Greece › Folegandros Best Places to Stay
by Santorini Dave • Updated: April 5, 2022
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The Best Areas to Stay in Folegandros
At the southern edge of the Cyclades between Santorini and Milos, Folegandros is a remarkably unspoiled island with dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and just three settlements connected by a single paved road with dirt trails branching off to the beaches. The antidote to the overcrowded nightclubs of Mykonos and the jam-packed caldera towns of Santorini, Folegandros retains its authentic charm, blissfully off the beaten path and virtually unknown to international tourists – though people are catching on. The island is tiny, a bit more than 32 square kilometers, and it is possible to walk its full length in about three hours. Travelers do not need a car here. In fact, many of the island’s best beaches, like Katergo and Agios Nikolaos, are accessible only by foot or by boat. Travelers do need to plan their finances in advance since there are no banks in Folegandros, just a few ATMs.
Rustic and welcoming, Folegandros has no shortage of incredible restaurants, along with a little nightlife and boutiques selling local crafts. Travelers will find most of the action in the main village, Chora. Perched 200 meters up on the cliffside with a commanding view over the sea, Chora is built around three pleasant, leafy squares dotted with centuries-old churches and brimming with authentic tavernas. The iconic Church of Panagia overlooks the village and is the island’s most popular sunset viewing point. Karavostasis, the main port, is home to some of the island’s best luxury hotels, a handful of excellent tavernas and cafes, and is the primary departure point for the numerous boat tours exploring the island’s secluded beaches, sea caves, and dive spots. Agali is the most popular beach destination, set in cove with impressive cliffs looming on each side, plus boat routes and hiking trails leading to tranquil beaches. Ano Meria is the second largest village of Folegandros. However, it’s more of a decentralized collection of terraced farms with some taverns, a market, and chapels scattered around – very rural and wide open.
The Best Places to Stay in Folegandros
- Best Luxury Hotels in Folegandros
Anemi • Onar • Chora Resort • Aspalathras White Hotel
- Best Boutique Hotels in Folegandros
Themonies Luxury Suites • Blue Sand • Anemomilos Boutique Hotel • Lemon Tree Houses • Polikandia • Provalma
- Best Beach Hotels in Folegandros
Blue Sand • Onar • Perigiali Rooms & Apartments
- Most Romantic/Honeymoon Hotels in Folegandros
Onar Suites & Villas • Anemi Hotel • Themonies Luxury Suites • Mar Inn • Fata Morgana Studios • Lemon Tree Houses
- Best Family Hotels in Folegandros
Anemomilos Boutique Hotel • Anemi Hotel • Blue Sand • Chora Resort • Folegandros Apartments • Polikandia Hotel
- Best Cheap Hotels in Folegandros
Perigiali Rooms & Apartments • Under the Palm Tree Studios • Ampelos
The Best Areas in Folegandros for…
- Best Places in Folegandros to Stay for First-Timers: Chora
The largest and most convenient village for first-timers to Folegandros is Chora. Here travelers will find a wide range of accommodation, a variety of dining options from fine to casual, the boutique vineyard Domaine Paliomilos, and even some low-key nightlife. The picturesque Church of Panagia sits just above the village, offering postcard-perfect sunset views, though there are several other sunset viewpoints for those who prefer to skip the hike up. Centrally located between Karavostasis and Ano Meria, Chora makes an excellent home base for exploring the rest of the island.
- Best Places in Folegandros to Stay for Families: Chora, Agali, Karavostasis
Chora is the most popular spot for families staying on the island. Not only is there a wide selection of family-friendly accommodation, but its compact, pedestrian-only core makes it easy for families to simply walk to get anything they may need: restaurants, groceries, ice cream, souvenirs, and pharmacies (the only two on the island). Agali is the most popular beach destination for families. This small settlement has a more casual vibe than Chora with a handful of tavernas and cafes open throughout the day and closing fairly early, so you can sleep to the sound of waves at night. A short, fun boat trip or nature hike west from Agali leads to kid-friendly Agios Nikolaos Beach, while hiking south leads to the “secret” beach of Fira. Karavostasis is another excellent choice, with easy access to the port for sailing and snorkeling excursions; a calm, organized beach served by friendly tavernas; easy walking to three more beaches (Vardia, Latinaki, and Vitsentzou); and some of the island’s best luxury, family hotels.
- Most Romantic Places in Folegandros: Chora, Agali, Ano Meria
Chora offers elegant restaurants for romantic dinners, a cobblestoned core brimming with cafes, a boutique winery, and swish hotels for special occasions. Sunsets here rival any in Santorini. Many hotels boast here sunset sea views from their rooms or pools, though most couples walk up the hill to the Church of Panagia for a panoramic view at least once during their stay. Agali offers a more chilled-out option for couples. The beach is shielded from the wind with crystal blue waters and a range of casual tavernas and small hotels. A handful of beaches are within hiking distance and even more are accessible via boat. From Agali, there is an hourly bus service to Chora, making it easy to enjoy the beaches by day and venture into town for dinner and a drink. To really get away from it all, couples should head to Ano Meria, a rural village with rolling hills of farmland, authentic tavernas, and hiking trails to some of the island’s most secluded beaches and charming little Aspropournta Lighthouse.
- Best Places in Folegandros to Stay for the Beach: Agali, Karavostasis
Agali and Karvostasis are the best options for beach vacations. Not only do both areas have their own organized beaches with restaurants, but they both offer easy access to other less crowded, natural beaches. Agali Beach is linked to the island’s third organized beach, Agios Nikolaos, by a well-worn hiking trail and frequent boat service. If you opt to hike, you’ll pass by Galifos Beach on the way, a pristine beach popular with nudists, despite the handmade signs warning them off. Heading south from Agali leads to Fira Beach a tranquil, sand-and-pebble beach facing west for serene sunsets. Karavostasis’ main beach, Chochlidia, is the closest beach to the port but remains among the calmest beaches in Folegandros with a pebbly shore, clean, clear water, and nearby tavernas offering food and shade. On the opposite side of the headland from the port is Vardia Beach, a sandy, unorganized beach hugged by dramatic cliffs. Fairly exposed to the meltemi (dry north winds of the Aegean), it can get windy with choppy waves at times. South along the coastline from the port (a 10-minute walk) are Latinaki and Vetsentzou Beaches, both small, sandy, shallow with calm water, and practically deserted. Just a little farther south (about 20 minutes on foot) is Livadi Beach, a wider, sandier beach with tamarisk trees for shade. From Karavostasis Port, the water taxi runs hourly to Katergo Beach, loved for its rugged, wild beauty.
- Best Places in Folegandros to Stay for Nightlife and Restaurants: Chora
Travelers will find high-quality food and drinks throughout the island, but Chora has the widest selection. There are no nightclubs in Folegandros, but you’ll find several lively cocktail bars spilling out onto the squares and the sidewalks of Chora. The main nightlife strip runs between Saint Nikolaos Church at the north end and Saints Barbara and Paraskevi Church at the south end. From north to south, you’ll find Astarti Bar (known for great rakomelo and Greek music), Theo Bar (refreshing classic cocktails), Beez Cocktail Bar (outstanding signature cocktails with soul/r&b/reggae music), and Ba Raki (chill bar on a cute church square). Laumi and Aquarius both serve creative cocktails in a relaxed environment with great music. For wine, Merkouri offers a wide range of Greek varieties, while the one and only winery of Folegandros, Domaine Paliomilos, offers tastings and pairings in their historic, 19th-century building. Chora also has the widest choice of restaurants, tavernas, bakeries, and cafes on the island, from fine dining at Blue Cuisine to authentic Greek meze at To Goupi, from Italian specialists at To Zimaraki to Thai street food and creative cocktails at Tuk Tuk Thai Spirit House. Pounta cooks up the best brunch in Folegandros and has live music every night. Lotzia is the best kafeneíon (traditional Greek cafe) for coffee and pastries, especially the galaktoboureko, a sweet, custard-filled, phyllo dessert.
- Best Places in Folegandros to Stay for a Local Vibe: Ano Meria
Idyllic Ano Meria is the best spot to leave the tourist crowds behind and get a taste of authentic Folegandros. The village is a loosely connected smattering of farms, homesteads, and whitewashed churches. Travelers will immediately notice the terraced fields built with stone retaining walls spreading down the hillsides. There are few shops and restaurants scattered here, and most cater to local tastes. Irini’s, part taverna and part mini-market, is a longtime favorite, as is Sinadisi, the best place to try the island’s specialty, matsata, a handmade pasta served with a red sauce and/or braised rooster, rabbit, or meat. The area’s lone tourist attraction is the Folklore Museum, illuminating the daily life of the island’s historic inhabitants.
The 4 Best Places in Folegandros for Tourists
The largest village on the island, Chora is where most travelers choose to stay for its sheer variety of accommodation, dining, relaxed nightlife, and for its central location. The village sits on a sheer cliff about 200 meters above sea level and offers a slew of gorgeous sunset viewing points along the edge, the most popular being the Church of Panagia, which overlooks the village and sea. The compact core is comprised of three tree-shaded squares connected by narrow, cobblestone lanes closed off from car traffic and brimming with busy tavernas, sidewalk cafes, picturesque churches, and boutiques selling local crafts. Toward the north end of the village is Kastro, the oldest neighborhood of Chora. Built by the Venetians in the 13th century, the neighborhood consists of whitewashed rows of tightly packed buildings that once made up the wall of the old castle. Family-run boutique hotels make up the bulk of accommodation here, most in the moderate price range with a few luxury and budget options on offer. Chora is about midway between the port of Karavostasis and the rural village Ano Meria, and bus service runs frequently (with a stop by Agali on the way to Ano Meria), making this an ideal home base for island exploration. The island’s only two pharmacies are here, and this is one of only two villages on the island that have ATMs – there are no banks in Folegandros.
- Best Hotels: Chora Resort • Themonies Luxury Suites • Anemomilos Boutique Hotel • Polikandia • Folegandros Apartments • Mar Inn • Fata Morgana Studios • Aspalathras White Hotel
The small port of Karavostasis sits in a natural harbor facing south, protected from the strong north wind. Its main beach, Chochlidia (pictured above), is served by a couple of tavernas and is among the calmest on the island with a pebbly shore and crystal waters almost as waveless as a lake. Chochlidia is just one in a string of beaches fronting Karavostasis. Sandy, secluded Vardia Beach is just north at the base of a dramatic cliff, accessible by a stairway, while skinny, quiet Latinaki and Vitsentzou Beaches and the wide, sandy Livadi Beach rest just south. A handful of luxury hotels are here, including Anemi, Folegandros’ only 5-star resort, along with more moderately priced boutique and budget hotels. There are fewer restaurants here than in Chora, but still plenty of great options. Sea Sense and Vegera offer sophisticated, fine dining with carefully selected wines. For casual meals, Dal Capo is the best cafe at the port, while Akrogiali is the best café on the beach. The main transportation hub of the island, Karavostasis features not only the bus line to Chora, Agali, and Ano Meria at the port but also hourly water taxis to rugged Katergo Beach, plus tour boats to sea caves and otherwise inaccessible beaches. Outside of Chora, Karavostasis is the only place on the island with an ATM.
The most popular beach destination of Folegandros is Agali. From the Greek word meaning “hug,” Agali Beach does seem to be embraced by the high cliffs surrounding it. This sandy beach lies on the south side of the island, protected from the north wind with dazzling turquoise water. Travelers will find a clutch of laid-back tavernas and cafes at the beach, along with one upscale boutique hotel, and a few friendly budget hotels and rooms to let. A coastal trail passing by Agali connects it to three more beaches: to the south, Fira Beach (quiet, sandy, amazing sunset views) and to the west, Glyfada Beach (a pebbly beach set in a tiny cove) and Agios Nikolaos Beach (a sandy beach with shade trees and two delicious tavernas). There is an hourly water taxi to and from Agios Nikolaos Beach and Livadaki Beach, a remote, pebbly beach with a hiking trail to 100-year-old Aspropounta Lighthouse, one of the largest in the Cyclades. With frequent bus service to the port, Chora, and Ano Meria, a car is not necessary here, but it does make it much easier to get around.
The most traditional village on Folegandros, Ano Meria is an active, agricultural community. There is no central core – no squares, no alleyways. Instead, the farms, churches, and homes are peppered across the landscape. The farmland is the most distinctive feature of the village, where barley is still grown traditionally in terraces separated by stone retaining walls and spilling down the hills to the sea. Travelers will also see the lemonospito, or lemon houses, which are circular or square walled shelters, each with a lemon tree planted inside and shielded from the strong north wind. Most houses here are themonies, autonomous agricultural complexes with threshing floors, built in a rectangular shape out of stone and mud, blending into the environment, and going unseen by potential raiders. For a glimpse into the local farm lifestyle, visit the Folklore Museum, a lovingly restored themonia. Though there are few restaurants here, these are among the very best to try local dishes like matsata, thick, handmade, ribbons of pasta with a tomato-based sauce, usually topped with braised rabbit, rooster, or goat. Sinadisi (with gorgeous views) and Irini’s (a mainstay taverna) are the best spots to try the local fare. Maragkoudiko is the best spot here for Greek grilled favorites, like souvlaki and gyros, while Under the Palm Tree is the best breakfast and brunch cafe. Don’t miss the rustic Folegandros Bakery, nestled on a pedestrian pathway off the main road, the best bakery on the island for local favorites, kalasouna pie (caramelized onion and goat cheese) and karpouzopita (watermelon pie). A car is not absolutely necessary here, as there is regular bus service; however, it does make it much more convenient for exploring the rest of the island.
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