n 2013, CNN selected Folegandros as one of the seven most beautiful villages in Europe. No argument there, as its characteristically Cycladic Hora (main town) is nothing less than breathtaking. Built between the walls of a Venetian fortress, it lies along the edge of an impressive cliff, giving Folegandros the title of finest cliff-side scenery in the Aegean (well, after Santorini, of course). However, if just one word had to be chosen to describe this island, it would be ‘sophisticated’. Folegandros is the island of beauty, stunning views, picturesque small alleys and whitewashed traditional houses, of numerous trails, of smitten visitors who return again and again, but above all it is the island of moderation. It is as if Folegandros has discovered–and maintains–the “gold standard” of how to virtuously balance tourism development and authentic character. You see, until about 20 years ago, Folegandros was a well-hidden secret, known only to a discerning few who used to come here year after year and all knew each other, like an extended family.

Nowadays, tourism is flourishing on this beautiful island, many high-end boutique hotels and luxury rental rooms have been established, new restaurants have opened their doors, but the island somehow manages to remain the same.No asphalt roads have turned the secluded beaches into mainstream hotspots; no cars are allowed into the alluring cliff-top Hora; no sunbeds or beach bars have infiltrated the virgin bays; complete strangers still party altogether, like one big company of friends, in the traditional squares with a “rakomelo” (strong alcoholic spirit mixed with honey) in hand, seated at al fresco tables or on the stairs of the church’s courtyard.

Folegandros is the setting for all the stories and memories–and perhaps even the romance–that you will be narrating to your friends back home.

The island of beauty, stunning views, picturesque small alleys and whitewashed traditional houses

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