FOOTPATHS OF HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL INTEREST
Despite the island's small size, the well-preserved network of old paved streets and footpaths is an attraction for hikers, allowing them to experience the riches of Folegandros’s historical character. The network of selected footpaths, with a total length of 20 kilometres, crosses a large part of the Folegandros countryside and constitutes the Footpaths of Historical and Cultural Interest, which lead to destinations with a particular historical-cultural or environmental importance.
The selected Footpaths are as follows:
a. Hora – Stavros – Christos – Fira – Aggali.
The walk starts at the Kastro in Hora, through the narrow streets, and joins the road for a while, passing below Pantanassa and the Agios Savvas chapel. Reaching the historic church of Stavros, the walk returns to the footpath, heading south-west. The section up to Christos is mostly paved. After Christos, and with an open view to the sea, the footpath becomes narrower and rougher, descending towards the picturesque bay of Fira. From there, the footpath leads to the picturesque but busy bay of Aggali, along a coastal route in a rocky and steep landscape.
The route can also be followed backwards: Aggali – Fira – Christos – Stavros – Hora
Walking time: 45΄.
b. Ano Meria – Agios Ioannis Eleimonas – Marmaro – Agios Nikolaos – Aggali.
The footpath starts at Agios Ioannis Eleimonas, at the eastern edge of the Ano Meria settlement. From the road, the route follows a paved footpath leading to the Folk Art Museum and from there to the Agios Ioannis Theologos countryside chapel. The footpath descends and crosses the abandoned village of Marmaro, where typical Ano Meria architecture has been preserved intact. As it approaches the coast, the route passes above the picturesque bay of Ai Nikolas – always enchanting – and then descends towards the small beach at Galyfos. Moving along the coast, the footpath finally leads to the small church of Agia Marina, outside Aggali.
The route can also be followed backwards:
Aggali – Agios Nikolaos – Marmaro – Agios Ioannis Eleimonas – Ano Meria.
Walking time: 1 hour.
c. Ano Meria – Agios Andreas – Agios Georgios – Lygaria – Zoodochos Pigi.
The route starts at the church of Agios Andreas, on the western side of the scattered settlement of Ano Meria. The footpath is mostly paved. Walkers encounter the countryside chapel of Agios Sostis, crossing an area dominated by the typical Ano Meria agricultural landscape, with a panoramic view. This is succeeded by an area with denser vegetation and trees offering cool shadows, and ends up in Agios Georgios bay (also accessible by road directly from Ano Meria). The Ano Meria – Agios Georgios footpath is still used by the area’s farmers and shepherds. Between Agios Georgios bay and Kastello cape, the footpath turns into an agricultural road. Remains of a settlement from the Proto-Cycladic period can be seen in Kastello. From there, the route turns south-west and meets the picturesque small beach of Lygaria. In its last section, the footpath climbs towards the Karkana rise, along a narrow dirt road leading to the church of Zoodochos Pigi (Chrisopigi). With broad views towards the open sea and cape Kyparissi, this hiking route can be completed by returning to Ano Meria village through Merovigli.
Walking time Ano Meria – Zoodochos Pigi: 1 hour 15’.
d. Ano Meria (Taxiarhis) – Agios Panteleimonas – Ampeli.
From Taxiathis in Ano Meria, the route initially heads west, along the provincial road. After a crossroads with a footpath leading south-west to Livadaki, it heads west towards Agios Panteleimonas along a paved footpath, leading to a location of rare beauty. After Agios Panteleimonas, the footpath is divided into two branches, leading to Ampeli bay. The southern branch, which is initially smooth, later descends steeply towards the picturesque beach. By contrast, the northern branch is steep to start with, but then crosses a pretty gorge, with unusual vegetation by the island’s standards and with traditional cultivation methods (skales).
Walking time: 30΄.
e. Ano Meria (Taxiarhis) – Livadaki – Aspropounta Lighthouse – Ano Meria (Myloi).
This is the longest route, starting from Taxiarhis and moving in a circle to end up in Myloi, Ano Meria. Initially, the route is the same as the previous one, until the crossroads to Livadaki, which this route follows. The footpath is intact and well marked, and paved in parts. The view from the hill with the countryside chapel of Agii Anargyri is excellent. The footpath then heads downwards, crossing the Skiathitis area and directed towards Livadaki, a sheltered bay with a small pebbly beach. Subsequently, hikers start to climb, reaching a small fork in the path that leads to the particularly picturesque Aspropounta Lighthouse (Faros). Thje main route continues along a footpath at the foot of Trahilos hill, and becomes a dirt road headed in a northerly direction. The last section of the route crosses the Petalakia area and passes above Tzanis gorge, terminating at Stavros church, right by the Myloi (windmills) in Ano Meria.
This route - typically circular - can also be followed backwards:
Ano Meria (Myloi) – Aspropounta Lighthouse – Livadaki – Ano Meria (Taxiarhis).
Walking time: 2 hrs 10’.