The island of Tinos in the Cyclades: what to see beyond the beaches
Expanses of trees that stand out along the banks of streams on an island in the Greece? “Come on, it’s a joke. They do not exist”. Are you really sure? Perhaps you have simply never been to the island of Tinos in the Cyclades. Which in addition to being a sacred place has many aspects that make it absolutely worth visiting: lush nature and unexpected, dozens of villages yet to be discovered, an authentic folklore and a good gastronomic offer. Sorry if it’s too little.
Yet despite all this the island of Tinos is a destination still far from mass tourism, the one that has invaded and distorted the nearby Mykonos. Convinced of this then, without feelings of inferiority, let’s go and enjoy the beauties of Tinos with its surprisingly green landscape. Which bears no resemblance to the stony sceneries of the others Cyclades even if then the beauty of beaches it is by no means to be underestimated.
So between one bath and another we discover the villages – made special by the presence of ancient dovecotes – following the zigzagging of ancient rural roads. Here, in these remote corners, one is won over by the atmosphere of an island which for many Greeks is still the place of faith and devotion. Twice a year, on March 25th and the August 15thhundreds of pilgrims they arrive to visit the church of Panagia Megalochari (the Blessed Virgin Mary): it is the most important center of Orthodox worship in Greece but at the same time also an important place of faith for Catholics after this faith was imported by the Venetians in 1800. And these contrasts too give Tinos a particular character.
The island of Phidias
But is it an island where one breathes only spirituality and asceticism? In no way. People also come to Tinos because this is one of the capitals of Hellenic art – tradition has it Phidias taught his magical technique here – and also a magnet for gourmands. During the holidays of August 15th, moments dedicated to gastronomy are organized everywhere and the villages challenge each other with flavours: Tsiknias And Exombourgo do battle with food festivals while Falatados prides itself on offering the best rakì and artichokes. While the honey top comes from Kampos. In short, an island that makes those looking for genuineness and traditions fall in love with it. So much so that one wishes it would never change.
Chora, the capital
The capital of of Tinos, also called Chora, is the main port of the island. This settlement has had a rapid development in recent decades both as a tourist site and as a place of devotion: the discovery of the miraculous icon of the Virgin is in fact the factor that most contributed to the development of the city. Today most of the population of Tinos lives here where many of the infrastructures designed for Hora tourists are also concentrated while most of the tourist activity is also concentrated. Two main roads lead to the church where it is kept the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and along this street are the Town Hall and the Archaeological Museum of Tinos.
There Evangelistrias, the ancient main road, is paved in stone and features a splendid 18th century marble fountain with classical sculptures and numerous art galleries displaying the works of local painters. This street hosts many shops and the new, taller white buildings are well mixed with the old traditional houses interspersed with narrow alleys and the usual flowery courtyards which give a dutiful Cycladic touchwhich makes the city very attractive.
We talked about basilica which makes the island of Tinos unique in the Cyclades. It was built in 1823 after finding one icon considered miraculous even if in ancient times this area was already an object of devotion: once there was a temple dedicated to Dionysus. Among the features of the church is that the Virgin is believed to allow women who have difficulty having children to become pregnant. Tradition has it that the child, once grown up, returns to the island to thank the Madonna.
The beauty of Pyrgos
Another place to visit on the island of Tinos in the Cyclades is certainly the village of Pyrgos, on the north side of the island. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages of the Cyclades and is known for being frequented by artists. Also for these reasons it has been protected by the Ministry of Culture as a traditional settlement. The village has a long tradition in the arts and has been the birthplace of famous people in the homeland including Giannoulis Halepas And Nikiforos Lytras.
Even today many workshops continue the tradition of marble processing and visitors will be struck by the paved square and the presence of particular buildings while the flagship is the marble museum which is located just outside the village of Pyrgos. The museum reconstructs the long history of marble working in Tinos from ancient times until today. There are tools, sketches, photos and audiovisual material explaining the techniques.
The island of Tinos in the Cyclades: villages and valleys
Wandering the streets of the island of Tinos in the Cyclades you will not notice the many and splendid dovecotes that dot the inland areas. These are stone buildings, two floors high, where the tools were kept on the ground floor while the pigeons were above them. These are often beautiful and very elaborate buildings: according to calculations there are over six hundred. Continuing to explore the interior we arrive at the small village of Agapeplaced on the edge of a valley overlooking the plain of Komi. The town is made particular by the presence of elaborate houses with arcades and arches and indeed arriving here it seems to return to the Greece of the past.
Do you still want to discover new things? Then head to arnadosthe highest village on the island of Tinos, on the slopes of Mount Kechrovouni. From here you can enjoy splendid views and the place is worth a stop to try one of the traditional taverns. After lunch go to visit the monastery of Kechrovounia large building that looks like a fortified village and houses a small museum with ancient icons.
One of the little curiosities that you discover when you come to the island of Tinos is that this is one of the few places where you can surf. Until a few years ago this sport was unknown on the Greek islands but for some time now, a dedicated center has been born right here, on the beach of Kolymbitheres. The beach of Kolymbithres is located on the north side of the island and the melt me which blows in the summer months, especially in July and August, creates waves suitable for surfing especially on the left side of the beach. Beginners will also find themselves here well, who will also find equipment rental and the possibility of taking surf lessons.
How to get to the island of Tinos in the Cyclades
To reach with the plane the island of Tinos there is the possibility to fly to Athens oa Mykonos. Then with the ferry from Athens, times ranging from two to five hours are needed. There are links from too Refine in addition to from Piraeus. There are also regular connections with other islands such as Cycladeshow Syros, MykonosNaxos, Paros, Andros.