TRAVELING / Greece / Folegandros

Folegandros is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea which, together with Sikinos, Ios, Anafi and Santorini, forms the southern part of the Cyclades. Its surface area is about 32 square kilometres and it has 765 inhabitants.

The island lies on the southern edge of the Cyclades with the Sea of Crete sweeping away to its south. It has a bewitching beauty that's amplified by its alluring cliff-top Hora, one of the most appealing villages in the Cyclades. Folegandros is barely 12km by 4km but shoulders a somewhat dark past.

The remoteness and ruggedness of the island made it a place of exile for political prisoners from Roman times to the 20th century, and as late as the military dictatorship of 1967–74. Today, the seductive charm of Folegandros has left its grim history behind. Boats dock at the little harbour of Karavostasis, on the east coast.

There are three main villages on the island Karavostasi, Hora (Folegandros town) and Ano Meria. Hora is one of the oldest traditional medieval towns in the Cyclades.

There are a variety of mostly quiet beaches around the island many of which require some hiking to get to. Visitors can find some small beaches around the port area of Karavostasi. About 400 meters from Karavostasi, is the beach of Vardia and Livadi with its beach and camping area.

From Ano Meria you can walk from 40 to 90 minutes to reach many beaches, the finest being Agios Georgios, towards the northeast. Agios Giorgios is one of the best beaches in summer, when there's enough of a breeze to keep it cool under the trees, and the walk there from Ano Meria is very nice. From Hora a road heads north, hugging the cliff top and offering breathtaking views before descending sharply to the lovely sandy beach of Vathi Bay and the beaches of Angali and Agios Nikolaos.


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