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Folegandros or Paros?

We are a 70-ish year old couple who have visited Greece several times, including Corfu, Naxos and Milos, all of which we loved (although Milos is by far our favorite of those).

We will be in Corfu at the beginning of August this year (we have an annual retreat we attend in Corfu) and had planned a week in Folegandros after that, and have booked the Anemousa Hotel. We chose Folegandros because we heard that it was very quiet and more "authentically Greek." However, now that I am looking at ferries to get there, I am wondering if we would be better off choosing another island that we can fly to directly (thinking of Paros).

It looks like we can fly from Corfu to Milos (through Athens), and will need to spend the night in Milos to get the ferry the next day to Folegandros. Then we will need to do the reverse (I think; haven't researched that part much yet), with a possible night in Athens as well before our flight out to return home.

That said, it will reduce our time in Folegandros by 2-3 days if I am calculating correctly. Maybe that's worth it - I hear it's a small island and since we will be there in August, it will probably be too hot to hike or do much but laze around - which is fine with me, but I'd love to hear people's opinions on
1. Is it worth the trouble to get to Folegandros?
2. Would Paros be just as nice and quiet, while easier to get to.

Thank you all!

Rachel

Posted by
2416 posts

3 days on Folegandros will be sufficient, and very relaxing at Anemousa ... don't be strenuous in August, maybe at 8 am or so, do the winding walk up to the hillside church. The beaches are not outstanding, u can go there by bus ... Anemousa has a divine "infinity pool" great views of water far below. I loved wandering around Chora ... I set myself the task of finding an ugly corner or view in Chora to photograph -- explored for an hour, no results, everything was beautiful. Only drawback to Anemousa when I was there, (5? years ago) I'm in your age cohort ... a very STEEP dirt path/road down to the check-in, the only way to get there, and when I was there, NO hand-rail. So intmidating that I brought dinner down there rather than attempt it after dark and 2 glasses of wine. Y ou might consider writing management to ask if handrail has been installed for safety!

Posted by
2416 posts

I think if you have that reservation confirmed, you'll be happier on Folegandros for 3 days than Paros. Because Foley has a limited housing stock, it puts a "ceiling" on people .... because Paros has so much more housing, and also day trippers, its port town and beaches etc can crowd up more at peak of High Season.

YOu wold not have to do that reverse fly-ferry thing to get to Mainland from Foley.... just take a fast--ferry to Piraeus, do a night near the airport if your flight home is early. Look at places 15 minutes from Airport -- St. Thomas B & B -- 3 units, in an olive grove, has a pool, u can have a last dip the vening before u go home...

Posted by
78 posts

I haven't been to Paros, but I enjoyed a couple of days on Folegandros last summer. A full week there, especially in August when it's too hot to do much hiking, might be a bit much unless you really just want to unplug and be lazy for a week. If so, have fun.

A couple of other possibilities:

  1. Split the week between Folegandros and Sifnos. Go to Folegandros first, as the ferry back to Piraeus stops at Sifnos. Spend a few days there. I think either the port city of Kamares or the capital Appollonia which is up the hill would be fine to stay in. Unfortunately, Sifnos is a great trekking island but you'll be there at a bad time for that. Then you can ferry back to Piraeus when you are done in Sifnos.

  2. Go to the Sporades instead. I would guess you could fly Corfu/Athens/Skiathos as easily as Corfu/Athens/Milos. I'd then recommend taking the ferry to Skopelos and spending your week there, as it is not as touristy as Skiathos (which has the only airport in this island group). It's a bit cooler in the Sporades than the Cyclades and it's greener, with more trees. I also liked the beaches on Skopelos (not the town beach which is mediocre, but the others such as Milia and Stafylos) and the nearby island of Alonissos are better than Folegandros or Sifnos. There's more to explore in Skopelos than Folegandros for a week's stay. Definitely take a day trip to Alonissos if you go this route.

I don't really have a recommendation for where to stay on Skopelos unless you want to do a very basic and inexpensive guesthouse as I did. Pension Kir Sotos was quite inexpensive and just a few minutes walk from the Skopelos Town ferry (there are actually two ports on Skopelos, I didn't even get to visit the other port town of Glossa).

Posted by
98 posts

Dear Janet and window office,
Thank you both for your responses - very helpful. I had no idea there was a "fast ferry" from Folegandros to Piraeus, but I will definitely look into it. In which case, I assume we could take the same ferry to arrive at Folegandros, yes? As I said, I will check the ferry schedules.

Based on what you say, we definitely will choose Foley over Paros, even if a bit more work to get there.

It's true that a week might be a bit much, esp. if it's too hot to hike. Then again, we do like the idea of "unplug and be lazy" so that might be fine. We are hoping for a bit of local life also. I am pretty happy hanging out in a taverna with the locals. I will look into the possibility of splitting the time between Folegandros and Sifnos - I like that idea!

Meanwhile, it turns out to be much less $ to fly to Santorini than Milos, although I suspect it will cost more to spend the night there. Then again, I have always wanted to see Santorini, but have not made a point of going due to the hordes. So maybe this will be our chance. Any recommendations of a place to stay on Santorini would be appreciated.

Sporades was not on my radar at all; I will look into it.

Thank you all again!
Rachel

Posted by
98 posts

So I have now found that there is a ferry from Piraeus to Folegandros that takes about 4 hours (as does the return).

However, I notice two things:

  1. The ferry schedule is not yet confirmed - is it likely to change?
  2. I notice in a two-year old post from Janet that the "cm" ferry is small and can be bumpy. It looks like that's the only ferry available, as far as I can tell (I am using the gtp.gr site). Many years ago, I took ferries all over Greece and remember some very unpleasant rides. Is August likely to be more or less bumpy, or is the Aegean always challenging?

Janet, you recommended to someone else going to Santorini that they fly rather than spend all day on the ferry. But that was two years ago, and Santorini is a bit farther than Foley. It still seems to me that we will have to spend a night in Santorini after flying there, and before getting the ferry to Foley, so that still makes the ferry for us makes the most sense, do you agree?

And finally, thanks, Janet, for your reference to the lack of a handrail at the Anemousa. I will check into that; although in August we can at least count on light late in the day.

Posted by
2416 posts

Boy I hate this website feature -- that when you hit reply, the whole thread disappears & you can't see the last entry. So you open a new window so as to keep them both and --- you know what happens; y ou accidentally click the wrong thing and your carefully-crafted reply is lost. grrr. that just happened to me. Here are a few of the items I lost, plus more:

• FOLEGANDROS - u will enjoy it, but in High season, don't fantasize about "hanging with the locals in the taverna" -- it will be all tourists. to hang with locals means going in April or Early May, or in October.

• SIFNOS - if u decide to go there: i have loved stayng in the hillside villages - Ano Petali Artemonas Appollonia -- but even walking to dinner up there rquires a LOT LOT LOT of going up/down stairstep lanes... you might do better staying at beach like VATHI expecially i the heat. Sifnos is not super-crowdy because when the housing is FULL, that's it... a self-limiting business. For August, man yof best choices may be full.

• FLY to SANORINI from ATHENS then go to Foley VS Ferry from PIRAEUS. You do realize, you are asking us for advice, but not givig us dates at all --- and as far as I can calculate from your generalities, this travel will be in the PEAK WEEK of the entire year!!! The days surrounding August 15 (the DOrmition of he Virgin) Greece's biggest holiday next to easter. How can we advise when we don't know what days you hope to travel?? If you want help we need Specific dates! My thoughts in general
--- Neither plan is really good, but if you are able to get that PLANE, I still would advise it. I checked this useful website for Aegean, http://en.aegeanair.com/e-services/e-ticket/ and arbitrarily chose the date of August 10, since you have not be specific. It shows the whole week. I found that the best Aug 10 flight/value to get from Corfu to FOlegandros in 5.5 hours dep @ 18:00 & arr Santorini 23:25. Since u need a suitcase, u need the "flex" rate: = €93.53. No other days are as good a sked or value.
--- Now consider what's involved with a ferry. I presume you will fly from Corfu to ATH, then I guess you are considering taking a x93 bus to Piraeus (in usual bad traffic = 70 minutes, in August traffic, 90 minutes). I then looked at last year's schedule -- via Openseas website http://www.openseas.gr/en/index.html because it has this little trick; you can roll back the calendar tosee what ferries ran that day in 2019... there are a lot of ferries, but all are those small hi-speed passenger-only ferries (except for an old "rustbucket" ferry that takes 7-8 hours). And YES, the small ferries can rock & roll when the Meltemi winds blow up, and Yes, the Meltemi is worst in August. And remember, fast-ferries are at least 75% more than slow ferries... so it could cost nearly the same

IF you GO to SANTORINI (this is another part of my draft that disappeared) for just 1 one night (or maybe 2, if you get in at midnight!) ... you probably should stay convenient to Fira town, tho not necessarily in it. Firostephani is on the northern fringe of Fira town, away from the hubbub, but an easy walk along the rimside path to cafes, museum etc. I have a small "budget gem" place just 50 feet from the rimside view, Villa Fotini -- and they pick up at the airport free. only 12 rooms tho, so they may be fully booked by now. Just downhill from there, Hotel Margarita has more rooms, no view, but a pool. If you ever get your travel logistics figured out AND locked in, we can help with rooms... but what's the point until then.

Posted by
98 posts

I agree, Janet: I hate that feature of this site also, super annoying. I just cut and pasted your reply into a Word doc and and then will transfer to here…

Apologies if my original post was not specific enough: We leave Corfu on 9 August and have reserved Anemousa Hotel from 9 til 16, with the option of cancelling if we change plans. And it looks like we may cancel the 9th (and possibly 10th) assuming we stay in Santorini that night. We have no flexibility on the front end, but can shorten or extend after the 16. And yes, I realize this is PEAK peak season but as I said, this is the time we have.

I appreciate all your comments and advice. I do have concerns about finding rooms in Sifnos and esp. Santorini at this point (we booked the Anemousa MANY MONTHS ago; unfortunately, I did not do the research at that time about ferries etc. and am now scrambling to make up for that). But I will investigate the places you mention in Santorini, and if these specific dates help, I would appreciate any others you suggest. That is to say, we need a place to stay in Santorini on 9 August and possibly 10.

I have checked the Aegean site and found the same prices, so will book that ASAP. You have persuaded me on that front ☺.

Thank you again,
Rachel

Posted by
78 posts

I stayed at the Hotel Margarita in Firostephani last June. As Janet said, you have to walk, just a few minutes, to get to the caldera view but there's a pool and it's OK, although my hotel in Folegandros (Polikandia) was certainly better at a similar price point.

As I recall, the ferry from Santorini to Folegandros left pretty early, so I made arrangements with Hotel Margarita for a transfer from Firostephani to the port rather than chancing the local bus and I got to Folegandros at like 10 AM. The hotel picked me up at port and my room was already ready and I was able to stow my bags and enjoy the day without worrying about them.

The fast ferry can be bumpy--the day I rode from Milos to Sifnos was very rough but I was fortunately not on very long, and the long ride (Sifnos to Piraeus) was on a better day. The only time I rode the slow ferry was in the Sporades and I found it much more enjoyable if you can afford the time.

Posted by
98 posts

Thank you, windowoffice. I will take all that under consideration.

Meanwhile, I am re-considering and looking into Skopelos, due to your advice that it might be a bit cooler in August. Also, it looks like there are better beaches and more to do, even given heat. AND it seems simpler to fly to Skiathos and ferry to Skopelos, and just stay at the one place for a week, rather than the connection through Santorini and the possibility of splitting the time between Folegandros and Sifnots.

Of course, this is assuming we can find a place to stay at this somewhat late date. I have contacted the pension you mention and am continuing to explore. Thanks again for your response,
Rachel