[FOLEGANDROS, GREECE] — 20 hours, three planes, long layovers and a zippy ferry straight from Santorini, I arrived in the port of Folegandros after 9pm, in the pitchdark. The owner of my hotel, Dimitris was waiting for me at the port and drove me the short 3kms up to the town of Chora in his Jeep Cherokee. In minutes we were zig-zagging through the crooked streets of Chora, headed for my home for the next couple of days — the Anemomilos Apartments.
A slow cool breeze, a couple of Mythos and music from the local tavernas conked me out for twelve straight hours. Set the phone for 6am to catch the sunrise, didn’t work… woke up at 10.
Nine days I was on this island. A mellow escape from the crowds of the other over-run Greek Cyclades Islands. And the name has taken me forever to learn to pronounce because I was saying it with an Italian accent — but you pronounce the island fuh-LEG-andros, kinda swallowing the last syllable, emphasis on the LEG.
This is the place I’ve always been looking for.
20 or so years ago this was all a rock pile of windmill ruins when the owner Dimitris bought this property and started to build Anemomilos. At that time, there was no electricity on the island, no banks, no ATMs, no hardware stores, no gas stations, no airport, people rode on donkeys to get around (some still do). There was no excavating equipment, so he did it all by hand, with iron bars and dynamite to loosen the most stubborn bits.
He took three years to build this place, by hand. Every smooth white corner, every balcony cantilevered over the 1,000ft cliff. And now with the loving help of his dynamo wife Carmelina and their beautiful daughter Diana, they run this place like you’re on their sailboat. Tip top shape. All hands on deck, all the time. I tell ya, with those two, you could hook wires up to them and power the whole island. With plenty left over to run a cable over to Milos.
Besides it’s jaw-dropping location, what’s great about this hotel and location is it just steps down the path of the main town of Chora (pronounced HORa) and hit a dozen great shaded restaurants. This place is just amazing. And the nicest people on the planet. . And ridiculous value. People stay for a month. Google it. It rates off the charts, except for that one grumpy Swiss guy…
I think this may become an annual visit. I can’t think of a more dramatic view of anywhere I’ve stayed. Ask for a Blue Room, room 12, the tippy top of the island. Or, if you can swing it, book the Blue Suite, which looks just amazing.
And this is right up close to it. Sunrises and sunsets are just amazing. This is from the quick hike up to the famous church on a hill.
I woke up like this. The view from my room. Blue Rom #12. One of the best rooms of the place. One of the best views I’ve ever seen.
This whole little mini-village was built by hand by Dimitris. You can see the different rooms open up onto a shared courtyard.
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Lunch with a view.
Here are some great reference reading and helpful links:
This is the article that brought me here, in the NYTimes. Folegandros — the Most Charming Greek Island
A great article in Conde Nast Traveler Exploring an Under-the-radar Greek Island.
The Folegandros official website.
A great overview of Folegandros in Lonely Planet.
Trip Advisor’s page on Folegandros.
A guide in the UK version of Conde Nast Traveller. and another article on how to get there from London.
An overview of Folegandros from The Travel Channel.
The Anemomilos Apartments website.
A blurb on Folegandros in the July 2016 Travel & Leisure and a blurb on CNN.com about Europe’s Most Scenic Villages.
A slew of articles on the hotel on their website, covering just about every major travel publication.
Here’s how to find ferry schedules to Folegandros.
— Last visited September 2016 —
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