72 Hours in Folegandros – What to See, Eat & Do

Greece

It’s late May – the beginning of the tourist season – Folegandros remains low-key and positively empty. Donkeys still trot the craggy paths that meander throughout the island. The summer air is filled with the sweet scent of rosemary and oregano, wafting in from the herb gardens that belong to restaurant owners.

Some equate Folegandros to Santorini during its early days, before an airport was built and the tourists took over. The charm of Folegandros is exactly that – an unassuming island that has not met with the tourist mob. Or at least not yet. It is a refuge for those who simply want to kick back and take in the sights of the Cyclades, minus the noise. 

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THE BEACHES

A trip to the Greek islands is incomplete without a little sunbathing time by the sea, and Folegandros is loaded with remote beaches. A short ride in the island’s vintage bus will take you to Agali Beach, the most accessible of them all. Make a day of it when you’re there to soak up the azure waters. Quick bites and drinks are just a few steps away at the nearby cafés – a great way to power through your afternoon soak. The view from the bar and restaurant at Blue Sand Hotel is exceptionally breathtaking, and the perfect spot to watch sunbathers glowing red under the Mediterranean sun.

Katergo Beach is a pristine oasis with some of the bluest waters crashing against its shoreline. The fastest way to get there is by boat. Its seclusion is its biggest appeal, but that also means the sight of an eatery is not for another three miles or so. Pack your own food and drinks, and you’ll feel at home at a beach retreat.

Livadaki Beach is another of the island’s elusive beaches. Boats will take you there from Agali Beach. Otherwise, an adventurous hike from Ano Meria will take you through a steep terrain before you can lay eyes on this paradise. 

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THE SIGHTS

Spend your days wandering Chora, one of the three villages in Folegandros with the highest concentration of restaurants, cafés and knick-knack shops. Take a stroll through Kastro – a little hamlet in Chora – where you can see the way the Greeks live on this island.

The zigzag path up to the Church of Panagia promises some of the best views of Folegandros and its towering cliffs. As the sun sets, the sky darkens and Chora lights up for the night – the perfect view from the church.

Ano Meria represents the wilder side of Folegandros. Some of the longest hikes start off at this rural village that still retains the old donkey tracks. Hikes range from one to three and a half hours. 

THE FOOD

Local specialties include matsata, a type of handmade pasta cooked with rooster or rabbit in tomato sauce. The dishes at Folegandros is usually topped with souroto cheese, a locally produced white cheese that resembles feta. For more on what to eat here, check out the eating guide

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ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Perched beside the pathway to the Church of Panagia, Anemomilos Apartments is a three-room boutique establishment with the makings of a luxe hotel. Owner Dimitris Patelis first set foot in Folegandros and fell in love with its unmistakable beauty. In three years time, he transformed an empty land into a balmy abode that’s open to islanders in summer. Guests are treated to a homemade breakfast in the mornings and sweeping views of the open sea. Doubles start at €150. 

For the best bang for your buck, Aeri Folegandros Studios has rooms with views of Chora set against the backdrop of the ocean. Doubles start at €90 – each spacious room has a living area and balcony. 

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The Eating Guide to Athens, Greece

Greece

Athens may be known as a city of ancient ruins, but a new wave of restaurants is bringing a modern take to traditional Greek fare. This is a city where most of its people head out of their house for food – dining out is an everyday affair. We stumbled into a few good eats amidst the chaotic streets. 

Look forward to: Greek fusion food 

360 Athens Cocktail Bar 

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Where: Ifestou 2, Athina 105 55, Greece
What: Chicken rump and steak with halloumi 
For: A view of the Acropolis 

360 Athens Cocktail Bar joins the list of restaurants in Athens with a view of the Acropolis. The restaurant has both an indoor and outdoor area, but book in advance for a seat on the rooftop, where the best views from the restaurant are found. The food menu is a little Greek, a little European and a little American – so there’s something for everyone. Take your pick of cocktails from the drinks menu, each bearing a whimsical name such as Sweet Melony and The Perfect Lady. 

Karamanlidika 

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Where: Sokratous 1, Athina 10552, Greece
What: Sudjuk sausages with eggs
For: Cured meats and cheeses

Meander past butcher shops in the alleys to Karamanlidika, where cured meats and cheeses are the stuff people talk about. Don’t be mistaken by its deli-esque storefront. Look for the waiter and you’ll get a seat in the back alley where the locals are found having cured meats with a glass of wine. Go straight for the specialties – fried sachanaki cheese, pastirma and sudjuk sausages. Some of these are served with a sunny side up egg in a pan.

Fabrica tou Efrosinou

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Where: Anastasiou Zinni 34, Athina 117 41, Greece
What: Casual joint
For: Bifteki

Things are kept casual at Fabrica tou Efrosinou. Just waltz into the café in the late morning, when lunch is not yet being served, and the chef might whip up an omelette with feta cheese. Bifteki (Greek burger), fries and veal chops are crowd favourites. 

Skoumbri 

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Where: Drakou 14, Athina 117 42, Greece
What: Grilled octopus
For: Seafood

People head to Skoumbri for a seafood restaurant in Athens, where they serve a good range of seafood. Look for the trademark mackerel sign along the bustling Drakou street in Koukaki. The white and turquoise interiors is a fresh reminder of dining in the Greek islands. Seafood such as sardines, shrimps and octopus are served as mains, and you get the choice of having it grilled or fried. 

The Eating Guide to Milos, Greece

Greece

Life’s a beach in Milos. When the temperatures are up, it’s time to hit the waters on this island paradise, where the beaches are of another world, and enjoying ‘ouzo time’ on a sailboat is the best way to wile your time away. In Summer, the island is packed with sun-kissed travellers lounging on the volcanic coastline, and explorers sneaking into the numerous caves found all around. 

Look forward to: Rooster cooked with wine 

O Hamos 

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Where: Paralia Papikinou-Adamas, Adamas 84801, Greece
What: Lamb baked with dill and cheese
For: Traditional Milos Cuisine

Locals love it for the authentic Greek flavours. Tourists talk about it incessantly amongst one another. Its waiters are fiercely proud of the restaurant they’re serving at, and it’s because O Hamos is famous on Milos island, and they know it. The restaurant’s recipes are boldly shared in little flyers on a rack, but the owners are confident that this wouldn’t prevent a full house during dinner time. Timeless Milos dishes are lovingly handwritten on every piece of menu, of which meats and cheeses are grown and cultivated on the family farm. Opt for the classic O Hamos dishes such as rooster cooked with wine and tomatoes, lamb baked with dill and cheese, and eggplant with pork. 

Palaios

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Where: Plaka 848 00, Greece
What: Ice-cream
For: Greek sweets

The dark wooded interiors of Palaios are far from modern, but is its trays of cakes and honeyed Greek sweets that lures people in for a quick dessert. The large array of ice-cream is great for cooling off in the Mediterranean Summer heat. Go for the traditional Greek desserts like baklava and kataifi for something traditional.

Methismeni Politeia

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Where: Trypiti, Greece
What: Souvlaki
For: Grilled meats

Carnivores rejoice – grilled meats are the thing for this Greek taverna. The family-run Methismeni Politeia is where you’ll get Greek homecooking with a view of Milos bay. In the busy Summers, the wood-fired oven is used to roast meats such as lamb and pork. For the not quite meat lover, other dishes such as grilled octopus, stuffed grape leaves and zucchini balls would still tickle your fancy.