Ano Meria 840 11, Folegandros
People come to this eight-table hole-in-the-wall for the matsata—homemade ribbons of tagliatelle tossed with a rich ragu of slow-cooked rabbit or goat. But be sure to order one of the incredible cheese pies for the table, too. This tiny little place, on a slender road on the way to the Panagia church, is also a great roadside stop for a glass of ouzo. Image courtesy of the Cyclades Chamber of Commerce.
If you’re going to try rakomelo—a hot raki drink sweetened with honey and spiced with a pinch of cinnamon—do it here. It’s very hot and very strong, and if there are some who may not find it appealing during the summer, Astarti also makes a really good ice-cold Negroni. Even if you don’t try the rakomelo, the pots of hot raki brewing on the bar give the air a pleasant aniseed fragrance, and the welcome is always so friendly.
Diaplous Boat Company
840 11, Folegandros
Folegandros’s rocky topography means that to really experience the myriad small beaches and coves, you want to do it by boat if you can. Diaplous’s reputation is well-established, and its excursions are nothing fancy: Guests spread out towels on the deck and jump off the side for a swim here and there as the boat navigates its way around the shoreline. It’ll stop at under-the-radar-but-gorgeous-nonetheless inlets for exploring. Look for Chrysophilia, the one cave you absolutely cannot miss, with its ancient, inscription-clad walls. For divers, SEA-U Dive Center is the way to go; it's run by locals who know the island like no one else.
Generally speaking, accommodations on Folegandros are mostly rustic and simple, but Anemomilos is an especially lovely option. It’s run by the Patelis family, who are always happy to give recommendations on what to do and see on their island. The rooms are a series of small, self-service villas with terraces right on the edge of a cliff, so the views are nothing short of incredible. The bar is a beautiful spot for a pre-dinner drink as the sun goes down.
Panagia is halfway up a gently sloping hill and seems to keep watch over the whole island (which, given that it is a mere fourteen square miles in size, wouldn’t be hard). The church dates from 1687 but got a face-lift in 1821 and, in its previous life, was the temple of an all-female Greek Orthodox monastery. From the outside, it looks like many other churches in the Cyclades—all white with domes that gleam incandescently against the parched, rocky landscape—but the inside is rich with frescoes.
The newish Mar Inn has something most other hotels on Folegandros don’t: air conditioning. For some people, that’s reason enough to book a room, but other bonuses include natural Korres beauty products in the bathrooms and super soft bathrobes. The hotel has two swimming pools, and the rooms are built to encircle them like a little Cycladic village that overlooks the sea below.
Agios Nikolaos, Folegandros
It’s not the best restaurant on Folegandros, but the views are unmatched (go for one of the fish carpaccios and you’ll be set). It’s perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking Agios Nikolaos bay, where the Aegean seems to stretch on forever. If you’re without a car, the owner will take you in his boat from the island’s port, which is close to most accommodations. And yes, the whole evening is as charming as it sounds.