Slowing down in Greece

January 2, 2024


It’s a long way from Mexico to Greece, yet the sea and the arid landscapes of my home in Baja California Sur and Greek islands have a very similar, homey feel.

How do you choose which Greek island to visit? With more than 200 inhabited islands, Greece truly has something for every traveler. With the intention to enjoy a slower pace of life, we chose to visit a small island of Folegandros and a neighboring, volcanic island of Milos.

Pristine charm of Folegandros

There is something about the land on Folegandros that made me feel at home immediately. On the slow road from Karavostasi port to the south coast you will find dramatic cliffside views, arid lands, hills and fields, churches and donkeys, bee hives and wind-shaped olive trees. And on the left, on the right, behind you and in front of you, you will see the endless blues of the Aegean Sea.

Folegandros is a small island with only about 600 inhabitants living on the island throughout the year. But don’t let its size fool you. It is probably one of the most charming and unspoiled places I have visited in the past years. The island strives on preserving their natural beauties, which means that all their magical emerald green beaches are pristine and unspoiled. You won’t find any palapas or built-in umbrellas and beach chairs. Instead, bring your own shade or enjoy natural shades of olive trees, bring sun screen a towel, and your favorite book.

There are three main settlements on Folegandros. Karavostasis has a port and a small fishing village; you will arrive here with a high-speed ferry from Piraeus port in Athens. You will fall in love with the picturesque main town Chora with white narrow winding cobblestone paths. The cafes and restaurants that are surrounding the town plaza becomes a gathering spot for the entire island in the evenings and it’s something you shouldn’t miss. In Chora, don’t miss to visit Kastro, a medieval-era district built to protect the island’s inhabitants from enemy invasions. It’s white-washed stones and wall-to-wall homes with their bright colored doors and window frames will enchant you, and old ladies with friendly cats will chat you up curiously in Greek. A walking distance from Chora is Panagia Church, dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary, and is one of main attractions on the island. Visit it before the sunset and enjoy the most breathtaking panoramic views bathed in last golden rays of sunshine.

The third area to explore on Folegandros is a rural area of Ano Meria. This area is famous for their traditional farm houses, and its residents are striving to preserve their age old traditions and heritage to this day. In Ano Meria, take a walk to the Aspropounta Lighthouse that was built almost a century ago.


Where to stay: Anemi Hotel

Transportation: Rent a car to explore all the beaches at your own pace. Renting a 4×4 car, since most of the island is remote and roads leading to the beaches are narrow dirt roads with rock surfaces.

Where to eat: Sea Sense at Anemi, Piatsa Greek Restaurant in Chora (and any restaurant there).
Beaches: Ambeli, Agios Nikolaos, Livadaki. Galifos, Agali, Katergos.
Where to stay: Anemi Hotel

Transportation: Rent a car to explore all the beaches at your own pace. Renting a 4×4 car, since most of the island is remote and roads leading to the beaches are narrow dirt roads with rock surfaces.

Where to eat: Sea Sense at Anemi, Piatsa Greek Restaurant in Chora (and any restaurant there).

Beaches: Ambeli, Agios Nikolaos, Livadaki. Galifos, Agali, Katergos.

The Magic of Milos

If the Moon would have a sea, I imagine it would look like Milos. Although today Milos is probably most known for its white washed Sarakiniko beach, its volcanic origins will surprise you with different colors, textures, and formations as you go and explore the island. Three of my favorite things on Milos were otherworldly beaches, colorful fishing villages, and its amazing history.

One of the main attractions of Milos are definitely its spellbound beaches, but I found almost equally charming its small fishing villages with rustic charm and tranquility. Visit a small fishing village of Klima for a trip back in time. Homes are built next to the sea, so that the boats can get in the ‘boat garage’ at the lower level of the house. The main doors and window frames are painted in bright catchy colors, so that the fishermen can spot their home immediately when coming back tired from fishing. Today, many of the traditional fishing houses have been restored and some are now being offered for rent to visitors.

Because of its mineral rich soil and mineral mines that are still active today, the life on the island doesn’t die down when the summer is over and visitors return home. Here, the island is brimming with life all year long. Besides beach life, we enjoyed exploring rich history of Milos. Some of the highlights was the ancient Ancient Roman Theatre, built in 3rd century BC. In the past, the theatre could host 7,000 visitors, and today 700 guests can enjoy performances at this spectacular historic venue. Near the Theatre, visit the catacombs and see the spot where the statue of Venus of Milos was discovered in 1820. The original statue now resides at the Louvre Museum in Paris, but you can see its replica overlooking the Tripiti village.

Exploring beaches by car is fantastic, but by far my favorite experience on Milos was renting a private boat for a full day with an experienced captain Takis. During the boat day, Takis took showed us the Milos that he loves; from popular Klefiko bay to to small hidden bays with pristine seas in all shades of blue, where it was only us enjoying the clear sea. We explored hidden bays, volcano and sea carved tunnels and rock formations ranging from all white to red, green, and deep black.


Where to stay: hotels and suites get booked up quickly, so book early. During our 7 day trip we stayed at Cave Suites Milos, The suites are beautiful with private pool, amazing service, and are situated very close to Sarakiniko beach. Other hotels we liked: Skinopi Lodge, White Coast Pool Suites.

Transportation: Best way to explore the island is by car. Here, all roads are paved so any car preference or a motorcycle is a great option.

Towns to visit: Klima, Plaka, Papafragas, Tripiti,

Where to eat: O! Hamas in Adamas for authentic Greek food, Medusa in Mandrakia, Astakas in Klima, Palaios Coffee & Pastry in Plaka for amazing Mille-Feuille and watermelon pie.

Beaches: Sarakiniko (to avoid crowds, come very early), Papafragas, Firopotamos, Kleftiko & hidden nearby bays. There are too many beautiful beaches on Milos to name them all, but these are just some of the beaches we truly enjoyed.

To get to Milos and Folegandros, take high-speed boat Seajets from Piraeus port in Athens. Alternatively, if you would like to combine your vibrant Santorini vacation with a relaxing retreat, you can take a high-speed boat from Santorini to Folegandros and Milos as well.

This article was first published in Elle Mexico, March 2023, in Spanish. Here is the English (original) version, and I hope it inspires you to book a vacation; be it a romantic honeymoon in Greece, a birthday trip, a summer vacation, or a trip just because.

What do you think?



LA76 Photography is a wife and husband team, Romana and Mariano, living, loving, and working in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, as well as worldwide.

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