[FOLEGANDROS, GREECE] — The naturally-formed port on Folegandros is pretty and humble at the same.
It’s pretty sleepy, with just a handful of restaurants serving fresh fish and smiles. There are a couple of cheap hotels, one really nice one (Anemi Hotel, shown below) and many rooms to let. But it’s great base to take dayboat tours around the island. Not to mention getting all busybody as you succumb to the rhythms of the arriving ferries, like a Greek cat, and saunter on down to see what mice get on and off. It’s that peaceful.
You succumb to the rhythms of the arriving ferries, like a Greek cat, and saunter on down to see what mice get on and off.
The Anemi Hotel — all peachy in the light of dawn — sits up on a slight rise above the port of Folegandros, discreetly tucked into the deserty scrub hills as a silent backdrop.
Thankfully, the island missed the major developments of the 60s/70s/80s and so was spared the invasive species that is today’s Modern Resort. Since then though… they’re so smart… the island has set strict design codes that only allows only low level development, restricting size, shape, height and even window size. You can’t just swoop in and scoop up some property and build some garish monstrosity. You can only use natural materials and architecture used here for for hundreds of years. So new stuff comfortably fits in with the old stuff and doesn’t disrupt the natural order of what makes this island so cool.
Take the ultra modern Design Hotel, Anemi. It has a low key traditional style that fits in seamlessly in the backdrop view from the port, next to many buildings that have been here for generations. Like an oyster, it’s camouflaged on the outside, but sleek and smooth on the inside.
You’d never know there are 40+ rooms tucked into these low slung buildings, because they smartly built them deep into the site, not intrusive or ostentatious. Low key. Friendly. Just like the Folegandros style.
I was there at the end of the season — literally the last days before they closed for the season — in mid-September. It gets crowded in late July and August. And windy in September. Spyros, from the scooter rental place said June up to July 20th is the most perfect time of year to visit, with the most ideal weather and the least amount of people.
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You can stay on other parts of the island — everything is really close so it doesn’t really matter, the whole island is only 20km long — but if you intend to spend most of your time on the water, it’s great to stay here to have easy walkable access to all the boats and water taxis that take you to the isolated and uncrowded beaches. Do like I did and stay for a week and split up between the here and staying up in Chora. The restaurant choices here are limited, so most of the best restaurants are up in Chora, but the Anemi restaurant is really good, just expect to pay a lot more than in Chora.
Here are some other links and resources:
The Anemi website is here.
Here’s a map of the island, zoomed in on the port.
If you feel the need or have a group, you can rent a car from here. RAC, just up from the port. Ask for Maria. Everybody knows Maria.
If you like cool style, there’s another cool boutique design hotel on the other side of the island, Blue Sands, on everyone’s favorite beach Agali. I almost stayed here, but also checked it out. Looks totally good. The village at Agali is very small. So plan on hanging out at the hotel to eat, but their restaurant looks great and was packed with happy people. But you can also hike to several amazing beaches all along the coast (you can see those in other posts I made).
Here’s a great guide from the UK Conde Nast Traveller on Folegandros.
And the NYTimes article on Folegandros that enticed me here, “The Most Greek Island in the Cyclades” after I ripped it out and filed it here years ago.
Here’s what my favorite booking/discovery site TabletHotels.com listing for Anemi.
If you follow this blog, you know I’m pretty selective on where to stay, not always the cheapest. But if you come here, I’d recommend you stay at AnemilosApartments first, Anemi second and/or Blue Sands. Or try to find a VRBO.
Last visited September 2016.
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