Located on a high island cliff with a mighty drop to the Aegean Sea, Chora Folegandros (Folegandros Town) is one of the most spectacular island capitals in the Cyclades. It is also one of the more unique Chora in Greece with its many squares connected by rows of houses. Discover everything you need to know before visiting in this comprehensive guide to the best things to do and see in the Chora of Folegandros.
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Chora Folegandros in a Nutshell
📍 Where: Chora town is in Central Folegandros, 200 meters above sea level.
🚌 Getting there: Bus from Karavostasis, the island’s port (3.5 km) or Ano Meria (5 km), car or scooter rental.
🚶🏽 Things to do: Watch the sunset, discover the cobbled streets and squares of this traditional settlement, climb the Panagia of Folegandros Church, and visit the Venetian walled settlement of Kastro.
🍸 Restaurants and bars: Pounta, Chic, To Goupi, BaRaki, Lo Zio.
Where is Folegandros Chora?
Folegandros has just one road that connects its only 3 villages – starting from the port (Karavostasis) and ending in Ano Meria on the north-western tip of the island.
Chora (Folegandros town) is right in the middle of the island, on the main road and leaning on the eastern cliffs dropping to the blue Aegean Sea.
The Best Time of Year to Visit Chora Folegandros
Folegandros is not among the most popular Greek islands and does not top the charts when it comes to Cyclades Islands.
Nevertheless, with a permanent population of just shy of 500 and a summer population of 3000 people, it can get busy in August.
The best time to visit is June, July, or September to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the beaches and Greek island summer vibes.
June especially, as the days are the longest, the sea is warm and calm and the accommodation is much more affordable than in July and August.
Best Time of Day to Visit Folegandros Chora
Late afternoon and evening!
Since Folegandros is not crowded and the majority of people will come to Chora for dinner and drinks in the evening, arriving late in the afternoon will give you the opportunity to observe the village wake up after its daytime nap and start with the evening’s aperitivo.
You will see all the landmarks, attractions, alleyways, cobbled squares, churches, and hidden corners during the daytime, have all the picture-perfect spots for yourself, and still be right there in Chora to witness the spectacular sunset from one of its several watching spots.
Where to Stay in Chora Folegandros: Best Hotels for all Budgets
Our Top 5 Picks
🏝️ Best New Hotel: Avaton – 9 luxury suites on the outskirts of Chora, open May through September. Clean lines and a white palette with lots of glass, water, and stone.
🏝️ Best Family Hotel: Chora Resort Hotel & Spa – With 2 pools, a gym, a restaurant, room service, free wifi, and a spa and wellness center, this is a hotel equipped for a relaxing vacation in the heart of Chora city.
🏝️ Best Romantic Hotel: Themonies Luxury Suites – Secluded, seductive, and cozy, these suites are a world to themselves but still close to Chora. It has room service, a bar, a lounge, and a terrace but the rooms themselves are the stars. Stone, linen, antiques, and an off-white palette makes for a restful and romantic stay.
🏝️ Best Boutique Hotel: Kifines Suites has private plunge pools and romantic, modern rooms. Extremely quiet rooms with wonderful sea views and views of Chora and Panagia Church.
🏝️Best Budget Hotel: Folegandros Apartments has a lot to like about it. A swimming pool, poolside bar, hot tub, large spotless rooms that are superbly decorated, free wifi, 100 meters for bars and tavernas – I can’t believe this excellent hotel is only rated 2 stars!
Busses are the cheapest way of transportation around Folegandros, but renting a car or a scooter gives you more freedom.
Folegandros Chora is connected to Karavostasis by a local bus (€2 one-way tickets paid in cash to the driver), as well as to Agali Beach (€3), both departing every 30 minutes.
Ano Meria is also connected to the Chora bus but on a less frequent schedule.
Scooters give you absolute flexibility and the roads are safe even if you are not an experienced two-wheeler.
I hired a scooter from Donkey Scooters and got one with big wheels, perfect for exploring the island. Expect an average price of €20-25, which is much less than you’ll pay on all of the nearby islands like Mykonos, Santorini, Milos, Paros, and Naxos.
Renting vehicles is also possible and certainly common, but the length of the island road (less than 10 miles) and the prices (an average price of €50+ a day) really point towards scooters and ATVs/Quad bikes as the best option for moving around.
TIP: Visit travel agencies in Folegandros town (capital) to enquire how to explore the island by boat. Several 6-hour boat trips start in the morning, make a stop on quiet beaches, relax visitors with frequent swimming stops, and have lunch served on board.
At this time there aren’t online tickets you can purchase – you’ll need to check out the travel agencies in Chora to find a tour that suits your time and interests.
Restaurants, cafés and bars in Folegandros Chora
Restaurants in Folegandros seem to have taken up the tourist trail, somehow leaving behind the wonderful simplicity of Greek traditional cuisine and its shrine – the taverna.
Nevertheless, several traditional establishments have remained true both to the tastes and the presentation of the dishes, so if you don’t want burgers or pizza, you can still find a spot to savor Greek small plates washed down by cold raki or house wine.
This is not to say that fancy Greek restaurants do not serve amazing Greek food, it is just the fact that sometimes you want the real deal, without a ‘new lens’ put over it.
If this is not your concern, you will love all the dining options in Folegandros.
The places in Chora are smart, really pay attention to details and there is enough of them to allow for eating out in a different place each day of your stay, lunches included. Some of my favorites are:
🍽️ Chic Restaurant – Family-owned restaurant and the right place to go to for nice contemporary Greek food on a beautiful Chora square. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are available.
🍽️ Pounta – great breakfast place on Pounta Square that turns into a relaxed evening bar with live music.
🍽️ To Goupi – Fantastic traditional taverna (ouzeri), probably the best on the island, set on a small square in Chora. Homemade, fresh, and super-tasty traditional Greek food (don’t miss the dolmadakia – stuffed wine leaf appetizer).
🍽️ To Zimaraki – relaxed but smart restaurant serving mostly Italian food on a beautiful balcony and garden.
The owner restored the municipal bus that serviced the island for decades and now you can eat in it (or just appreciate it from your garden table).
🍦 Lo Zio – not a restaurant, but a gelato parlor opened by an Italian 16 years ago with a passion for island life and perfect gelato! Not to be missed between a meal and a cocktail in a bar afterward.
Cafes in Chora city are many and pleasant. These places are the beating heart of every Greek community, especially on an island.
I just loved having my black sweet Greek coffee on one of their marble tables. Don’t miss Kastro, right at the entrance to Chora.
Folegandros nightlife moves to its bars after 10 pm, where people drink and chat the night away or in case a guest DJ arrives, sing and dance in the beautiful company of locals and tourists.
Oftentimes you will see people leaning on church walls/gates or other improvised seating arrangements and being served drinks from the surrounding bars, adding to the special island evening vibes that are just the perfect ending to a day!
My favorite bars are:
🍸 Laoumi Bar – a great little spot with a very experienced crew that knows perfectly well how to make both great cocktails and a fun party vibe.
🍸 To BaRaki – the tiniest of bars, but the biggest in vibe, BaRaki oftentimes brings DJs that make terrific gigs that you have to enjoy on the street in front along with everybody else, as there is no place inside.
🍸 Beez – close to BaRaki, Beez serves fantastic cocktails in a soul/funk soundscape resonating within this converted Cycladic home. Crowds spilling onto the street is guaranteed here too.
🍸 Astrati – right on the main square of Chora, Astrati is an authentic Greek bar with traditional music (sometimes including the harsh to the ear, but beautifully poetic rebetica tunes) and ice-cold raki, ready to welcome and serve the crowd even beyond its tables.
TIP: The island is relaxed in style, but during the peak months of July and August, restaurants are full in the evening and you might want to make a reservation if waiting for a table is not an
Best Things to Do in Chora Folegandros
Chora is the name of the main village on all Cyclades islands. It means simply “village” or # traditional settlement” but Folegandros Chora is nothing like the other ones.
Perched on a cliff edge with a steep drop to the sea and observed by the whitewashed main church of Panagia above it, it is the most picturesque Chora in the whole of Greece.
TIP: If you are by car or a scooter, note that motor vehicles are prohibited in Chora. Park on one of many free parking yards just outside it.
Simply walk around in the late afternoon and soak up the vibe of a village waking up after its daytime nap. Some not-to-miss activities are:
Stroll around the Venetian Medieval Walled Settlement of Kastro
Kastro (meaning castle) is the oldest settlement of Chora.
Built just after the time of the Fourth Crusade in 1215 by Venetian leader Marco Sanudo to protect the people of the island from the marauding pirates, the castle is continuously inhabited until this day.
Its tiny 2-story houses (all 9×3 meters) are picture-perfect and accessible via 2 main entrances – Lotzia and Paraporti. The settlement ends with the Church of the Virgin Mary Pantanassa, built on the very cliff.
A perfect and not very frequented special place to watch sunsets and the islands of Milos, Sifnos, Kimolos, and the southern section of the Cyclades.
Although small, Kastro houses are very pricey and nowadays change hands for around €0.3m (something like central New York, Paris, and London).
It is quite rare for a Chora to have as many squares as Folegandros Chora. Each of these small squares is adorned with a church, a restaurant, perhaps a grocery store, and several cafes and shops.
The irregular layout of Chora and its alleyways connecting the squares is where the picturesque magic happens.
🌇 Pounta Square is the main sunset-watching spot on the island.
🌳 Dounavi Square with its location in the town center, centuries-old plane tree, and taverna tables.
⛪ Piatsa Square is connected to Dounavi Square by the church of St. Nicholas.
Visit the Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Folegandros at Sunset
The iconic image of Folegandros is its hillside whitewashed church hanging on the cliffs above Chora.
The highest, most famous, and oldest church of Folegandros was built during the times unknown, although the sign indicating renovation during 1687 reveals part of its age.
The church took its present shape in 1821, the year of the Greek Uprising.
The church is a one-isle basilica with an elaborate interior with a marble icon screen and archbishop’s throne, priceless frescoes, and many indications of the island’s history.
The Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary of Folegandros is considered a protector of the island and on Easter Sunday, the icon is taken from the Church in order to “visit” every house on the island.
Beginning from the Kastro and Chora, the icon travels the island and is brought to all locals’ houses for 3 days, before being brought back to its venerable place on the icon screen.
TIP: The road to the church is windy and takes 15 minutes of uphill walking. Dress lightly and bring water if you visit the church just before sunset. A perfect place for making panoramic photos of the island.
Climb the Hill above the Church of Panagia of Folegandros
Just after the visit to the Church, climb the hillside for no more than 10 minutes to reach the top of the mountain, where the magnificent views of Sikinos Island break before you.
The climb is quite easy on the well-established stone path, so it can be done by novice hikers too. The top might be windy, so make sure to be careful and cautious.
Visit the Chora Churches
The churches of Chora are usually open for visits during the evening (or during the service times) and not all of them are open every day.
So, for me, it was a kind of a little ritual to check out a different church that was open for visits each night after my evening meal and before the obligatory late evening drink!
Hike to Agali Beach via the No. 3 Hiking Trail
The hike between Chora and Agali Beach is a magnificent walk along the well-preserved ancient terraced gardens of Folegandros, where local wheat, fava, and barley cultivation takes place.
The trail meanders along the ridge of the island, before moving westward towards the hills above Fira and Agali beaches.
The views are stunning, with dry hills of Folegandros dominating the landscape, and dry riverbeds doubling as established trail routes surrounded by wonderful, albeit rare and low-rise, vegetation lining the sides of the paths.
You’ll see the windswept olive trees, bent in the direction of fierce Meltemia winds that blow from the north or the Folegandros, as well as the famous lemon houses (lemonospita), a sort of a built shelter for lemon trees protecting the precious fruit from the winds.
The trail can be extended to Agios Nikolaos beach as well and taken in either direction.
TIP: Avoid walking by night or walking during the hottest hours of the day.
Go Island Shopping
Folegandros attracts a chic crowd and the island’s shops reflect that. You will not find flashy items and over-the-top clothes, but rather small designers’ boutiques, galleries, and local shops with hand-picked selections.
Small but interesting and well-curated clothes shop on Pounta Square.
🛍️ Folegandros T-shirts
Run by an American lady for decades, this place makes is famous for its “Ф” logo (Ф stands for F in Greek) promoting Folegandros on t-shirts, totes, and hoodies.
The hoodies are great gifts for families with teenagers who are over the age when souvenirs are cool.
🛍️ Heat is Life
A superb small gallery with unique art, objects, and a wonderful owner.