Be advised, however, that getting to some of them is not for the faint of heart. Of course, you can always opt for the taxi boat to reach them, but the views from the top of a cliff, just before descending to the beach, are second to none.
Without further ado, here is your ultimate guide to the beaches of Folegandros and how to visit them.
The Beaches around Karavostasi
Vardia, one of the island’s longest beaches, is well-hidden behind the port. It’s a rocky sand beach with beautiful blue waters, particularly popular among locals, who wisely avoid it when northern winds blow. There is no natural shade, but parts of the beach are in shade in the late afternoon.
No matter where you are in Karavostasi, you will be 5min away from the beach. You just follow the paved road and climb down a solid concrete set of steps.
Surrounded by the settlement of Karavostasi, Chochlidia offers everything you may need, from taverns and cafés to mini-markets and hotels. The beach features large white pebbles on the foreshore and sandy seabed, as well as some tamarisks for shade. Properly organised for swimming and sailing lessons, it is favoured by local families with young children.
Getting to Chochlidia doesn’t require any effort at all. It´s the first beach you’ll glimpse as you arrive at the port or as you get off the bus at Karavostasi.
A stone’s through away are the beaches of Latinaki, Vitsentzou, and Pountaki.
Latinaki, Vitsentzou, Pountaki
The first of the beaches in the row is Latinaki, a tiny sandy cove overlooking the port. Just behind it, Vitsentzou is fringed by rocks that form small private beaches. The last one, Pountaki, is a bit more secluded and, therefore, ideal for those seeking tranquility.
Following the paved coastal road from Karavostasi towards Livadi, you will come across blue signposts indicating the way to each beach (10min walk). They all require a rather steep but short descent.
Not to be confused with Livadaki (our favourite beach on the island), Livadi is a rather average beach for the standards of Folegandros. It has coarse sand and a few trees that guarantee some shadow in the afternoon.
Getting to Livadi is easy-peasy: just drive right up and park, hop on the local bus that stops directly above the beach or walk there from Karavostasi (20min). A 200m dirt road connects the beach with Livadaki Camp.
Kátergo ♥ ♥
This is Livadaki´s only serious rival in the best-beach stakes!
Located in the remote southeast part of the island and surrounded by high cliffs, Katergo is as wild and unspoiled as it gets. The beach is gorgeous with fine white pebbles, and the turquoise water was made for swimming. Just make sure that you bring your own food, water, and shade as you will find none of them.
As for its name, the locals used to come here to mine haematite, from which they made a reddish dye for their boats and houses. This whole process was hard, and the extraction conditions were quite unhealthy – hence the name “katergo”, which translates to “convict ship”. However, according to another hearsay, the name derives from the long islet that lays just opposite and really looks like a “(convict) ship”.
This islet, known as Pelagia, stands out in the middle of the bay, creating a strong sea current that moves southwards to the reef. Trying to swim against the current will run you ragged, so think twice before getting there to dive from the rock.
By excursion boat:
The easy way is to get there by excursion boat that departs from Karavostasis port. The boat ride takes 10min and costs 12,00 euros for a round trip. There is no need to pre-book your tickets, simply purchase them on board.
Port to Katergo timetable: 11.15, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.45
Katergo to Port timetable: 11:30, 12:15, 13:15, 14:15, 15:15, 17:00, 18:30
First, make your way to the rural hamlet of Livadi in the southernmost part of the island. Just before entering the settlement, there is a junction to your left, where a short white signpost with red letters marks the trailhead of the hike. You can either get there by bus from Chora, get off at the “Livadi” stop and walk for 15min to the trailhead, or drive your car and park at the side of the road.
The 1.2km trail to the beach is well-marked with an occasional “KT” painted on the rocks. The hike is fairly easy except for the scramble down to the beach, which is quite steep and treacherous (around 25min).
Tip: Follow the path described above and not the one starting from Livadi Camping, as the latter is much longer and far more difficult.
The Beaches around Agali
Agali beach is probably the most popular on the island, especially when it comes to families with children. It consists of fine sand and pebbles, while the rocky cliffs surrounding it give the beach its name (agali=hug). Teetering on the cliffside, a few tavernas serve up fresh fish.
From Agali, footpaths lead to various sheltered beaches on the southwest shore: Galifos and Agios Nikolaos to the west and Fira to the east.
The bus trundles out here up to ten times a day in high season. The ticket costs 3.50 euros (5,00 euros in 2022) for a round trip, and you have to collect your tickets from the Sottovento tourist office at Point Square. Be aware that the bus to Agali is private, and therefore you cannot buy your ticket directly from the bus driver as is the case with the local bus.
Chora to Agali bus timetable: 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 19.00, 20.00
Agali to Chora bus timetable: 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 16.30, 17.30, 18.30, 19.30, 20.30
On your way from Agali to Agios Nikolaos, there is the small sheltered bay of Galifos. Protected from the northerly wind, this quiet pebbly beach has incredibly clear waters but no natural shade. Nudism is a common practice here, even though the beach hasn’t been declared a nudist one.
And if you are looking for a different accommodation experience, Galifos Eco Houses, just above the beach, operate for the past 25 years without electricity. It will be only you, the beach, and the light of the moon and the starry sky!
The only way to get to Galifos is on foot from Agali beach. Once at Agali, follow the path that starts at the right end of the beach. First, you will climb some stairs, and then you will follow the path that runs parallel to the sea. You will reach Galifos beach in less than 10min!
The path continues west to Agios Nikolaos beach and the namesake chapel.
Agios Nikólaos ♥
Taking its name from the homonymous chapel that lies above the beach, Agios Nikolaos is one of the island’s most popular beaches. And with coarse fine sand and plenty of tamarisks lining the beach, this comes as no surprise.
The beach is unorganised but there are two decent taverns. Agios Nikolaos Taverna is right on the beach, while Papalagi is perched at the cliff and offers spectacular views. The food is not the best you will find on Folegandros, but the atmosphere makes up for it.
By excursion boat:
The easiest way to reach Agios Nikolaos is by boat from the nearby beach of Agali. The journey takes only 3min, and the boats depart every half an hour (!call for timetable and price).
If you’d rather walk there, take the staircase at the right extreme of Agali beach and follow the path for around 20min. The avid hiker, on the other hand, may want to head to Ano Meria and follow this alternative 2.7km path.
Mainly favoured by locals, the small sandy cove of Firá is an isolated beach with clear waters. It is protected from the winds as it is surrounded by craggy orange cliffs along one side of the water.
Overlooking the southwest side of the island, it is the perfect place to enjoy the red and gold hue of the sunset, especially if you hike up its cliffs!
From the beach of Agali, take the path with the characteristic FI mark that heads east to Firá beach. The 400m trail runs along the coastline and high above it, passing by a rocky and otherworldly landscape (15min).
Firá is also accessible via the much longer 3km path from Chora. The walk starts at Castro, just below the Church of Pantanassa, and passes by the chapels of Agios Savas and Stavros, where the footpath begins. The first section up to Christos chapel is mostly paved, while after it, the footpath becomes narrower and rough, descending towards Firá.
The Beaches around Ano Meria
Livadaki ♥ ♥
Wild, secluded, and peaceful, this is Folegandros’ most beautiful slice of shoreline!
The natural bay, well-protected from the winds, forms a magical setting with its sheer cliffs, turquoise waters, and white pebbles. Some rock formations extending the beach on its right side are ideal for everyone who wants to sunbathe or strip to swim.
A bit further back along the beach, some tamarisks provide plenty of shade, but you won’t get a great view while sitting there. So, if you’d rather lay by the water’s edge, bring your own wind-proof beach umbrella.
By excursion boat:
The soft option is to take the taxi boat from Agali beach. The boat first stops at Agios Nikolaos beach, so you can always stop there for a bit before continuing to Livadaki. The ticket costs 12,00 euros for a round trip, and the boat sets sail almost every half an hour. Tickets can be purchased on board.
Truth be told, taking the boat seems to be the obvious choice, especially under the hot summer sun. However, by doing so, you would miss out on the most beautiful hike on the island!
There are two different paths leading to Livadaki, both starting from the village of Ano Meria. Ideally, you can follow the one on your way down and the other on your way back.
First, take the bus from Chora to Ano Meria and get off at the last stop. Follow the paved road for about 400m, and you will see a blue signpost indicating the way to Livadaki. From there, it is a straightforward and easy-to-follow path down to the bay, marked with an “LV” (20-30min).
On your way back, take the “FL” path starting on the opposite side of the beach. Hiking along the cliff, you will enjoy gorgeous views, especially during sunset, and you will come across the scenic Aspropounta Lighthouse. You will then pass by a couple of chapels and bare hills, full of terraces, before ending at Chrisospilia Cafe in Ano Meria (50min).
Ampeli is a teeny-tiny cove with fine pebbles, clear waters, and little grottoes to swim into. Some trees slightly above the beach offer much-welcomed shade. Located on the island’s northwestern shore, the beach is famous for its amazing sunset views.
Take the bus from Chora to Ano Meria and get off at the last stop. Start walking along the main road for about 500m and take a left at the second Y junction. A stone pathway continues all the way down to the Chapel of Agios Panteleimonas, from where a 1km footpath takes you to Ampeli (30min in total).
If you have rented a car, follow the dirt road that leads directly to the beach. It’s a 10min drive from the bus stop in Ano Meria or 10km away from Chora.
Ligaria & Agios Georgios
Off the beaten path, the beaches on the northern shore of the island are peaceful and unexplored.
The first one, Ligaria, is a small cove with sand and a laid-back vibe. Some 600m to the south, there is the beach of Agios Georgios, a sandy cove with some trees for shade. It owes its quaintness to the chapel of St. George and the old fishing huts where the fishermen store their boats (“sírmata”).
Both beaches are easy to access by the dirt road from Ano Meria (7min drive).
Exposed to the north winds and with difficult access, Serfiotiko is probably the least-visited beach on the island. However, with a couple of “sírmata” and a few tamarisk trees scattered around, this is a particularly picturesque bay.
So if you plan weather-wise and hiking doesn’t bother you, you may end up having this lovely beach all to yourself!
The beach is only accessible on foot via two different paths from Ano Meria (30-45min). So first, hop on the bus from Chora to Ano Meria and ask the bus driver to drop you off accordingly.
For the first path, you have to get off at the Y junction to the Chapel of Analipsi. Follow the paved road to your right for 500m and then take the path down to the beach. For the second one, get off at the chapel of Agios Andreas and follow the path to your right that starts just before the chapel.
Surrounded by green stone hills, Vorina is a stunningly beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters and fine pebbles. But as its name indicates (Vorina = Northern), the beach faces north and, therefore, is exposed to northern winds.
This means that whether you love it or hate it, it all depends on choosing the right day to visit.
Come when there is a southerly breeze or no wind at all for a day or two, and the flat calm waters are among the most spectacular on the island. Come after some serious northern winds, and the beach is a seaweed farm.
Take the bus from Chora to Ano Meria and ask the bus driver to drop you off at the church of Agioi Saranta. If you have your own set of wheels, you can conveniently park by the church.
A large blue signpost indicates the path, that starts just off the main road. It’s a bit of a hike down a steep path but the setting is incredible (20min). The trail is well-marked with the letters VR.
Getting to Vorina requires some effort – especially on the way back – but this only adds to its charm!
If there is one tip we can offer, asking the locals which beach to visit each day would be it.
Because truth be told, when it comes to the beaches, it all depends on the weather. Choose the right day to visit, and each and every one will deliver!