Ultimate Guide to Tinos

Tinos has been called “the handmade island, the Muse of the Aegean Sea”, and who can deny it? The third-largest Cycladic island is gifted with impeccable beauty.

Crystal-clear waters, rare sorts of stone, architectural masterpieces, several charming villages with alleyways and bougainvillea, dovecotes, and the perfect environment to stimulate any artistic inclination. The island of Aeolus has it all! 

What you need to know before you arrive– Tinos is one of Greece’s holiest places. It has over 700 churches, chapels, and monasteries, both Christian Orthodox and Catholic, made out of marble. Many types of marble are found in Tinos (the green one is the most famous of all), and they are used all around the island.

Tinos has more than 60 villages and more than 70 beaches. 

Every year, on the 15th of August, thousands of people flock to Tinos to worship the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Tinos is one of the windier islands in Greece. This can lead to strong sea winds and waves at certain times of the year. That is why it’s a playground for surf lovers. 

Getting there- Tinos can be reached from both Piraeus and Rafina ports in Athens, but 

Rafina is a better choice if you’re going direct from Athens airport. Tinos is 3 hours and 40 minutes by ferry from the port of Rafina, a 30-minute drive from Athens airport. From Piraeus, you will need 4-5 hours to reach Tinos. If you don’t want to pass by Athens, you can take a flight to Mykonos and then you will reach Tinos by boat in 20 minutes. 

Where to stay- At Chora if you want to be in the heart of it all and close to the nightlife of the island. Triantaros and Tripotamos villages are very good options as well because they are close to Chora and at the same time offer you the local village feel. For a more economical accommodation spot opt for Agios Sostis, Agios Ioannis Porto and Kionia.

Tips for getting around- A car is a must for Tinos. There are so many villages and beaches to see and explore. Vidalis Rent a Car & Bike has four outlets in Chora. 

If you don’t have a car, bear in mind that between May and September, you can use the KTEL of Tinos (The Chora bus station is on the harbor near the port/ tickets onboard). It has at least two buses a day (more during July and August) from Chora to nearby Kionia and Panormos via Kampos and Pyrgos. Routes and timetables on www.kteltinou.gr

Alternatively, you can book a taxi by calling on any of the following phone numbers: 22830 26000, 22830 22470 or 22830 31332.

Best time to visit- During summertime for sure, before meltemia (August). If you want to explore the beaches without the crowds, September is the best option, when the winds are not so strong and the sea temperature is still high. It’s also perfect in spring, as you can discover the paths through the flower-filled landscape.

Ideal time to spend here? You need at least 5 – 7 days to really enjoy the place and visit the villages.

Where to sleep

Aeolis Tinos Suites, a boutique hotel in Triantaros village, perched on top of terraced hills offers a private and peaceful ambiance with amazing views of the Aegean Sea. Aeolis’ 5-star villas (some of them with private pools) featuring an artistic blend of new luxury conveniences and traditional village architecture, give an unsurpassed Tinian experience. 

Crossroads Inn, a traditional countryside boutique hotel in the picturesque village of Tripotamos, offers the charm of living the local life. Seven traditional accommodations, scattered throughout the village give the “at home” feeling. Many of Tripotamos’ 40 inhabitants provide ingredients for the traditional Cycladic breakfast. 

Infinity View, a luxury boutique hotel with stunning views of the Aegean Sea, is located 760 metres from the centre. The 16 suites (some of them with private plunge pools) with minimal chic décor and boho touches are inspired by the natural local art and each of them tells a unique story. The highlight is the infinity pool. 

Where to eat- 

“Thama Tinos”, the modern restaurant of chef Dimitris Katrivezis, blends the diversity of Tinos ingredients and his travels to create a menu between traditional and innovative. (A: Stavrou Kionion Av.)

“Itan ena mikro karavi”, named after the well-known nursery rhyme, this restaurant with a beautiful internal courtyard with vines and bougainvillea (in the place of the old outdoor cinema), serves delicious modern cuisine. (A: Trion Ierarchon, Tinos old port)

“Krok Monsieur” at Krokos. There you will feel like you are in the courtyard of your home. You can enjoy international dishes adapted to Greek-Tinian cuisine. It’s perfect for breakfast or brunch. (A: Krokos)

“Triantaraki” is a traditional Greek kafenio, with colourful decor in a charming alleyway of Triantaros village. It offers coffee, breakfast, desserts, local drinks, mezedes and other delicious Greek assortments, a variety of Greek craft beers, and Greek wine labels. (A: Triantaros)

“Pranzo”, a romantic Italian restaurant that offers a selected list of excellent wines, is situated by the sea, at the old port of Tinos. (A: Port road)

“Tarsanas”, on the edge of Chora coast, Antonis Gion has created a versatile menu for those who love fresh fish but don’t say no to meat either. (A: Kazanova 5)

“Agkyra”, for those who love fresh fish. You can “throw anchor” in the square of Pallada. (A: Kyprion Ethnomartyron Square)

“To Kentrikon”, a coffee-pastry shop in Pyrgos. Taste the famous galaktoboureko (the famous custard-filled pastry). (A: Pyrgos)

“Gia.Lou”, for mezedes with local products and raki. (A: Frangkiskou Paximadi 14)

“Antilalos”, a café-bookstore in one of the most popular alleys of Chora for amazing vegan breakfasts. Inside you can find a rich collection of old books. (A: Afentouli & Paksamadi)

“Platanos”, for traditional gourmet delights in a space that reflects all aromas of Tinos, in the square of Pyrgos. Try watermelon with feta cheese, shrimp with fried cheese, and certainly galaktomboureko. (A: Pyrgos)

“Bianco Beach Restaurant” at Vourni beach with a lovely ambiance by the beach and sophisticated cuisine. (A: Vourni)

What to eat- 

Louza: the Greek version of the Italian prosciutto. It’s made of fillet marinated in salt and
then red wine, right before being smoked and spiced. After two months of drying, louza in slices.

Tsimpites: sweet cheese pies, stuffed with cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, mastic, and cinnamon.

Skordoloukanika: sausages made of pork meat, marinated with garlic and sweet wine for about 4 hours.

Furtalia: an omelet with eggs, cheese, milk, parsley, skordoloukanika or syglina, salt and pepper, fried in pork grease.

Xerotigana: a fried mixture of flour, water, lemon and oil, served with cinnamon, honey and sugar.

Local Cheeses: Tinos’ cheeses are well-known and exported outside the island. Try Tinos’ Graviera, Volaki, Sklavotyri or Marathouni, Kopanisti, soft cheese with a peppery flavor (a Protected Designation of Origin), Kariki (the blue cheese) and Petroma, and unsalted cheese.

Where to drink-

“Koursaros”: the oldest bar of Tinos. Since 1987, this historic bar plays rock, jazz, funk, or reggae. (A: Akti Ellis 1)

“Three Donkeys”: Three friends (aka the three donkeys) left Athens to create a bar in Tinos with a tiki ambiance, amazing cocktails and uplifting vibes. (A:Taxiarchon 26)

“Argonaftis bar”: Dance music by two resident DJs and several guest DJs; plus a lovely terrace overlooking the sea. (A: Taxiarchon 13)

“Kaktos bar”: An open-air bar with panoramic views, ideal for sunset lovers. (A: Mills of Tinos)

“Prickly Bar”: A new bar in Chora for savory cocktails (and breakfast as well). They also sell organic products, handmade sweets in jars, and other delicacies; plus some products of aesthetic care like bamboo toothbrushes. (A: 3 Nikolaou Gyzi)

Where to swim- 

Kolympithra is the most famous beach on the island. The boho paradise for surfers. In fact,  it’s a large bay with two beaches, but the highlight is the first one. Here you will find a colourful van serving cocktails and umbrellas like giant mushrooms. The waves are usually huge but it’s a must-visit beach to experience either way, in my opinion.

Agios Sostis, is a very large beach with majestic mountains. You can rent deckchairs and umbrellas. There are also hotels and restaurants.

Kionia is one of the most cosmopolitan beaches on the island and most importantly protected from winds. Organised with cafes and restaurants.

Agios Fokas is the largest beach on Tinos and also the most organized beach on the island with beach bars.

Agios Romanos if you want to find some beach bars.

Agios Markos, a mostly private beach with deckchairs.

Pachia Ammos, facing Mykonos. Located 10km from the Chora, right next to Lychnaftia beach, there is one of the most isolated and exotic beaches on Tinos with amazing sand dunes.

Isternia, a small beach sheltered from the wind.

Santa Margarita, a sandy beach, is usually chosen by those who stay in all the villages of Pano Meria.

Kalivia, a long sandy beach. There is a bar, but the place is still quite wild.

Livada, a pebble beach, with huge rocks shaped by the wind, and crystal-clear water. Only accessible with a 4WD and then by foot.

The beaches close to Panormos, including Agia Thalassa and kavalourko, are quite remote and wild.

Discover history

According to Greek Mythology, reptiles disappeared from Tinos thanks to God Poseidon who sent a swarm of storks to exterminate them. Ever since Poseidon is the protector of Tinos and a glorious temple dedicated to him was built at Kionia (you can see some ruins nowadays). Tinos, as proved by archaeological findings, has been inhabited since prehistory. It is one of the Greek islands that present signs of continuous inhabitation.

It is the only island that hasn’t been under the dominance of the Turkish Empire, except in 1715, for a very short period of time. The most important historic event in Tinos in recent years is the discovery of the Orthodox image of the Virgin Mary on 30 January 1823, which was considered a blessing. It is said that a nun, named Pelagia had a vision concerning its position. Many of Greece’s heroes of the 1821 Revolution, such as Kolokotronis, Miaoulis and Kanaris, among others, went to Tinos to pay respect to it. After this incident, the construction of the church devoted to the Virgin Mary followed (1823-1831). After the war, Tinos was established as a Pan-Hellenic religious center.

Must visit villages –

Volax, is a famous village for the unique scenery surrounding it (many ground granite rocks of different sizes and shapes lying in the valley) and the poems written on walls of homes. The village is also famous for basketry. You can watch the basket weavers at work. The beach close by is Kolymbithra. You can combine it with a stop at Komi village. Take a seat at Svoura for the best marathopita (pie) of Tinos and Kalais aperitivo bar for the super tasty artichoke cake (Komi village is famous for growing artichokes and pumpkins.

Kardiani and Isternia are situated on the main road connecting Chora to the North of the island. Kardiani is probably Tinos’ greenest and most picturesque village. Built on cliffsides, you will have to climb a few stairs but you will be rewarded by the breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea.

Isternia is quite similar to Kardiani with an astonishing view over the sea as well.

Pyrgos, one of the island’s biggest and most beautiful villages, is famous for its marble. In this village marble is king, you can find it everywhere, even at the bus station. At the village’s main entrance, you can visit Yannoulis Chalepas’ Museum. The family house of the greatest sculptor of Greek modern art has been converted into a museum. In Pyrgos, there is also a Sculpture School, renowned all over the world. There is also the Museum of Marble Crafts with information regarding the marble’s extracting and sculpture techniques. The beaches close by are Rochari, Agia Thalassa, Kavalourko and Isternia.

Tripotamos, the nearest village to Chora and one of Tinos’ oldest villages. Its name derives from the fact that the village is set between three rivers. It is characterized by a maze of stone buildings, narrow alleys, stone arches, covered vaulted alleys and crossroads. The world-renowned modern philosopher and psychoanalyst Cornelius Castoriadis maintained a holiday house in Tripotamos.

 Dyo Choria (Initially, two separate villages) is among the most beautiful villages of Tinos, with a charming traditional style and a nice view of the southern side of the island.

Tarambados, built in a valley near Kambos, is a beautiful village with arches. Even in order to enter the village you have to pass under a medieval arch. The village is also famous for the many dovecotes characterized by the local folk architecture.

Triandaros, built on the slope of Korfovouni, offers breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. Narrow alleys and steps, arches, bougainvillea and the dominant church of the Disciples of Christ characterize this beautiful village.

Arnados, located on the slopes of Kechrovouni mountain, it’s a picturesque village with medieval arches and cobbled narrow streets. The village has one entrance and one exit. There you can find the Monastery of Agia Pelagia with deer that are considered sacred and are taken care of by the nuns.  

Culture & Traditions

Tripotamos is well-known for a Christmas custom requiring estranged locals to sit at the same table and settle differences over a meal that may include dishes such as dolmades with rice, a dish symbolizing brotherhood, and beef tongue, to beat the habit of gossiping.

In the village of Triandaros a traditional carnival dance is organized on the last Thursday before fasting. Residents perform frivolous ditties in turn. Each of them begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

After Easter, the panigiria (festivals) begin all over the island. The most famous are those of Kechros, Kardiani and Dyo Choria.

Fanarakia (lanterns) is celebrated on 30th January. The vision of Agia Pelagia was followed by excavations and on this day, the sacred icon was found. Since then, every year everybody on the island, holding a lantern begins from the Monastery of Agia Pelagia to accompany the icon until Chora, its narrow streets, and finally the harbor, where the fireworks from the moored ships create a magical atmosphere.

Do as locals do- 

Wander around the Municipal Market of Tinos’ open air for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Get your hands on the free press magazine Kyma (Greek for wave). A biannual black and white magazine born in Tinos, covering life by the sea, surfing, and anything aquatic.

Insider tips- 

There are often strong winds in Tinossuch as the Meltemia, a cold Northern wind. These days, prefer beaches with natural shelter, like Agios Markos, Agios Ioannis Porto, Agios Sostis, Kalyvia, Kionia, Agios Romanos, as they are sheltered from the wind. On the days with southern winds choose Pachia Ammo, Kolymbithra, Santa Margarita,

Lichnaftia, Agia Thalassa, Rochari, Kavalourko.

If you hire a jeep (preferably) drive to Koumelas and Mali in order to enjoy the splendid reflections of the marble green sea-bottom. Worth getting to Steno of Tinos-Andros.

If you want to see Aeolus, the Greek God of winds, carved on the rocks in Kavalourko, you can reach it on foot from the rocks (diaporia) to the islet “Planet”.

Head to the top of Mount Exomvourgo, from here you will admire a magnificent 360° view of Tinos, the infinity blue of the Aegean Sea, and the islands of Mykonos, Naxos, and Samos as well. Very few people know that for a stunning view, you can also go to Faros is Livadas, close to Exombourgo, a lighthouse, constructed in 1910.

What to avoid? If you’re not interested in religious tourism, you should avoid visiting Tinos during the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (the 15th of August) or Greek Easter, when the island is full of pilgrims, the prices are higher and most of the time it’s very difficult to find accommodation.

Top activities

Hiking. Through a hiking trails network that exceeds 150 kilometers (22 marked trails of varying length and difficulty), you will discover this authentic and unexplored island, since the footpaths connect most of the villages and several of the beaches. There is also an application that you can download on your phone, called “Tinos Trails”.  

Mountain Climbing. Tinos is well known internationally, especially in Europe, as a climbing destination. Exombourgo and Volax offer a thrilling experience to those who enjoy climbing low cliffs without using a rope. For mountain climbing (and hiking) you can address Manthos Pleroretzos and his company Tinos Outdoor Activities.

Surfing/Wind Surfing/Kite-Surfing. The strong winds of Tinos (and Kolymbithra beach) compose the perfect circumstances for water sports. Tinos Surf Lessons was founded by local surfer John Vidalis. There you can learn how to surf or rent surfboards and other water sports equipment like a bodyboard, canoe, kayak, and skimboard. Apart from Kolymbithra, you can ask Karerina and Damianos for the perfect surf spots depending on the weather. You can find them at Island Tinos Coffee and Surf at Chora. They also give lessons at Agios Fokas and other beaches.  

Yoga. At Vāyu Yoga and Massage by Eugenia Papadimitriou, you can practice Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, and Restorative yoga. You can also enjoy sessions of thaï massage, thaï oil massage, hot oil massage, reflexology, or abdomen massage throughout the year. Vāyu means wind in Sanskrit and it’s definitely in the right place.  

Pilates. Take classes at Okiroi Fitness Place by Dimitra Maraki.

Where to shop- 

Keraso events, is a beautiful shop with plants, candles, and other gifts. (A: Leof. Megalocharis 12)

Trela Tinos, is a concept store with both Greek and French aesthetics, dedicated to the art of living. In this shop, you will find antique and contemporary objects, like home decor, lighting, vintage furniture and objects, ceramics, paintings, and more. (A: 25is Martiou 41)

Armonia Concept Tinos, in Chora and Pyrgos village, for unique clothes and accessories.

Evi Athanasopoulou, oversees every single collection, from the initial idea to its full completion. Clothes inspired and created by her, using fabrics and materials environmentally friendly, mainly varying from organic cotton to silk, wool, and cork. At Armonia Concept, you will also find outstanding jewelry, crafted by artisans of limited production. (A: Lazarou Sohou, Chora & on the main street leading to the square of Pyrgos village)

Agni, is a boutique that is like a dream life dressing room, with impressive clothing by Greek designers. Agni Dellatola chooses soft and natural fabrics of the best quality while most of the accessories in the boutique are handcrafted. (A: Taxiarchon 2)

To spiti tou meliou in Pyrgos. Beekeeper Nikos Karagiorgis sells exquisite heather honey, alongside a raki, made by his son Dimitris (he claims is so pure it’s hangover-proof!).

Agrotikos Syneterismos (Tinos Agricultural Cooperative) where you can buy local products, Tinian’ cheeses, capers, petimezi, handmade pasta and rusks, pickles, kritamo, sun-dried tomatoes, dried figs, herbs and spices of Tinian nature, etc. (A: Leof. Megalocharis 23)

Kritikos, for sausages and traditional cold cuts of Tinos. (A: Vintsi, Chora)

What to see-

The imposing church of Virgin Mary Megalochari at Chora with a huge red carpet in front of it.  The church hosts a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and it is thought the most important religious monument in Greece. Every 15th of August, thousands of pilgrims come for pilgrimage, many of them crawl up the hill, to the church.

The Archaeological Museum, located on Megalocharis Ave, on the way to the church of the Virgin Mary, includes findings from excavations all over the island and mostly from the ancient temples of Demeter and of Poseidon.

The Museum of Marble Crafts explains everything about marble and the art of sculpting.

The Museum of Tinian artists, housed in the complex of the Monastery of Virgin Mary, in Chora, hosts the work of famous local painters and sculptors.

Kostas Tsoklis’ Museum, is dedicated to the work of the famous Greek artist. It frequently organizes art workshops for children and adults.

Chalepas Museum, housed in the same building where the famous Greek sculptor was born and spent his last years in Pyrgos. The Museum exhibits some of his works and several personal belongings as well.

The Traditional dovecotes, located all over the island, like tiny fortresses with geometrical patterns, that attract the doves.

Take a day trip to- 

It’s very easy to make an island-hopping from Tinos, to discover the other islands located nearby, since the ferries usually do the Cyclades itinerary, Andros-Tinos-Mykonos or Syros-Tinos-Mykonos. Mykonos is the closest island to Tinos. Syros, the capital of the Cyclades and Andros, is perfect for hiking lovers.

Explore the hidden beauty of Tinos (inaccessible beaches with caves) and the nearby Delos and Rhenia islands with a full or half-day tour. You can book a tour here.

Festivals & Events

Tinos Jazz Festival, an outstanding showcase of both contemporary and future jazz music, attracting an increasing number of Jazz fans of all ages.

Tinos World Music Festival, founded in 2013 by the Cultural Foundation of Tinos, aims to become the meeting point for significant musicians from the Balkans and the East Mediterranean. Held during the months of July, August, and September, the festival takes place in many villages and in Chora.

Tinos Foodpaths, is a local annual Gastronomy Festival that lasts for a week.

The International Literary Festival, which is combined with local cultural music and dance events, began in 2010 and has attracted highly rewarded authors from many countries.

The Revival of Trawl is one of the best-known events organized in the village of Kionia where visitors gather at the beach and fish for hours. Wine and food are served.

There is also the Honey Festival at Kampos, the Raki Festival at Falatados every September, the Wine Festival that takes place in the third week of August in Tripotamos, with events like concerts and art exhibitions, and the Capers Festival at Steni every July and in Potamia every August.

The Artichoke Festival, held every June in the village of Komi. The ladies of the village prepare many recipes based on artichoke and offer them to visitors.

Don’t miss

A tour of the Nissos Brewery (Tinos’ own artisanal) on the outskirts of town is a must not

only for beer lovers. Many visitors take Nissos beers as a gift back home.

Pottery Workshop at Loutra by Sabrina Binda, a former photo stylist in Paris, for beginners and professionals who want to improve their techniques depending on their level of knowledge.

Wine Tours of the magical wineries, T-Oinos, Vaptistis, Volacus, and Domaine de Kalathas.

Can’t leave until- You enjoy the sunset view from the top of the bell towers at Kardiani village and buy a handcrafted basket from Mr Loudovikos at Volax village