everyone to enjoy.

Other Summer Feasts

Each summer Folegandros Cultural Society organizes various exhibitions with photography, arts and ceramics themes. The Folklore Museum at Ano Meria is a major site of concerts and poetry reading events especially during full moon nights.

The Maritime Society also organizes at Karavostasi and Agali settlements swimming and sailing contests during August

Easter Celebrations

Easter in Folegandros is a unique experience no one should miss. The island is illuminated by candles and fireworks as people come to join the sweet singing of hymns. All homes are open waiting for the procession of the icon of Panagia with wine, raki and homemade sweets to treat all those accompanying the procession. 

Cycladia Tips
Useful Tips for a Pleasant Stay

The island of Folegandros is a small island with rocky shorelines and remote beaches, therefore there is no easy paths to the island’s beaches. The best option for  travelers might be to rent a scooter or a 4W type of vehicle in order to gain easy access to the beaches. They must also keep in mind that flip flops will not come handy since there might be a lot of walking or climbing around. Folegandros is also an ideal place for hikers and nature lovers. The beaches of Folegandros are totally unorganized so visitors should arrange for all necessary provisions such as water, snacks and sun umbrellas.

Shops & Galleries
Folegandros Shops

Most shops and galleries are situated in the Hora of Foleganrdos from gift stores to clothing stores and fishing equipment stores.

Fetich: Clothing store with handmade clothing and selected designer clothes as well as silver jewelry and unique home decorations can be found in this exceptional boutique store in Hora.
Tel.: +30 210 7228 987

Lisbet: Handmade ceramic creations, decorations and house ware in Hora.
Tel.: +30 22860 41271-41063

Tsimouris Apostolos: Jewellery store in Hora.
Tel.: +30 2286041524