Sites & Villages
Folegandros is a beautiful island whose traditional character, beauty and its surrounding mystery have remained untouched in the course of time.
Over the last years, the first tourist interventions took place but luckily they have not yet established their presence at the island, which still maintains its slow and calm pace, its smells and tastes. As a result it constitutes one of the most beautiful destinations in the Cyclades, for unforgettable holiday.
This small island has six settlements. The largest and most important are Hora, Karavostassis and Ano Meria, while the smallest settlements are Petoussis and Livadi, while Angali is an entirely summer settlement that gingers only for a few months during summer.
This is the capital of the island, built 200 meters above the sea level on a steep rock with a panoramic view to the open sea. It is one of the most picturesque capitals, which has been unaffected in the course of time. The quaint paved narrow streets, the three beautiful consecutive squares, the while little houses with the neat, flowery yards, the bougainvilleas that flood the narrow streets, the numerous churches, the castle, the tranquil and hospitable inhabitants are some of the most noticeable details that make it unique. Walking around the narrow streets of the town is enjoying since no vehicles are allowed within Hora. There are parking areas outside the settlement. Also, there are hotels, rooms to let, companies for motorbike and car rentals, restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, various shops, gas station (operating on specific hours), medical center, drug store, post office, Postal Savings Bank and Police Station. There is no Bank, yet there is one automated teller machine outside the Town Hall. The unique view from Pounta Square, the shadowy square of Dounavides and the nightlife around the square of Piatsa are some of the remarkable places that a visitor can see in Hora.
Of course, nobody should skip to mention the Castle, a really interesting spot on the island. It is a medieval and the eldest settlement of Hora that is officially a traditional settlement and has always been inhabited and currently is under the protection of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of the Archaeological Service.
It was built to protect the inhabitants of the island against the predatory raids of the pirates and its northern side is exposed at the edge of the cliff at a height of 210 meters above sea level with a breathtaking view. The houses are all inhabited and in perfect condition, with a history stretching back nearly ten centuries.
If we walk up the cobbled street from the square of Pounta we need about 15 minutes to reach Panagia. Panagia is one of the most important churches of Folegandros, dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary and is located on the rock that dominates above Hora. It was built on the ruins of an ancient temple, parts of which were used for the construction of the church. In the courtyard and in its interior there are ancient inscriptions and bases of statues from another era. This is a single-naved multi domed basilica church with a high bell tower. We do not know the exact date of construction but there is a marble inscription that mentions that the church was renovated in 1687 while during the period 1816-1821 it took its current form.
For some years it operated as a female monastery, while we should mention that its marble chancel screen, its archiepiscopal throne and the pulpit are masterpieces of the famous marble graver from Tinos, Kaparias.
This is the second largest, mainly agricultural, settlement of the island that lies in the northwestern side, with almost 250 inhabitants and at a distance of 5-6 kilometers from Hora. It is a scattered settlement and has no specific center and no specific borders since it covers many square kilometers. The impressing feature of the place is the countless dry stonewalls that hold the scarce earth of the fields and form stairs. Also there is the characteristic farming house, “Themonia”, a well-organized autonomous agricultural or breeding unit. The inhabitants of Ano Meria even today are engaged in agriculture and breeding, trying hard to exploit even of the smallest piece of cultivable land and to take care of their animals.
There are scattered paved streets, rooms to let, restaurants, groceries, bakeries, and the traditional workshop of pasteli production as well as coffeehouses. There is also the Folklore Museum that is roofed in one of the traditional Themonies of the 19th century. Here you can see the way of operation of this typical agricultural residential unit, as well as many other details that were part of the local daily life until the middle of the 20th century. A visit at the Pharos (lighthouse) of Aspropounta is necessary. This lighthouse was built in 1919 at a height of 58 meters above the sea level while its lantern is at 11 meters height. The light of this lamp was visible from a distance of 17 nautical miles. At older times this lighthouse would be lit using a lamp wick while later with a mechanism of oil steam. Since 1986 it operates with solar energy. The lighthouse is accessible not only from Ano Meria (one hour walking distance) but also from Livadaki, within quite a small walking distance of 15-20 minutes.
This is the third largest settlement of the island and also the safest Port. It lies in the southeastern part of the island, at a distance of 3 kilometers from Hora. It is a quite new settlement that livens up during the summer months. From the port mall the main road network starts off towards Hora and also the coastal road that leads to the settlement Livadi and connects all the beaches southwards of the port. Here you will also find groceries, places to rent a car or a motorbike, rooms to let, hotels, taverns serving fresh fish and other local appetizers for the lovers of good food, bars close to the sandy beach, as well as a cluster of the most beautiful beaches of the island, Hohlidia.
From Karabostassis many small excursion ferries set off and during summer months they do the tour of the island and visit some of the most beautiful but inaccessible by road beaches of the island.
From this point you can also visit the famous cave of Chryssospilia, one of the most spectacular natural monuments of our country in general. If the weather is very good and you have received permission from the Community, you can visit this unique unexplored cave. In its interior many findings were discovered, like human bones, broken vessels, a roman water tank but also evidence that prove that here was a place of worship and celebration of accession to manhood in the 4th century BC. On the walls and roof one can read the names and places of origin of the adolescents that took part in those celebrations. This is something unique for Greece in general.
This is an entirely summer settlement of the island, easily accessible, southwards of Karavostassis, near the beach with the same name. It is a sparsely populated area. There is a camping operating in the area. Also, in the eastern part of the settlement and near the sea lies the cave of Georgitsis, which is worth visiting.
Another merely summer settlement in the southern part of the island. It is relatively easy to reach, either by bus or other private means of transportation, as well as by small vessels leaving from Karavostassis. This is one of the best beaches of the island, with thin sand and blue waters. Other remarkable beaches surround this place like Fyra, Galifos and Agios Nikolaos.
This is one of the oldest and smallest agricultural settlements, which lies in the southeast part of the island, at a distance of approximately 3.5 kilometers from Hora.