During my island hopping last summer, I included Tinos island in my itinerary.
I had some vague memories from my childhood, as I visited it once many years ago! But, I have heard that lately, it has gained popularity, so I thought to give it a try!
And to be frank, I was surprised! Positively, of course!
Tinos is an island in the heart of the Aegean Sea, and it belongs to the Cyclades islands complex.
I visited the island intending to spend a couple of days, but I stayed there for more than a week!
In the past, the island was famous in Greece for its religious tourism, but it is far beyond that!
It has incredible villages, excellent hiking trails, beautiful beaches and fantastic food! What can I say about the food! Simply amazing!
So, let’s dive together into the beauty of Tinos Island!
In this post, you will find out:
- How to get to Tinos
- Best time to visit Tinos
- Best things to do in Tinos
- Best beaches
- Where to eat
- Where to stay
- How to move around
How to get there
A ferry connects Piraeus directly to Tinos (~2-4 hours, depending on the ferry type)!
You can get it from Piraeus port (which is more accessible due to better connection – train) or Rafina, where you will need to get a bus from the centre of Athens or perhaps a taxi from El. Venizelos ( Athens main airport).
The best platform for ferry tickets is the Ferryscanner. It is straightforward and user friendly to check prices and book online tickets.
Best Time to visit Tinos
July and August are the hottest months on the island – check the below table with the average temperatures. But these months are the busiest, and it can get quite crowded!
My favourite months are May, June and September, which are ideal, as the island is quiet and much less touristy.
Note that Tinos is a pretty windy island, so especially during August, the north winds, called meltemia in Greek, dominate the island!
Best Things do in Tinos
Tinos has incredible villages, beautiful beaches and beautiful hiking trails. So, let’s break down all these!
#Visit the Panagia Evangelistria (Megalochari)
Panagia Tinos, one of the most important sights of religious interest in Greece, but also around the world.
Every summer, it is an attraction for thousands of tourists, religious or not, who visit it just to admire the Holy Temple of Megalohari and of course its famous icon.
The church of Panagia Evangelistria is dedicated to the icon of Megalohari that was discovered there on January 30, 1823, after a vision of the nun Pelagia. In fact, it was built exactly at the spot where it was located by the excavators. Its discovery coincided with the founding of the Greek state and was considered a good omen by the entire free country.
#Visit some of the most beautiful villages in Cyclades
This list will go endless, as Tinos has beautiful villages; some are pretty developed, but others look like they belong in a different era!
It is not a coincidence that this goes first on the list! It is simply fabulous!
Pyrgos (or Panormos) is the birthplace of great sculptors and painters (Giannoulis Halepas, Dimitris Filippotis, Nikiforos Lytras, etc.) and the current marble sculpture centre of the Cyclades!
It has a magnificent square where you can enjoy your coffee, lunch, dinner or even drink! Just stroll around the beautiful alleys, where you will also find modern and well-designed boutiques and local stores.
There are three great museums in Pyrgos – the Museum of Marble Crafts, the Tinian Artists Museum and the Giannoulis Halepas museum. (for the last two museums, you can get a joint ticket ~3 euros.)
The story behind the sculptor Giannoulis Halepas is quite heartbreaking, as he was fighting his inner demons. After one mental breakdown at the age of 36, he was hospitalized temporarily in psychiatric clinics&his mother has forbidden him to sculpture as she thought that his inclination to art was the cause of his breakdown!
So, after the mental collapse, he lived under his mother protection in Pyrgos village being very poor and grazing sheep and bearing the heavy stigma of the crazy person of the village. This was his life till he was 66 years old when his mother died and he started gradually picking up his art again! Until his death, he moved to Athens, started creating beautiful art and sculptures again, presenting his work in exhibitions and due to this 2nd period of his life he is considered probably the best sculptor in Greece ever (at least in modern Greece!)!
Pyrgos is located 25 km north of Chora and is the largest village of Tinos!
Volax or Volakas
Volax is located in the heart of Tinos, and it has unique geological characteristics.
There you will find numerous granite rocks randomly “thrown” into the area, which it is claimed to be inhabited for 2000 years. The whole landscape reminds the moon, and it is pretty remarkable and unique.
Volakas is a meeting point for climbers from all over the world for bouldering.
The village itself is charming, and you should wander around.
Note that the village is quite famous for its baskets, as there is an old tradition of basket weaving!
It is located in the centre of Tinos, roughly 11km from Chora.
The village of Ysternia (or Isternia) is one of the most beautiful villages in Tinos, and it is built amphitheatrically on the slope of Meroviglia, which automatically gives an edge compared to other villages as it offers magnificent panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and Syros island!
Marble sculpture plays a leading role here, as it is the second most important marble centre of Tinos after the historic Pyrgos.
It is located about 5km from the village of Panormos and 20km from Chora.
Tip: Visit the afternoon hours as the sun goes down and the village is “painted” with beautiful colours!
Kardiani is a lovely village built right on a slope. You can leave your car at the designated parking spot and walk around the stairs and uneven little streets.
The village has the traditional white-and-blue houses that you would expect to see on a Cycladic island and is really very picturesque.
The village of Kardiani is a picturesque village and possibly the greenest in Tinos, as it is full of plane trees and olive trees and plants!
It is built on the mountain “Pateles” and offers breathtaking sea views and stunning sunsets!
Dio Choria and Triantaros
These are two beautiful villages that are very close to Tinos Chora (~12′).
Both are beautiful, and you can walk around.
In Dio Choria, there is a lovely large square under Plane trees, and in Triantaros, don’t miss to eat or drink something at Triantaraki restaurant (location here)!
There are many beautiful villages in Tinos, and we were amazed by that fact!
We followed a hiking trail, and we were passing through some villages, and the experience was just unique. For example, we were entering a random village, and suddenly we were passing through a traditional square, with a plane tree at the centre and a super quaint cafe or tavern!
So, if you have any time, rent a car or choose a trail and visit villages like Komi, Kampos, Falatados, Tarampados, Smardakito, Tripotamos, Myrsini.
#Visit some of the Best Beaches in Tinos
Tinos has beautiful beaches, but it can be quite tricky to choose a beach as there are, most of the time, intense winds!
But even then, some beaches are more protected, and you can enjoy your swim!
We have written a detailed post about the best beaches, but here you will have the top 5 beaches on the island!
We started the list with the best beaches with one of the most protected beaches when it is windy in Tinos, which happens very often!
Agios Romanos is for everybody as it has a beach bar and some trees if you want just to lie down under the tree and enjoy the beach!
It is a sandy beach and relatively easy to access through the road.
There are two beaches in the bay of Kolimbithra (or Kolympithra), as you can see from the photo above
Mikri Ammos is the most closed part of the sea basin, sandy, with deep waters.
Megali Ammos, much longer and more open, is also sandy, with deep waters and underwater currents. This is a lovely beach with its own unique character!
I visited Megali Ammos a day with no wind, which is quite rare as it is a famous spot for surfers!
The beach bar there is just fabulous with one of the most creatives ideas for umbrellas that I have seen and a small van for cocktails, coffees etc.!
The beach bar is also environmental friendly which for me is always a plus!
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This is my second favourite beach. You can keep reading for a few seconds to find out which is my personal favourite one!
The road to Agios Petros can be quite tricky as there is a dirt road at some point, and you have to be careful.
But the outcome is quite beautiful! There is a small, beautiful church Agios Petros, which divides the beach into two parts. On the left of the church is a pebble one and on the right is the sandy and my favourite!
Agios Petros beach might not be for everyone as it is not so straightforward to go there and it is totally unorganised, without sunbeds, umbrellas, bars etc. but this authenticity and tranquillity is what I like the most!
And last is my favourite beach Apigania. It is in the same direction as Agios Romanos beach, but there is a sign where you leave your car, and you follow a path for ~15′ to the beach. Going down to the beach is relatively easy, but the other way can be pretty tiring!
This is another unorganised beach, but I think the crystal waters and the sandy beach are totally worth it! It is just fabulous!
This beach is not one of our favourites, and it is included on the list due to its benefits, as it is close to Chora town, sandy and quite long.
Also, Kionia is a beach that many families prefer as it has many restaurants and cafes.
This beach is not extraordinary, but sometimes on holidays, someone prefers easier and simpler choices that fit them! And Kiona is a convenient choice!
Tinos has some excellent taverns and restaurants.
Usually, when we visit, we rarely don’t recommend such places, as they tend to change quite often every year.
But for Tinos, we will make an exception, highlighting some of our favourite cafes and restaurants.
We have written a detailed post about the best places to eat and drink in Tinos, but here you will find our top 5 choices!
Myrtillo: This list should start from my favourite all-day cafe in Tinos Chora. It is located in the heart of the main town, inside the picturesque alleys. You can have your breakfast, your brunch, your lunch or even your drink! It is really a must-visit! Find the location here!
Athmar: Another all-day restaurant bar located on the quaint square of the beautiful Pyrgos village. I ate a fantastic brunch and delicious dinner, but the highlight of the Athmar is Vangeli, who has as a motto “feel like a local”, and he means it. He will make sure that you have a great time at this bar-restaurant and he will recommend you the best places on the island! Find the location here!
Svoura: One of the most beautiful places in Tinos! We were following a hiking trail, and we miss a turn, so we arrived by mistake at the picturesque square of Komi village! We fell in love with the square!!
We tried Svoura’s food, and we weren’t disappointed! The food is fantastic and the service even better!
We visited three times the restaurant, as we wanted to taste the rooster with pasta and every time something happened, we couldn’t try this specific dish! But finally, we made it, and it was just fantastic! Find the location here!
Croque Monsieur: This is a All Day Bistrot in Krokos village! We tasted the brunch, and it was simply fantastic! Especially the pancake was delicious! Highly recommended! Find the location here!
Mayou: In Isternia village, they have advised us to visit Mayou and Exomeria all-day bars. We managed to visit only Mayou, so if you have been to Exomeria bar, please let us know if you liked it! Mayou has magnificent views of the sea and some of the best cocktails on the island! Find the location here!
Where to stay in Tinos
Tinos is an island with many villages. If you like, you could stay in a picturesque village and visit the beaches or the main Tinos town (Chora).
Personally, I stay at Chora and make short daily trips to the beaches or villages!
We have written a dedicated post about the best hotels and apartments in Tinos island, which you can find it here!
How to move around Tinos
Tinos is an island that you will need a car because it has quite a few places to visit. But, if you prefer not to drive at all during your holiday, I would like to inform you that the bus connection in Tinos is quite well! You can check here for timetables, tickets etc. Note that July and August can be quite busy, so bear this in mind. Also, there is the option to get a taxi.
You can find at the below map all the mentioned places and our extra tips!
Update: Due to Coronavirus, this summer might also be “special”. We wrote an article (more information here!) to explain the current measures and situation, and we will update it as often as possible!