Built on the edge of a rocky cliff 210 metres above sea level, this is a capital like no other. The jewel in its crown, the attractive Kastro area, dating from 1215, is made up of cube-like single-room houses made of stone that resemble to monastic cells. The whole town is a masterpiece of architectural harmony and style, consisting of paved alleys, atmospheric squares connected by whitewashed steps, and pretty churches.
The island’s excellent folklore museum housed in an exemplary restoration of a traditional 19th century farmstead in Ano Meria, shows just what life on Folegandros was once like through unique period items.
The Church of the Virgin Mary
Standing on a rocky hillside above Folegandros Town, on the site of an ancient temple, this important and imposing church is a masterpiece of 19th-century Aegean architecture. It is possible to see some of the ancient inscriptions and sculptural tributes to Artemis and Apollo used in its construction, while its courtyard offers magnificent views of the sunset. The climb up to the church, following the path with the whitewashed steps from Pounta Square, is a magical experience.
Dating from the early 18th century, this elegant church dominates the west side of the capital’s Kastro quarter. Its breathtaking views of the Aegean take in Milos, Sifnos and Kimolos.
The Golden Cave
Folegandros’ most spectacular natural wonder is an exceptional 300-metre-long cavern, hidden on a difficult-to-reach part of the rock below the Church of the Virgin Mary. Experts have identified it as a major place of worship, as there are Roman-era cisterns inside, while the walls are inscribed with the names of young men who participated in coming-of-age ceremonies in the 4th century BC. The cave can only be accessed by sea (by excursion boat from Karavostasi) or by land via the “Greek Steps”.
Built in 1919 to a height of 58 metres above sea level, this commanding structure is a lovely spot from which to see the sunset. It can be reached by hiking from Livadaki or Ano Meria.