Discover the hiking paths of Tinos
It takes no time at all to be completely captivated by the beautiful island of Tinos and its many cultural and historical highlights, which is why hiking is absolutely the best way to discover it.
Lucky us, therefore, that there is a quite incredible network of walking paths on Tinos, originally used by residents to link otherwise unconnected settlements across the island.
Of the 300km of path crisscrossing Tinos, about 150km have so far been marked out. Some go in a loop and others follow the coast, taking you past dams, archaeological sites, monasteries, folk museums, a Venetian castle, dozens of dovecotes and even unique spherical rocks whose origin remain a mystery.
In fact, you could spend a week on Tinos and choose a different hiking route each day.
There are numerous hiking trails (with names such as The Three Capitals, From the Sea to the Sky and Hidden Valley. Here we focus on The Highlands (M1), which takes you on an 8.3km loop across the Livaderi plateau in the heart of the island.
As you skirt the Livaderi plateau, you pass through villages that capture all the authenticity of Tinos. Koumaros, Falatados, Myrsini, Steni, Kechros, Tzados and Karia – you’ll enjoy discovering them all. You’ll recognise the classic Cycladic architecture of little white houses and narrow alleyways but the atmosphere in the villages is also unmistakably Tinian, with innumerable churches and dovecotes. Here, we have envisaged starting and finishing at Koumaros, but you can set out from any of the villages. And if you want to reduce the distance, there is a shortcut branch (Μ1Α) that leads south from Falatados towards Tzados, cutting out two villages.
The boulders of Volakas
Between Koumaros and Falatados, you’ll pass a geological sight that is unique to Tinos – smooth, large granite boulders known as the Geological Formations of Volakas (or Volax). Various explanations have been offered as to their formation, including volcanic eruption, but by far the best is that they are the debris of an ancient cannonball fight of Titans. You can see more of these strange formations on the more challenging M2 and M2A trails, which also take you to the quaint village of Volakas, famous for its basket-weaving.
A little before you reach Koumaros, you pass Exomvourgo Castle, high up on a 640m conical hill. It’s well worth a visit, if you’re feeling energetic. (You briefly follow the M4 and T1 trails to get there.) Dating from the 11th century, the castle is now largely ruins but it was one of the most formidable fortifications in the region for more than four centuries. The sea view from the top more than makes the climb worthwhile.
- The hiking paths of Tinos can be enjoyed all year round but each season has its own charm. Springtime (with wildflowers and running water) is particularly beautiful, as is autumn.
- Set out in early morning or in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat and perhaps coincide your walk with the sunset.
It is worth visiting in April-June (with Easter being a particularly special experience on Tinos) and September-October, in order to avoid the peak season.
The M1 hiking route
- Start & Finish: Koumaros-Karia (circular)
- Distance: 8.3km
- Difficulty: 1/5
- Duration: 3-4hrs depending on your speed and number of stops
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Let’s all try and keep the magic of Greece’s natural wonders alive for future generations.