On the northern side of the Cyclades archipelagos you find Tinos, one of the most enchanting islands in Greece. Gorgeous sandy beaches, traditional villages and the minimalistic architecture characteristic of the Cyclades create a tantalizing atmosphere that will captivate you at first sight. Here the Cycladic dovecotes, the stone-made houses, and the churches set the scene!
What is Tinos famous for?
There is something special about Tinos with its religious significance and thousands of worshippers who visit the island and the church of Panagia Megalochari each year. People come from near and far to worship the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, which is hosted on Tinos. During summer, on August 15th, when Virgin Mary is celebrated, a lot of festivities are taking place on the island. Therefore, if you would like to experience the most spiritual side of Tinos you should try to plan your holiday around one of the religious feasts.
Where is Tinos island?
Tinos is located in the Cyclades archipelago. In antiquity, Tinos was also known as Ophiussa (ophis, Greek for snake) and Hydroessa (hydor, Greek for water). Nearby islands are Andros, Delos, and Mykonos. It has a land area of about 194 km² and a population of nearly 8,600 inhabitants.
Spiritual Tinos and pilgrimages
Every year Tinos is the center of a pilgrimage that takes place on the date of the Dormition of Virgin Mary (August 15). This is perhaps the most notable and still active yearly pilgrimage in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Many pilgrims take the 800 metres from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as a sign of devotion. The church of Panagia Evangelistria holds a reputedly miraculous icon of Virgin Mary.
Tinos Beach Guide
On the southern shores you find the most beautiful beaches in Tinos. They are popular and organized with seaside taverns, coffee shops and hotels. The northern shore and the beaches there are secluded, affected by the strong winds and sometimes big waves. Therefore, Kolymbithra Beach is popular among surfers, and it is here surf lessons and rentals are offered.
- Kionia Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 3 km northwest of Chora
- Agios Ioannis Porto Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 7 km east of Chora
- Agios Sostis Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 5 km east of Chora
- Kolymbithra Beach – Sandy, located 14 km northwest of Chora
- Agios Markos Kionia Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 3 km northwest of Chora
- Agios Fokas Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 2 km east of Chora
- Ormos Giannaki Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 15 km northwest of Chora
Non organizedRead more
- Livada Bay Beach – Sandy, secluded, located 19 km northeast of Chora
- Agios Romanos Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 13 km northwest of Chora
- Panormos Beach – Sandy, family friendly, located 28 km northwest of Chora
- Isternia Beach – Sandy, located 20 km northwest of Chora
- Kalivia Beach – Pebbled, located 15 km northwest of Chora
- Lychnaftia Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 8 km east of Chora
- Pachia Ammos Beach – Sandy, secluded, located 7 km east of Chora
Tinos – What to see?
Tinos is special amongst Greeks for the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, its 80 or so windmills, about 1000 artistic dovecotes, 50 active villages and its Venetian fortifications at the mountain of Exobourgo. On Tinos, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic populations co-exist, and the island is also reputed for its famous sculptors and painters, such as Nicholaos Gysis and Yannoulis Chalepas.
The villages of Tinos
Besides the spiritual significance of Tinos, you will discover that the villages are the real gems of the island, each one of them worth exploring. Scattered on the mountain hills with their tiny, whitewashed houses the villages help keeping all the traditions in Tinos alive. Make sure to visit Pyrgos, Kardiani, Loutra, Ktikado, and Tripotamos during your stay in Tinos and enjoy the siesta in the shades of the leafy trees with a Greek ice-coffee Frappé and some of the local delicacies!
Pyrgos and marble sculptor ChalepasRead more
In Pyrgos you will find the museum of Chalepas which is housed in the same building where the famous sculptor was born and where he lived his last years. Many of his works are displayed in this museum as well as some of his personal belongings. The village of Pyrgos has a long tradition in sculpture, and today it houses a marble sculpture school.
The landscape of Tinos
Tinos has a varied landscape. Tsiknias is the highest mountain on the island with its 750 m, here you will find the picturesque village of Livada. The mountain of Exobourgo is quite distinct, and unlike its more rounded Cycladic neighbors, it has a more wild, rugged appearance that reminds more of the Alps.
Volax village and the strange boulders
Near the small, picturesque village of Volax (or Volakas) you will find a surreal landscape covered with strange boulders – gigantic granite rocks, round and smooth-surfaced. According to local legends, nightly visitors may experience a strange energy and vibrations accompanied by unusual sounds. Scientists have two theories about the origin of these rocks: Some believe them to be remnants of meteorites, while others think that this landscape millennia ago was the bottom of the sea where erosive forces shaped the boulders into this strange shape with the smoothed texture.Read more
Everywhere on Tinos you will experience that the islanders have made the most incredible things out of stone. The hills are all terraced with stone walls; every little village is connected to its most proximate neighbors by stone walkways set between a parallel set of stone walls, which today give an obvious opportunity for hikers to tour around the island.
Tinos – What to do?
In Tinos there are only two activities – swimming and hiking. Most beaches in Tinos are quiet, a few have water sports centers with sea game facilities. On the northern side of the island, at Kolymbithra Beach there is a surfing center offering courses and equipment.
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Hiking in Tinos
Hiking is an extremely popular activity in Tinos where the countryside is ideal for trekking. Footpaths lead to villages, dovecotes, old windmills, abandoned monasteries and secluded beaches. It offers breathtaking views from its rugged hills and mountains as well as opportunity to see the characteristic, artistic dovecotes that are to be found everywhere on the island as well as the many old windmills.
Weather and climate in Tinos
Like most of the Cyclades Tinos has an extremely pleasant climate. The summer in Tinos is hot but the northern winds “Meltemia” cools down the temperature and makes it very pleasant and healthy. After sunset, the temperatures fall a great deal in the mountains. The winter in Tinos is mild, only rarely the temperature drops below 0 degrees. During the winter months you will experience a thick fog at the plateau of Falatados Steni Mesi, at Mount Xobourgo and the mountainous Isternia Panormos.
Tinos – How to get there?
You can travel to Tinos by ferry from the port of Piraeus or from the port in Rafina, both not far from Athens. The trip lasts 4-5 hours. Tinos is also connected by ferry with Mykonos, Andros, and Syros. Tinos has no airport, and the nearest one is in Mykonos, where Mykonos International Airport has regular flights to Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” and the airport “Makedonia” in Thessaloniki. Mykonos airport serves flights to various European countries as well. After reaching Mykonos the ferry trip to Tinos only lasts 30 minutes.
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