Holidays on the island of Tinos in Greece: our tips

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In Greece island hopping is all the rage! After Andros follows Tinos. Although the two Cyclades islands are so close to each other, they are much more different than expected. Tinos is sparser and less diverse in terms of landscape, but has the most beautiful villages. To be more precise, we discovered the most beautiful village in Greece in Tinos . But let’s start at the beginning: Here are our tips for a holiday on the island of Tinos in Greece.

1. Overview of the Greek island of Tinos On the Cyclades island of Tinos – just like on the neighboring island of Andros – officially less than 10. Resident. Tinos is better known than Andros and there is a reason for this: The island is the most important Marian pilgrimage site in Greece. According to Greek mythology, Tinos is the birthplace of the wind god Aiolos ( Wind by the way, god fits like a glove, but more on that in a moment). Therefore, tens of thousands of believers make a pilgrimage to Tinos for the Assumption of Mary, more precisely to the pilgrimage church of Panagia Evangelistria. And even on non-holidays the old town of Tinos resembles an open-air church: incense, icons and statues of Mary as far as the eye can see.

The rest of Tinos is a combination of barren, typical Greek landscape, beautiful villages and idyllic, partly deserted bays. Although there are more tourists on Tinos than on Andros, for example, the island has retained a very authentic character. If you are looking for a very original island with great beaches, but don’t want to do without a certain tourist infrastructure, then you will definitely feel at home on Tinos. However, there is one thing to be reckoned with: wind. Tinos is considered a very windy island and the “Meltemi”, the Greek wind, sometimes blows quite a lot.

2. Things to do and places to visit in Tinos Chora: visit of the capital of Tinos Whoever travels to Tinos will first land in the capital of the island. All ferries to Tinos dock there, albeit a few hundred meters outside of the town centre. “Chora”, as the capital of a Greek island is typically called, is located in the southwest. We felt very comfortable here from the first moment. This is not least due to the long promenade, which is lined with restaurants and cafés. There’s a lot going on here – places in the bars are scarce, especially at the weekend. In any case, we always really enjoyed sitting in one of the cafés in Chora and sipping our beloved Freddo cappucchino.

Chora vor is famous especially for the pilgrimage church Panagia Evangelistria, which is enthroned on a small hill. Two roads lead to the church from the shore: one of them is a pedestrian walkway that leads past countless religious shops. On the other a carpet is unrolled for the pilgrims. Believers come to Tinos to climb on their knees to the Sanctuary.

The villages of Tinos One thing that we found very impressive on Tinos was the many small villages – all very well maintained and beautiful to look at both from afar and up close.

Pyrgos If there is such a thing as the most photogenic village in Greece then it has to be this one! Pyrgos is in the north of Tinos and we really liked it. All Greek clichés come true here: white houses, blue shutters and blooming oleanders. There is a fairly busy square in the village with restaurants and cafes, which are very crowded with local and foreign tourists. However, you have the remaining alleyways almost to yourself.

Volax The barren interior of Tinos is reminiscent of a moon landscape. A white village suddenly appears out of nowhere: Volax. Just 50 People are supposed to live there. Volax is surrounded by gigantic, rounded boulders. The exciting thing about it: many houses are built on or around these rocks. The village itself is tiny and easy to explore, but definitely worth a visit.

Tarambados Tinos is known for its Pigeon Towers which have been preserved from Venetian times. These very typical houses can be found all over the island, but mostly around the village of Tarambados. If you park your car in Tarambados, after a short (signposted) walk you will reach a small viewing terrace from which you have a great view of the famous pigeon houses.

Kardiani One of the most beautiful villages on Tinos is Kardiani. It is quite spectacular on a slope and for that reason alone it is something very special. Kardiani also has a great view of the coast.

Beaches on Tinos Kolimbithra Kolimbithra in the north of the island mainly attracts the young and the young at heart. The waves on the north coast are sometimes quite high, which is why some come to surf in Kolimbithra. There are two sandy beaches in Kolimbithra , where we only went to the larger one. There are a few shade providers and a truck that sells cool drinks – but not much more. The smaller beach should usually be a bit crowded. Be prepared for a lot of wind!

Pachia Ammos This sandy beach was very quiet and almost deserted during our visit. Pachia Ammos is located in the east of Tinos and can only be reached via a footpath. To get to the beach, coming from Porto Rafael, follow the signs to the Country Club in Pachia Ammos. There you park your car and make your way down to the beach on foot (walking time approx. 5 to 10 minutes). There are no showers, toilets or even shops on the beach of Pachia Ammos. Here you can just enjoy the idyll and seclusion. We found the water to be very calm here.

Other activities on Tinos Hike to the top of Exomvourgo The Exomvourgo is a mountain on Tinos whose peak can be reached on foot. The best place to park your car is in the nearby village. From there you are only separated by an approx. 20-minute climb from the summit. We had the feeling that it is rather unusual for tourists to climb the mountain, although the view from the top is quite impressive. Warning: it’s extremely windy up there! Despite 30 In the shade it was pretty cool for us.

Visit Nissos Beer Brewery One thing we heartily recommend you to do is visit the Nissos craft beer brewery. The brand was only 1200 founded, but Tinos and all of Greece would be unimaginable without beer. Meanwhile, the Nissos beer is even exported to Germany, Australia and many other countries. Brewing is still only done in the brewery on Tinos, which can be visited as part of a guided tour.

Address: Eparhiaki odos Tinou-Agiou Ioanni Porto, Vagia, 84200 Tinos (By car is the Brewery only about 5 minutes away from Chora.)

3. Eating & drinking: our restaurant tips for Tinos Thalassaki The Restaurant Thalassaki is one of the most famous restaurants on Tinos. Upscale Greek cuisine is served at a very high level. Accordingly, the price level is quite high by Greek standards (a visit is of course still affordable, no question). We found it great that there are many tapas, i.e. small dishes to share. There are many fish specialties on the menu, but there are also plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant has a pretty outdoor terrace and is beautifully situated right on the water.

Directions: The Thalassaki restaurant is in the village of Isternia, but down on the beach (not up in the village). From Chora it is about 40 minutes by car. At Isternia you have to drive down the serpentines to the beach. The Thalassaki is right on the water.

Kalopsia We also awarded in the Restaurant Kalopsia eaten. We would describe the kitchen there as classic Greek with creative influences . For example, Romeo found his beloved Galaktompoureko on the menu here. The ambience with a view towards the water is also very atmospheric. In terms of price, the Kalopsia is below the Thalassaki, but by Greek standards it is also rather high.

Directions: Kalopsia Restaurant is located on the western edge of Chora along the coastal road. Coming from the old town it is on the right side.

Skouna We visited the Skouna restaurant for a quick lunch. It is right on the restaurant promenade in the capital, Chora. We can’t say anything negative, the two dishes tasted very good.

Cactus Bar For a sundowner we can offer you the Kaktos Bar highly recommend. It is located just outside the capital Chora on a hill. You don’t see the sun setting behind the city (but in the sea), but the atmosphere is still great. We also found the staff exceptionally friendly. We felt very comfortable and would come back.

Directions: Coming from Chora follow the road uphill towards Ktikados. Look out for the mill on the right side of the road. The Kaktos Bar is located directly at the mill, only about 5 minutes from Chora.

4. Hotel tip for Tinos: Porto Raphael Residences & Suites We stayed in the beautiful hotel Porto Raphael Residences & Suites in the same named Location. The hotel is rather small and manageable, but still pleasant w casual and very green designed. It is very personal and family-run. As a guest you feel in good hands, because the staff are incredibly hard-working and friendly. Our room was very large and clean and also had a terrace overlooking the sea.

Because the hotel is relatively small, the breakfast is not served offered as a buffet but served at the table. The staff always bring some classics (bread, freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade jams). But you can express your wishes at any time (cheese, yoghurt, etc.). An espresso, for example, is also possible without any problems. There is no pool, but the sandy beach of the nearest bathing bay is only a 5-minute walk away. We would come back anytime! In principle, you can reach a few restaurants within walking distance, but we would still recommend you to have a car (more on this later in this article).

Still an accommodation tip: Tinos Eco Lodge We didn’t stay overnight in the Tinos Eco Lodge, were however allowed to stop by for a short stop and meet the owners. Secluded in the hills of the island, the Eco Lodge is quite impressive. For example, the water requirement is covered to a large extent from rainwater. There are currently two beautifully decorated stone houses that are rented out to guests. If you are looking for a special place to stay, be sure to check out the website!

5. Getting to Tinos There is no airport on Tinos itself. The nearest major international airports are in Athens and Mykonos (the neighboring island of Tinos). From Athens airport you first need to get to a ferry port. Near Athens there are two: Piraeus and Rafina. If you come from Athens airport, Rafina is a bit closer. You can get to Rafina either by taxi (approx. 30 Euro, duration approx. minutes) or with the public bus (approx. 5 euros, duration approx. 1 hour). However, the bus from Athens airport only runs about once an hour.

From Rafinaferry port there are several ferries to Tinos every day, mainly in the morning and afternoon . We have experience with Fast Ferries as well as Golden Star Ferries. We can’t say anything negative about either provider: the ferries were on time and we felt safe. The travel time to Tinos from Rafina is between 2 and 3.5 hours – depending on whether the ferry makes a stopover on the island of Andros. Golden Star Ferries offers a direct connection from Rafina to Tinos (“SuperRunner” route). From Mykonos there are also several connections with the mentioned ferry companies. Travel time from Mykonos is shorter, but flights to Mykonos are often more expensive than to Athens.

6. Local transport We would strongly recommend hiring a car locally. So you are mobile and can flexibly head for all places. The road conditions are relatively good. Apart from the fact that the roads are very curvy, driving there is quite easy. We rented our car from Vidalis and only had good experiences: the car was small, but you wouldn’t want to drive a huge sled there anyway. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. The company generally appears to be very professional. Parking is easily available on the roadside in many places on Tinos. In Chora, however, you are only allowed to park in marked parking spaces. We didn’t need an international driver’s license.

84200 Transparency: We were invited to this trip by Discover Greece. Our opinion remains unaffected.

Have you been to Tinos? Or do you have another island tip for the Cyclades or Greece in general? We look forward to hearing about your experiences!