Cycladic Islands

Folegandros

folegandros church

Folegandros is a truly magical island, perfect for travelers who don’t mind going the extra mile for a genuine laid-back Greek island experience. There are only two ways to get there, via helicopter or boat, and it’s really reflected in the the mood and pace of the island.

I highly recommend a stop here for a few days to anyone island hopping around the Cyclades. Think of it as a vacation within your vacation. We visited Folegandos between Naxos and Sifnos, but this island makes a convenient stop to other nearby islands like Mykonos, Ios, Paros, Milos, etc.

where to stay // Getting around

Every hotel on the island was booked when we were there in August, and since there aren’t very many hotels to begin with, the island was at a very comfortable capacity. We stayed in the Port because it was all that was available when we booked a few months before we departed for our trip. Although the Port is lovely, I recommend staying in the Chora. You will be able to walk to most the island’s restaurants, shops, and its few bars each night. The Chora is also the central dispatch location for the island’s bus service. The buses, which are frequent and inexpensive, can take you to the Port and to a few of the island’s beaches. The bus system is a great alternative to renting a car, ATV or moped.

 
folegandros+port

port

 
DSC01638.jpg
DSC01649.jpg
One of my favorite things about Folegandros was the hand-painted signs. Every restaurant and shop seemed to have one.

One of my favorite things about Folegandros was the hand-painted signs. Every restaurant and shop seemed to have one.

 
 
FOLEGANDROS.jpg

chora

 
Old doorway by O Kritikos Restaurant

Old doorway by O Kritikos Restaurant

Where to eat

When we asked the staff of our hotel where we should eat dinner each night, they asked, “what would you like? Seafood, meat? All of the restaurants in the Chora are good, it just depends on what you want.” It was nice to know that no matter where we ate on the island, we’d be having a delicious and thoughtfully prepared meal.


We dined at three restaurants in the Chora, and recommend all three:

Souvlaki Club - great sit down souvlaki restaurant

O Kritikos - An amazing meat restaurant

Chrysospelia - Although this restaurant specializes in seafood, I had the best moussaka I’ve quite possibly ever eaten here

DSC01995.jpg

don’t miss…

A visit to the Church of Panagia, an iconic landmark of Folegandros, is a well worth the hike. The church is only open in the evenings, from 6 to 9pm.



folegandros

Coffee break


A stop at Thema Chronou (Matter of Time) is worth a moment of your time not only because of their great coffee, but also because of their famous view of the castro (castle).

 
folegandros beach

beaches

During our time in Folegandros we had one beach day and chose to spend it at Agios Nikolaos beach. It is only accessible by a small boat that will ferry you from Agali beach for the price of ten euros. There are two tavernas on Agios Nikolaos beach, however I highly recommend you bring your own water and snacks.

 
 
view from Panagia church
 

One thing I couldn’t get over is how quiet this island is. I have been traveling throughout Greece since I was 6 years old but, for the first time in a very long time, I felt like time was standing still. I thought THIS is the laidback Greece people travel so far to experience. 

Naxos

This summer I visited the Cycladic island of Naxos for the first time. I was impressed by its diverse architecture, farm-to-table food as well as its unique and storied landscape.

I am already looking forward to my next visit there, when I can revisit some of my favorite spots listed below.

 
 
naxos chora.jpg

Chora

 
 
portara.JPG

portara

We made the hike up to the Portara, or Temple of Apollo, one evening to watch the sunset alongside many other tourists.

It was a calming experience, and felt like we were witnessing something special.

 
naxian salad.jpg

Apostolis

Apostolis quickly became our favorite restaurant in the Chora. We first visited for lunch and later returned for dinner (twice). We tried just about every dish, and everything was delicious. Their Greek salad with Naxian cheese in a bread bowl was an absolute showstopper and left me wondering, why hadn't I thought of that?

Tip: Traveling to Naxos in August? You will need to book your dinner reservation at Apostolis one day in advance.

 
naxos spritz.JPG

520 Bar

520 Bar is named for the country of origin code for products from Greece, so they won me over before I even stepped foot in the place. It's a great spot to watch the sunset and their cocktails are delicious. The 520 Spritz, their take on an Aperol Spritz, was a light and refreshing aperitivo that kept me coming back each night.

Tip: The bar has two levels, be sure to head upstairs for the best view and relaxing lounge area.

 
naxos ice cream.JPG

WAFFLe HOUSE

I know what our American readers are thinking, "Waffle House"? Let me tell you there is absolutely no relation to the American restaurant chain. This Waffle House serves up, I can confidently say, the best ice cream I've ever had in Greece, if not anywhere. They use only ingredients produced in Greece (woo!) and offer the typical flavors you'd find at an ice cream parlor as well as homages to traditional Greek flavors. The Greek yogurt and vissino (sour cherry) flavor was my absolute favorite.

They also have a location on Plaka Beach. You're welcome.

 

 
 
naxos tortuga.jpg

beach days

 
 

Macao Beach Project

Our first beach day we headed to Macao Beach Project on Agios Prokopios Beach. This beach is filled with rows and rows of lounge chairs and umbrellas, which is ideal for anyone who’s looking to be in the center of all the action.

naxos tortuga2.jpg

tortuga

We spent a day at Tortuga Beach Bar & Restaurant on Plaka Beach, where the upscale yet laidback atmosphere took us back to many of our favorite spots in Mykonos. We soaked up the sun on the quiet beach under a lux canopy, and when it was time for lunch we headed to their restaurant. During my time in Naxos I ate Naxian cheese prepared many different ways, but none can be outdone by Tortuga’s offering (shown above). When slightly salty and soft Naxian cheese is wrapped in kataifi, then fried, and then drizzled with honey and pistachios, something truly magical happens.

 

 
 
halki.JPG

villages

 
 
Apeiranthos1.jpg

Apeiranthos

Early one morning we decided to visit the village of Apeiranthos (a 45 minute drive from the Chora). I was curious to explore this small town since it was featured by the late Anthony Bourdain on his show Parts Unknown.

Walking through Apeiranthos gives you sense of what life is truly like a traditional Cycladic village.

 
chalki.jpg

halki

The village of Halki, which once served as the capitol of Naxos, is a 25 minute drive from the Chora and was an absolute pleasure to visit. The old villas and Venetian towers are now filled with tavernas, coffee shops and stores.

We had a delicious lunch at Giannis Taverna where we ordered a traditional Greek salad, briam (mix vegetables baked in tomato sauce) and kontosouvli (chunks of seasoned pork cooked on a rotisserie over a grill).

Don’t Miss:

Fish and Olive - A beautiful art gallery who’s porcelain vases and dishware (that are made in-house) are almost too pretty to put to use.

Church of Saint George Diasoritis - This Byzantine church which was constructed and decorated in the 11th century and is situated in an olive grove a short walk from the center of the village.

Halki has a much different feel from the traditional whitewashed architecture we’re used to seeing in the Cyclades.

Halki has a much different feel from the traditional whitewashed architecture we’re used to seeing in the Cyclades.

If you’d like to see video from our time in Naxos, head over to Hellenic Aesthetic’s Instagram and click the “Travel” story highlight

Mykonos 2017

Here is a compilation of some new and old favorites of ours in Mykonos. A place for celebrity sightings, luxurious accommodations and some of the hottest places to party in the entire world, it will always be a favorite island of ours.

 

STAY

windmills.JPG

 

MyMykonos Hotel- Located directly above (and within walking distance to) Mykonos Town, this 3-star bohemian-style hotel is a fun choice for those who want to be closer to town.

San Giorgio Mykonos - This 4-star adults only hotel is located near Paradise Beach and is perfect for those looking to indulge in Mykonos' party scene.

Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort- Our 5-star choice is near the ever-crowded Ornos Beach, but it's careful layout feels like a secluded oasis. Santa Marina also is home to the famous Buddha Beach Bar, which is definitely worth the visit for lunch or dinner if you need a break from traditional Greek cuisine.

 

EAT

Nautilus- Mykonos Town- A favorite of ours for three years running for traditional Greek food. Skip the classic Greek village salad and opt for their Mykonos-grown tomatoes, ksinotiro cheese, fried capers and basil pesto salad.

Interni- Mykonos Town- Fun party atmosphere and great food. Reserve a few days in advance.

Scorpios- Agia Anna Beach- You may remember Scorpios from our post. Scorpios is also a great place for dinner, but be sure to make a reservation (reservations@scorpiosmykonos.com) prior to your arrival if you will be visiting during peak season. 

Marenga Milk Bar- MyMall Mykonos - For coffee and food on mornings if you need a break from your hotel breakfast, or for those of us can't go more than a week without avocado toast.

Marenga Milk Bar is a 20 minute drive from Mykonos Town

Marenga Milk Bar is a 20 minute drive from Mykonos Town

 

SHOP

 

Enny Monaco- Mykonos Town- Beautiful pop-up for the 2017 season selling high-end clothing and accessories. We hope to see them return in 2018.

Apriati- Mykonos Town- Beautiful Greek-made fine jewelry for both men and women. We can't resist picking up a piece each time we're in Mykonos. They also have boutiques in Athens, Spetses, London and Paris. Rumor has it they will be coming to NYC in the near future.

Dio Horia Art Gallery- Mykonos Town- Whether you're in the market for fine art or not, it's worth the stop to view their latest show. 

Nammos Village- Psarou Beach- the new multi-brand high-end shopping center is a great pit stop on your way in or out of Nammos Restaurant by the Sea.

 

 

SantAnna

Scorpios got a new neighbor this summer, and it is an absolute must-see. Situated on Agia Anna Beach, SantAnna is an all-around great place to spend the day. If the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea aren't your thing, this property boasts Europe's largest beachfront pool to cool off in. Have your hotel call ahead to reserve lounge chairs, cabanas, and/or a table for lunch. 

Santana.JPG
 

Want more Mykonos? Check out our post on our favorite seaside hangouts here.