The wonder of Tinos isn’t only the miraculous icon of the Virgin, which gave this island its fame. It’s the wild beauty that excites you: rocks eroded by the wind, beaches with deep blue water and traditional Cycladic villages that climb up the hillsides.
A thousand more miracles are waiting to be discovered on this island that is part of the Cyclades but just a short ferry ride from Athens. You will find beaches for relaxing or sea sports like scuba diving and surfing, an abundance of local delicacies and the unexpected sights of lunar landscapes and, each August 15, pilgrims making their way up to Our Lady of Tinos on their knees.
All around Tinos are 750 chapels and churches (Catholic and Orthodox), 600 ornate dovecotes, 34 settlements and the Temple of Poseidon, where the ancients were purified before they visited the sacred island of Delos. Once you get to know Tinos, you too will become a believer.
What to do on Tinos island
Explore the villages, dotted around like gems
Pyrgos, Kardiani, Ysternia, Ktikado, Triantaros-Berdemiaros, Falatados, Loutra, Tripotamos. The villages of Tinos are like ornaments decorating the island’s slopes and valleys. Walk among them, one by one: there is marble everywhere, especially in the squares with fountains where you’ll cool off with a drink of water. Take a break at a traditional cafe in the shade of the sycamore trees and have a coffee or a bite to eat. There is always Tinian cheese, louza (smoked meat) and sweet raki on offer. Now that’s real hospitality!
Take a food tour of Tinos
Learn about Tinos’ extraordinary marble tradition
Legend says that the great ancient sculptor Phidias taught his craft on Tinos. And who’s going to argue with legend? At the museums of Tinos (The Cultural Centre of Tinos and The Museum of Marble Crafts and Tinian Artists in Pyrgos, amongst them), you will admire immortal works of Neohellenic sculpture. Renowned sculptors Giannoulis Halepas, Dimitris Filippis, the Fitali brothers, Lazaros Sochos and Georgios Vitalis have all left their mark here. Learn the secrets of their art by taking classes at the marble sculpture workshops.
Keep an eye out for the masterful dovecotes
Peristeriones (as they are called in Greek) are a feature of the Tinos landscape and considered some of the most impressive works of art in the Cyclades. There are over 600 dovecotes (houses for domesticated doves and pigeons) made of slate, stone and limestone and covered with lithographs. The pigeons and doves swoop around them, but you’ll need a trigger finger on your camera to catch them in flight!
Witness the pilgrimage to the holy island of the Cyclades
Every year, on August 15, thousands of believers descend upon Tinos island to accompany the procession of the miraculous icon. You can hardly make out the icon of Panagia Evangelistria, hidden behind the numerous offerings that surround it. On their knees, pilgrims begin the ascent from the port to the church, overlooking Tinos town since 1880.
Cross the extraordinary lunar landscape around Volax
Surrounding the village of Volax is a surrealistic plateau with huge boulders, strewn like the abandoned toys of a playful giant. The round boulders of all different sizes are hundreds of years old. They look like meteorites but are, apparently, the geological phenomenon of erosion. Experience the wild beauty of this lunar landscape, crossing the region of Kakovolo, from Falatado to Panagia Kaki Skala.
Climb to the peak of Exomvourgo and view the Cyclades
Some 640m above sea level, the mountain of Exomvourgo stands out among the island’s landmarks. At its base, you will find the Catholic Monastery of Ieras Kardias (Sacred Heart), one of the most impressive attractions on the island. The fortress of Exomvourgo, at the peak, was once the highest in the Aegean, but it was besieged and destroyed by the Turks in 1715. From up high, you can see not only Tinos but also the islands of Samos, Ikaria, Naxos and Delos… Breathe in the Aegean!
Hidden gems of Tinos island
Mountain climbing on Exomvourgo, bouldering on Volax, surfing at Megali Kolymbithra, scuba diving… adrenaline junky heaven!
The hiking paths
Follow the hiking paths of Tinos and encounter little miracles: ruins of old settlements, fountains, windmills, chapels and dovecotes, lithographs and green valleys.
This beach stands out on Tinos because of its sculpture-like rocks and wild water. As you leave the beach, walk as far as the lighthouse at Papargyras and then around the highest mountain in Tinos, Tsiknia.