August 24, 2015 Wander-lust

Discovering the Cyclades » Folegandros & Santorini

After 3,5 days sightseeing in Naxos, it was time to visit my 2 most anticipated islands of the Cyclades: Folegandros & Santorini.
Both islands are very different in many ways but nevertheless extremely beautiful in their own right.


folegandros-mapsantorini-map

Folegandros and Santorini

Folegandros
From Naxos I took the ferry to Folegandros but if you do, always make sure you check the ferry times before planning your trip.
My ferry stopped at about 3 different islands before arriving in Folegandros and by that time it was evening and I missed a whole day.
When you arrive in Folegandros, you can take a public bus to the village which cost about 1.80 euro’s per person and takes you there in less than 15 min.

The island is very small and you immediately get a sense of the peace & calmness this place represents.
It was easy to find my bed for the night because all the locals know each other and when I asked for my reservation at “Castro“, I was pointed in the right direction. The more steps I took, the more I fell in love. Guesthouse Castro owes its name from the location where it’s found, in the region of the medieval Castle of Folegandros. The Castle of Folegandros functioned as a defensive fortress and.. I got to sleep there. How cool!
The friendly owners guided me to my room and although it was getting dark, my mouth fell open when I saw my balcony with probably the best view in town!

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The amazing private balcony at Castro’s

At night, the town turns into a romantic bohemian village. Trees with lights cover the top of outside restaurants. There are 6 different squares divided and each one of those has another cute place to eat.
I arrived on a Saturday and because most Greek people are free on Sunday, the town is vibrant and alive.
You will see everyone having a drink, pretty much everywhere where they can sit. If you want to join in the fun, you should try Raki, Ouzo or a hot drink I wasn’t familiar with, called Rakomelo. It tastes a bit like Glühwine and is delicious!

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A bohemian dream

Folegandros is too beautiful to lay in your bed for too long, so I advice you to get up early. The town is wonderful in the morning and great to shoot some nice pictures.
My balcony was a great place to have breakfast but you should also go into town and sit in one of the beautiful gardens to drink coffee. I had breakfast at Pounda where you can enjoy a Greek breakfast whilst looking at beautiful flowers.



The town of Chora is beautiful for walking around


Feeling 
completely zen at  Agios Nikolaos beach. Wearing a colorful bikini of Triangl

The best beaches in Folegandros are Agios Nikolaos beach (if you like peace and quiet), Agali beach (more popular) and the beach near the port, Karavostasi beach.
I wish I had more time to explore this special island but I had already booked my next ferry to Santorini. If you are planning to visit Folegandros, I would stay at least 4 days.

Santorini
With the fast boat you can get to Santorini within 45 min. Ferries can be late sometimes so always prepare yourself for this. Book your ferry ahead as it will save you money and you can do this online or at one of the tourist offices you will find in the main areas.
Coming into Santorini is something special. The impressive rock formations leave your mouth wide open and the thought that this island lays next to a vulcano, makes it even more special.

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The ferries look small compared to the impressive coastline. The volcano on the right.

Santorini is an island that attracts many tourist so if you are doing the Cyclades tour, this is the one you shouldn’t miss. It is rather special. If you want a little less touristy but still enjoy the amazing views whilst waking up, you should definitely book your accommodation in Imerovigli.
With the busy Oia on the right side and the main town of Thira only 10 min away, it’s the perfect place to stay and enjoy breathtaking views.

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Breaktaking views from the Absolutely Bliss Hotel in Imerovigli. 

Did you know Santorini has a White, Black and Red beach? The island is not known for it’s beautiful sandy beaches but if you get a chance, you should visit Red beach and Kamari Beach where you can find sunbeds, beach restaurants and shops.

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A red beach, who knew!

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Red or Black. Only on Santorini

If you visit Santorini with your partner, you should definitely book a romantic dinner for 2 but… do something different and eat in one of the old villages like Pyrgos. Why? Because it’s authentic, the food taste amazing and it’s half the price!
Still enjoy a meal with that-oh-so-amazing-view? Have breakfast at one of the many hotel breakfast options along the cliff. If you want to shop for some nice jewelry and high-end clothes, you should visit Oia but do it at the end of the day or early in the morning when it’s not boiling hot. Yes, there will be a lot of tourist so prepare yourself and breath in, breath out. You’ll be fine :-)

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Romantic dinner for 2 anyone?

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Realizing the craaazy view. Picture shot at Oia.

One of the other must do’s in Santorini is to walk to the top of Skaros Rock right across Imerovigli.
It’s about a 20 min walk when you start across and you can get right to the top if you can get past your fear of heights.
My legs were shaking a little bit while I was climbing up the last bit, but it was totally worth seeing the sun disappear into the sea. 
You can also get up early and walk all the way to Oia or back. For this walk you need some trainers or steady shoes. It takes about 3,5 hours from Thira to Oia and about 1,5 hours from Imerovigli.

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Skaros Rock on the left with Imerovigli on the right

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And on top of the world on Skaros rock. (still weak in the knees!)

As I said, Folegandros & Santorini are two different and unique islands, but they also have a lot of similarities.
To make things a little easier…

Romance? Check.
Best views? Check.
Tasty cuisine? Check.
You want to chill to the max? Pick Folegandros.
You want to shop and feel like a princess? Pick Santorini.
You want to see paradise? Pick both.

Love,

Elke

Missed the previous adventures of Elke’s Greek Island hopping tour?
Check her post about Naxos and Mykonos.

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