We hadn’t planned to re-visit Folegandros so soon.
It was late summer of 2010 when the sun descended as our fast ferry sped away from the tiny port of Folegandros back to Pireaus. We waved goodbye to the stunning little island we’d had the pleasure of discovering for a mere 72 hours, hoping to return one day. At the time we had no idea this would be our last trip as a couple.
Exactly 9 months later, our first son was born.
Mid-way through my 3rd trimester, I’d stumbled upon a photo contest sponsored by the most popular boutique hotel on the island. All we had to do was submit a photo taken from their property. Easy, we had taken hundreds of photos on this beautiful island. Sifting through, I found a picture of two glasses of sweet Braida brachetto d’acqui — my favorite dessert wine that can rarely be found on menus in NYC but somehow appeared on this one — backed by a cliffside view of endless blue sea. It was a simple photograph, but perfectly conveyed the feeling of Anemomilos and the island as a whole.
A few facebook likes later we were informed that we in fact won the contest and would be treated to a complimentary stay at Anemomilos Apartments that May. I eagerly replied to the congratulatory email, “I’m actually busy in May, I’ll be giving birth….can we do it in September?”
Folegandros…where it’s not uncommon for the entire power grid to get knocked out and turn the Hora quiet; the unfazed locals finishing their conversations and their drinks in the dark. Folegandros, where the sun seemingly shines every day of the year, glistening off the pristine waters in all four directions. In spite of the long journey (10-hour flight to Athens plus connection in Santorini, and then another 2 hour boat ride,) it was good to be back.
With baby on board the second time around, we traded in our 2 wheeled moto-scooter for a 4 door car. Our days mostly consisted of driving down the island’s one road, turning off to stop at amazing beaches and eat amazing food. In a full week, without going back to the same place twice, we didn’t run out of options for either of the two.
Folegandros has many many beautiful beaches. If you want secluded, try Katergo Beach which can only be reached by boat from Karavostasis. The boat will drop you off on a stretch of crystal emerald waters and grey pebbles, and return for you later. Closer to the Hora and more accessible (the town bus even makes a stop here) is Agali, considered by some to be one of the best beaches in Folegandros. This one is sandy and surrounded by steep, rocky hills and a few tavernas with yellow chairs — hike up the stairs on the right side to be rewarded with a refreshing Greek salad and a cold can of Mythos with a fantastic view. Agali is also the jumping off point to reach another fabulous beach, Agios Nikolaos. Golden and sandy, it’s named after the small church built on top of a hill right by the beach. Climb to the top and you will find another hilltop taverna with an expansive panorama below.
The island also has the best food in the Cyclades. No matter which little taverna you choose, it’s tough to go wrong. Chryssospilia, in the Hora, has some of the very best seafood around. Eva’s Garden is less traditional than the other Hora tavernas, with creative Mediterranean dishes and a lantern lit courtyard.
A little blue and white place we sat down at by the port, not expecting too much, turned out some of the best food of our trip — a perfectly grilled scorpionfish. We later discovered this gem named Good Heart is run by four generations of one family. Heading over to the other side of the island towards Ano Meria, a row of strung-up octopus tentacles practically hailed us over to the side of the road to stop at the restaurant they belonged to — Mimi’s — for lunch one afternoon.
When it comes to nightlife, don’t let the island’s sleepy reputation fool you — evenings were spent in the lively square, white lights dangling from the trees, with music and dancing. Even the local kids stayed up past their usual bedtimes, whizzing through the streets on their bicycles in the summer heat, giggling all the way.
On our last day in Folegandros, we decided to stroll (literally – with our baby in his stroller) up to the Church of Panagia. How much of a work out could it be — we’d seen a whole wedding procession make this hike in suits, dresses and heels, following the bride who ascended all the way to the top on horseback.
A little winded, we made it — and all three of us enjoyed a dreamy panoramic view of the sun setting on the island.
Finally, the sun dipped below the clouds and we headed all the way back down to our hotel. Before retreating behind the blue double doors to our room to get ready for dinner, we pulled our now peacefully napping baby up to a table near the old windmill-turned-bar at Anemomilos — and found ourselves there again in the same spot we had been when we snapped the photo that brought us back here the second summer in a row.
Luckily, that brachetto was still on the menu.
Closest airport is Santorini (Thira); ferries run daily in season
Just up the hill from the Hora
Phone: +30 22860 41309
Good Heart Taverna
behind the port
Phone: +30 22860 41212
84011 Ano Meria, Folegandros
Hora 84011, Folegandros
Tel. +30 22860 41117
84011 Hora, Folegandros
Tel. 0030 22860 41110