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Tinos is an enchanting island that primarily attracts Greeks making pilgrimages twice a year, in March and August, to visit the church of Panagia Megalochari. Most tourists simply admire its port from a ship on their way from Athens to Mykonos. But there are many reasons to stay, from the 40 traditional villages with their cobbled paths, chapels, elegant arches, and white homes to gorgeous beaches and a wealth of water sports.
Tinos Island At A Glance
Population of Tinos Island 9,000
What to See in Tinos Island Visit the Panayia Evanyeslistria Cathedral, Museum of Marble Crafts, Kolimvithra Beach
Towns or islands to visit near Tinos Island Siros, Mykonos, Kea, Kithos, Andros, Athens, Ios, Folegandros
Things to do in Tinos Island
Explore the museums
Tinos offers many fascinating museums, ideal for anyone who wants to explore the island’s culture and history. The Museum of Marble Crafts celebrates the island’s famous marble art tradition, while the Chalepas Museum is focused on the life and work of the famous 18th -century sculptor, Chalepas. It’s located within the same building he was born, and where he lived during his last years. Some of his personal belongings as well as many of his works are featured. The Museum of Tinian Artists is located in the Monastery of Virgin Mary complex in Chora Tinos and displays works by famous local sculptors and painters.
Church of Panagia Megalochari
The church of Panagia Megalochari (Virgin Mary) was built in 1823, located on a hill above Chora, the Tinos capital. Tradition says that a local nun had frequent dreams of the Virgin Mary telling her to find her home and revealing the site where the church would be constructed. When the nun dug here January of 1823, she discovered an icon of the Virgin Mary praying. The icon was considered a miracle, and today it’s inside the church, bringing pilgrims to leave their offerings that represent wishes for things like good health. While it’s covered with many of them, there is also a copy of the icon on the ground floor in the chapel.
There are many beautiful beaches and swimming areas on Tinos. Kolibithra on the northern part of the island, is one of the most famous for water sports, with surfing lessons offered here. Below the village of Isternia, you’ll find a cove with two beaches, one pebbly stretch and the other sand, both with calm, crystal-clear waters and jaw-dropping sunset views. It’s an ideal choice for swimming, protected from strong winds. Just a few of the others to consider visiting include Kionia, Agios Fokas, Laouti, Agios Ioannis Porto, Pahia Ammo and Livada.
Tinos is well-known for its many festivals and other special events that are worth planning a visit around. There are gastronomy festivals like the artichoke feast, the Tinos Festival, which is focused on the arts, the Tinos Marble Trail, a mountain running race, and the Tinos Jazz Festival, just to name a few. Of course, the island is most famous for the feast day of Virgin Mary on August 15, a large festival which draws thousands of visitors and pilgrims from across Greece. It lasts for two days and includes a variety of ceremonies at the church of Panagia Megalochari and other impressive events.
Our Favorite Restaurants & Bars
San To Alati
San To Alati is a charming seaside taverna which means “like salt.” It’s located at Aghios Fokas beach and boasts a menu featuring lots of local produce, from artichoke pie and marinated anchovies to local cheeses, as well as just-caught fish, octopus, shrimp and calamari. Most of the meze comes from the sea, or has a “salty character,” hence the name, and there are a number of bottled wines from the Cyclades to enjoy along with them, as well as ouzo and tsipouro, a traditional spirit.
Housed within an early 19th-century neoclassical building in the historic center of Tinos, Symposion isn’t your average every day Greek taverna fare, savory dishes that are works of culinary art while providing a local twist. Its elegant spaces are open for dining early in the morning until late in the evening with dishes like filet of musk tuna topped with fresh green pepper and grilled vegetables. All are accompanied by an extensive wine list and lounge music.
Mayo is an all-day bar that boasts spectacular views of the Aegean from an elevated square while transporting guests back in time to a more traditional Tinian atmosphere. Enjoy everything from morning coffee with a sumptuous breakfast to cold dishes made with local ingredients and homemade lemonade for brunch or lunch. Later, it’s ideal for watching the sun go down, complete with music and creative cocktails or perhaps a desert like walnut cake or chocolate pie with ice cream.
Kafenio Tis Kyra Lenis
This traditional snack and coffee house is located in Krokos village and offers a warm welcome, owned by the same family since it was first opened in 1950. Enjoy traditional Greek cooking with an excellent choice of meze in good sized portions, including typical Tinian bites like the local cheese, artichokes, wine leaves, meatballs, various types of pies and the island’s famous omelette froutalia. All can be paired with the wonderful organic house wine. Many of the ingredients come right from the Adoni family vegetable garden.
Dough and Shaker
Head to Pyrgos to enjoy dishes made with freshly kneaded dough, prepared daily and used for all Dough & Shaker’s pastas, pizzas and peinirli, bringing a bit of Italy to the Greek isles. Expect high quality ingredients like cured meats and cheeses along with locally-grown vegetables and homemade sauces. Everything is prepared upon order, with signature dishes including the pasta with mushroom pesto, peinirli with fresh minced beef and pizza with traditional sujuk. For dessert, there are even sweet pizzas like the strawberries and coconut or the chocolate banana biscuit.
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