travel zone

Tinos

There's this TV series here in Greece that's a big hit. In one episode, the show's "gang" was supposed to go to Mykonos, but one of them was a religious woman who would definitely freak out if they told her where they were going. So, they told her they were going to Tinos instead and hoped she would not notice where they were heading.

When I watched that episode, I laughed my heart out, mostly because it actually reminded me of what I'd done to convince my friends to go to Tinos. See, my friends and I were around 17 back then and an island full of pilgrims didn't really appeal to any of us, not even me. But we had decided we'd visit Mykonos that year and since Tinos is near Mykonos, I wanted to take the chance and visit Tinos as well. Of course, I knew none of my friends would even want to hear about it, so I had no choice but to lie to them. What did I do? Exactly what the "gang" did in that TV series, only the other way around: I told them we were going to Mykonos, when in fact we were going to Tinos. I'd booked hotel rooms for three days (just enough for them to not give in to their urges to kill me in my sleep) and bought tickets to Mykonos for after that.

Thankfully, none of them (3 in total, Evelena, Isidora and Mario) noticed where we were until it was too late. I mean, yeah, the church should've made them suspect something, but Mykonos itself has around 360 churches (and I'd made sure I'd told them that), so. the rants didn't start until they overheard someone saying they'd visit the church crawling. That's what made them connect the dots. Now let me just say that what happened next. is not a memory I'm rather fond of. Yelling, name-calling, then no talking at all. One day later everything was almost back to normal of course, but the mood was a tiny bit ruined at first, even for me.

tinos greece - tinos island map

Grecia  turismo

So, what does Tinos look like?

Tinos is craggy, yet rather green island. It's known for its dovecotes and its chapels (which I haven't counted, obviously, but supposedly they're over 800). Other than that, it's a rather typical Cyclades island, really: narrow streets, white-washed houses, beautiful villages. and a bustling port lined with restaurants and hotels.


Are there any places I should not miss in Tinos?


tinos greece - panagia evagelistria monastery

Well if there's one place that everyone visits in Tinos, that's Panagia Evangelistria, the Church of the Annunciation that dominates Tinos Town. Built in 1830, it houses the island's miraculous icon. What's the icon's story? In 1822, during the Greek War of Independence, sister Pelagia, a nun, had visions of the Virgin Mary showing her where an icon had been buried. In 1823, acting on the nun's directions, excavations revealed the icon of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel, unscathed after 850 years underground.The icon was found to have healing powers and the church became a pilgrimage centre for Orthodox Christians.

Within the church there's also a museum displaying items by local sculptors and painters, including works by sculptors Antonios Sochos, Georgios Vitalis and Ioannis Voulgaris.



tinos - arceological museum

Then there's the Archaeological Museum of Tinos, near the church. I have to say, I didn't really enjoy my visit to it since I made a mistake and took Evelena with me (who was still angry with me, although less than the other two), but you're probably going to love it. It displays sculptures of nereids (sea-nymphs) and dolphins that were found at the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite, his sea-nymph bride. There's also a colossal pithos, a storage jar from the 7th century BC, which was discovered on the site of Exompourgo, along with several artefacts.

Tinos is actually full of museums: there's the Archaeological museum; there's the Giannoulis Chalepas Museum, which is housed in a former home of the island's renowned sculptor; there's the Museum of Local Artists that gives you some insight into the style and work of local artists, both ancient and contemporary; the Antonios Sochos Museum; the Ecclesiastical Museum. Just pay a short visit to as many as you can - they all have something to give you.


tinos greece - giannoulis chalepas museum tinos island - ecclesiastical museum



What about Tinos' historical and archaeological sites?


First of all, there's the Chapel of Evreseos (=discovery), the crypt where Agia Pelagia discovered the miraculous icon I mentioned above. Silver lines the spot in the rocks where the icon lay. Right next to the chapel, the victims of the Elli (a Greek cruise boat that was sunk by an Italian submarine in 1940) are interred in a mausoleum next to a fragment of the fatal Fascist torpedo.

tinos - medieval houses

Then there's Exompourgo, the site of the Archaic city of Tinos, which later became home to the Venetian fortress of Saint Elena. The fort was built by the Ghisi family after the Doge handed over the island to them in 1207. It used to be the toughest stronghold in the Cyclades until it surrendered to the Turks in 1714. Now, you can see remains of a few ancient walls on the crag, medieval houses, a fountain and three churches.

Finally, don't forget the Sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite, the site that actually made Tinos famous in the 4th century BC. Now some bits remain of two temples, treasuries, baths, fountains and inns for pilgrims.



tinos greece - pyrgos village

Traditional Villages

Tinos is a Greek island full of traditional villages. They are all samples of Cycladic beauty, with white-washed houses, narrow streets, friendly locals and traditional architecture. This is a visit that you shouldn't postpone.

In Exo Meria area on the north part of Tinos Island, I recommend to visit Platia village and walk along the paths and the bridges of a very old village, naturally protected by the enemys invasions, that had a great commercial development in the past.






Are there any good beaches in Tinos?


To be honest, Tinos' beaches are what finally made my friends stop whining and put an end to our fight. See, Tinos is full of magnificent beaches, with golden sand or pebbles, with crystal clear waters and ravishing landscapes. Kolibithra, Agios Fokas and Pachia Ammos are only a few of them.

Learn more about them in my site Tinos Beaches.

tinos greece - kalyvia beach tinos island - apigania beach tinos - agios sostis beach

Where should I eat in Tinos?


If you want to find restaurants that serve decent food and have reasonable prices, you're going to have to look for them in the narrow streets of Tinos Town.

tinos - tinos food

For example, there's To Koutouki tis Elenis, on Gagou Street. It's one of the best places near the harbor and its specialties include manitaria (mushrooms in garlic), yalisteres (shellfish with rice) and astakomakaronada (spaghetti with lobster sauce).

Then there's Pallada Taverna, in Plateia Palladas. It's a rather popular taverna with tasty Greek dishes and excellent seafood. Retsina is also quite good in Palada taverna, as well as other local wines from the barrel.

If you're looking for a stylish restaurant, Metaxy Mas is the one. You'll have to pay a little more, but it has a "refreshingly modernist ambience" (as Evelena jokingly said, trying to sound wise - but it's very true) and the mezedes it serves are simply delicious.

tinos - tinos restaurant

In Kionia I visited Bourou for a few times and I enjoyed the tasty food. I recommend you to visit it after a swim in Kionia beach.

After swimming you may also visit Victoria in Kolibithra, a place that combines fresh fish with an excellent view of the beach.

For coffee and desserts you should definitely sit at the picturesque Platia tou Pyrgou and the cute little coffee shops of Kardiani and Volakas

Right above the Pachia Ammos beach you will find Pachia Ammos Country Club. Its young, polite and sociable owner will take care of you whether you want to eat, have a drink or enjoy the pool.



What about Tinos' nightlife?


tinos greece - nightlife




To be honest, people who visit Tinos don't go there for the nightlife, which is one of the reasons my friends were angry in the first place (everybody knows Tinos is not the place to go if you want to party). But fortunately, there are a couple of music bars. Your best option is Kaktos, 500 meters outside town, with a magnificent view and quite mellow sounds.








How do I get to Tinos?


There are frequent itineraries to Tinos by sea, from Raphina. The trip lasts about four hours. There are also several itineraries from Piraeus including speed boats. Contact the port of Lavrio for information regarding the departures and itineraries from this location.

Book online your ferry tickets to the greek islands and have them delivered at home easily.

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