The Most Charmingly ‘Greek’ of All the Cyclades a lovely article about Folegandros by Helene Cooper of the New York Times
“So I searched online for “fabulous sunsets in Greece” and stumbled upon Folegandros. Surrounded by piercing sunlight and azure waters, the 12-square-mile rocky island is the antithesis of Santorini and Mykonos.
It has no airport, which means no charters could come in, keeping the number of tourists to a manageable level. No cruise ships either, which preserves the laid-back, unhurried feel of the island’s three villages: Chora, the elevated main town; Karavostasi, the port; and Ano Meria, a village perched on top of a hill with ancient ruins and stone-lined crop plots that make you feel as if you’d stepped back 100 years. The island has only 700 residents year-round, though that number swells to around 3,000 in the summer.
When we arrived in Folegandros that first time in 2008, we were beside ourselves with glee; we clapped and chortled as we passed bare hills dotted with one-room white churches and terraced farms grazed by donkeys and sheep on the way to our hotel.
During that night, the first night of our week on Folegandros, the entire island seemed to be out in the main squares of Chora. From our perch at Nicolas Taverna, stomachs full of fava, fried capers, feta with tomatoes so sweet they might as well have been candy, roast chicken and potatoes, and multiple carafes of fresh white wine, we chatted with the owner, Nicolas Michailidis, and his right-hand man, Vasilis Stoyanov, while Cooper played with local children a few yards away. We were keeping him on American time for the trip, which meshed perfectly with the rhythm of the island.
We plotted our week. The island — so I have heard — has fantastic hikes along rural footpaths that connect its hamlets and its sole main cliffside road to isolated beaches below. I wish I could say I went on one, but I am lazy and left that to my friends and sister, Marlene (Cooper’s mother), who returned sweaty and virtuous. I hadn’t even made it up to Panaghia, the pretty white church at the top of the hill overlooking Chora, where people go to watch the sunset.”