Folegandros

Φολέγανδρος – Cyclades

Folegandros, with its very cultivated appearance, shaped by centuries of agriculture, is a really idyllic place and one of my favorite islands. The Chóra is small, relaxed and VERY beautiful, well hidden up in the hills. This may come as a surprise, as it cannot really be seen from the sea, except for some houses that threaten to spill over the sheer cliff edge! It has excellent views and a well preserved Kastro.

It even has some very shady and attractive squares, just ideal for quiet relaxation and good eating. A beautiful church is sitting on the hillside close by.

Even if this island is well outside the main tourist trails, it is not cheap (in any respect). The islanders refuse to sell their excellent island off short, and rightly so! By keeping Folegandros a well kept secret among an exclusive in-crowd they may manage to keep this place unspoilt and still make a living out of it. For once it seems that the tourist trade and the everyday genuine Greek life goes hand in hand. All this prettiness seems to appeal more to the jaded palate of the Italians and the French than the hordes from the North.

But under the apparent sophistication hides the beast of badly stored and oxidized wine. No wonder when bottles are stored on the upper shelf standing in more than 30 degrees heat for weeks (months?). When you find a taverna or restaurant with a good selection of fresh wine, stay! You have been warned.

The island is great for walking, as many footpaths and kalderímis not only have survived but are still in daily use. Yes, donkey transport is still widely used on Folegandros, due to, at least up till now, lack of roads.

Selected walks: Possible walks on this island are described in Trekking in Greece by Marc Dubin and Walking the Aegean Islands by Dieter Graf (Referred to as “/Graf/”). Also check out Santorini, Sifnos and the Western & Southern Cyclades by Dieter Graf, which should be more up-to-date. On the web visit Walking, hiking and trekking on FOLEGANDROS by Raymond Verdoolaege (/RV/). A good Road Editions 1:30000 map exists (see picture above left). Major footpaths are clearly marked on the map, with the unique feature of distances in km and walking time. I think the cheaper map sold locally is more complete wrt. paths though, if not necessarily as accurate (above right). See also the handwritten walking map depicted above.

•1 CHÓRA – FYRÁ – ANGÁLI – AG. NIKÓLAOS – PÁNO MERIÁ (my total time 3h03, includes stops for photography and drinking, as well as a dip in the ocean; +497m -456m, 1 lap): This was intended as walk 10 in /Graf/. A similar walk can be found in the page Walking, hiking and trekking on FOLEGANDROS by Raymond Verdoolaege, and this describes more accurately the route I ended up with. Because just after Ag. Nikólaos I could no longer find my way as described in /Graf/. The only visible continuation is the one used by /RV/. But both are actually shown on the local map. I had no big problems finding a useful route just using the map, but the trail is overgrown and it is not easy to figure out what is a good way out of the valley and what is not. But you will no doubt be able, after carefully scaling the first hillside, to connect with good paths on the other side. The rest again is well described in /RV/.

•2 PÁNO MERIÁ – SERFIÓTIKO – PÁNO MERIÁ – AG. GEÓRGIOS – PÁNO MERIÁ (my total time 3h54, includes stops for photography and drinking, as well as several swims in the ocean; +638m -621m, 2 laps): Detailed instructions can be found on the page Walking, hiking and trekking on FOLEGANDROS by Raymond Verdoolaege. You should have little problems following the at all times fairly obvious trail. At the end of the walk, by the bus stop at Merovígli, the end of the bus line, we find the pleasant taverna “Sunset”.

•3 CHÓRA – LIVÁDI – KARAVOSTÁSIS (my total time 2h22, includes stops for photography and drinking, as well as swimming in the ocean; +136m -337m, 1 lap): This is walk 11 in /Graf/. A similar walk can be found on the page Walking, hiking and trekking on FOLEGANDROS by Raymond Verdoolaege. Also here the trail is fairly obvious and should not constitute a problem.

•4 CHÓRA – PANAGÍA – CHÓRA (my total time 0h35, includes time for photography; +-97m, 1 lap): The stroll up to the church above town is a perfect morning or evening stroll, and will feel surprisingly short once you have done it. Great views!

• Good starting points: • Karavostásis – a fairly frequent bus to/from Chóra (and it is supposed to meet all ferries) • Chóra – most walks start from here

• How to get there: • By ferry from other islands in the Cyclades West • By ferry from some islands in the Cyclades Central • By ferry from the mainland

• More info: • Walking, hiking and trekking on FOLEGANDROS by Raymond Verdoolaege


This page was last modified at August 19, 2010.

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