Despite its close proximity to Santorini, Folegandros is a quiet Greek island escape. Explore secluded beaches, traditional villages, and awe-inspiring landscapes that remain unspoiled by tourists.
Walk the striking zig-zag pathway that winds to the Church of Panagia and admire views of rocky ochre cliffs. Afterward, soak up the sun on one of the island’s many pristine beaches.
Hora, from Hebrew hvorah and Romanian hora, is a folk dance in a linked circle. It was traditionally danced at special events like weddings, and adolescent boys entering manhood. It was also a social symbol, opening its circle to admit nubile women and those ending mourning, but shutting them out if they violated local moral standards.
The hora became associated with Yiddish culture through the work of Klezmer composers, such as Moshe (Musa) Berlin. He created a set of juck (hora) Niggunim, which are marching tunes, to accompany the dance.
It’s important to give your band flexibility with the Hora. You want them to be able to keep guests engaged and dancing, but the energy shouldn’t continue until everyone is exhausted. This is why it’s important to have an open discussion with them beforehand about how long they can keep the dance going. Also, you may have noticed that newlyweds hold a napkin between them when they’re lifted in their chairs. This is a sign that they’re connecting through the dance. They’re not holding the napkin for their partner, but for themselves.
Whether you’re after a tranquil beach escape or a thrilling hike, Greece has many quiet islands to keep your family or yourself blissfully entertained. Especially once you steer clear of the big cruise destinations and overtouristed isles.
You’ll find pristine beaches, awe-inspiring hiking trails and quaint villages on these sleepy Greek island gems.
Kimolos is one of the best quiet islands in the Cyclades, thanks to its wild nature and impressive main town (chorio) adorned with a ruined Venetian castle, whitewashed houses and bougainvillea-draped streets. Then there are the natural beaches, which are a mix of pebble and sand with lovely cedar trees for shade.
Karpathos is another of the quietest Greek islands, with a rugged landscape and small traditional villages dotted with cypress tree-covered clifftop homes. You’ll also find secluded beaches, and plenty of cultural treasures like the evocative Venus de Milo in the monastery of Zoodochos Pigi.
Whether you’re seeking out hawks, capturing waterfalls, or simply soaking in the landscape, hiking is a perfect way to get some fresh air. It’s essential to plan ahead — a trip to the local trailhead will provide all of the information you need on the landscape, weather, plants, animals, and logistics (if needed).
Some hikes require more planning than others. For example, a distance hike will last much longer than a weekend hike and requires extra supplies for food, water, shelter, and other needs. Also, if you’re planning to go solo, it’s important to consider safety and pace concerns. It’s also wise to know how to identify signs of wilderness injury or illness. Keeping these things in mind will ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.
Unlike the cosmopolitan Greek islands that draw in young crowds seeking partying and Instagram-worthy cocktails, quieter islands like Folegandros attract a more health-conscious set. Aristide’s sisters have made a point of sourcing organic, sustainable products, and guests can dine on dishes that change daily depending on what the local garden and fisherman bring in. They also promote agrotourism and focus on physical and spiritual wellness, which has attracted a select group of travelers who come to do yoga or meditate at sunrise. They’re sure to love the hotel’s soaring interiors painted in white, mustard, and teal. They’ll also appreciate the fact that many of the island’s paths are car-free.
There are plenty of hotel options in Folegandros, and most of them boast spectacular views of the cliff-backed landscape. Unlike other Greek islands that have become overrun by tourists, Folegandros is relatively unspoiled and offers an excellent array of hotels to choose from. In general, accommodations on the island are reasonably priced compared to other Cyclades. However, prices do jump considerably during the peak summer months of July and August.
Most of the accommodation on Folegandros is located in the main towns of Chora, Karavostasis, and Ano Meria. In addition, there are a few Folegandros beach resorts that offer accommodations on or near the pristine beaches.
A good choice is the Horizon Hotel in Chora, a small and intimate property that is tucked away on the edge of the village for a more laidback stay. The upper rooms feature stunning views of the cliff-backed scenery and the monastery. There is also a restaurant on site and the owner Irini is available around the clock for assistance. The location is a short walk to the town’s squares, including the picturesque Pounta Square.