Mykonos - Tinos: Visiting a Neighbour…
It takes only 15 to 35 minutes to reach the port of Tinos from Mykonos, but a lot longer to discover the many interesting cultural experiences so broadly offered across the island. With plenty of sailing options to travel there and back, it is worth giving a day (or more) to take in yet another Cycladic experience.
Known mostly as a place of worship even from the ancient times, Tinos had been one of the most under-estimated islands in Cyclades, usually promoted as a mainly religious destination. Which was fine with the locals and the connoisseurs who were able to enjoy the island’s beauty in peace and quiet. But, Tinos’ hundreds of years of culture, more than 60 picturesque villages, beautiful vistas, long stretch of beaches and traditional recipes, did not stay hidden for long in the wake of social media. Sure enough, one of the most coveted Cycladic destinations, promoted until recently only mouth-to- mouth from one traveler to the next, has recently been turned into yet another hot Aegean destination, addressed mostly to those who enjoy a side of culture with their sun and sea.
Tinos is the third largest island in the Cyclades complex, with an impressive road network stretch of 100 klm, making it impossible to visit and explore in just one day. But, if that’s all you have, here are 5 ways to go about it, providing you’ll visit a car or bike rental place first:
Villages to visit along the way: Triantaros, Dyo Choria, Berdemiaros, Arnados, Kechrovouni
Highlight: The monastery of Osia Pelagia at Kechrovouni. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Greece and the place where nun Pelagia is said to have been dreamed of Virgin Mary in her sleep, pointing out the exact location of the holy icon, which was soon found and became a world renowned religious artifact of great reverence by the Greek Orthodox community.
Have a meal at: “Dyo Choria” (+30 22860 41615) tavern, at the entrance of the same named village
Take a dip in: Agios Fokas, Agios Ioannis Porto or Pachia Ammos
Keeping it Central
Tinos’ main town of Chora stretches right out from the port and offers many an interesting options, especially if you don’t want to spend most of your time driving around the island.
Highlight #1: The Church of Panagia of Tinos is a definite must-see. Built to house the holy icon found following the instructions dreamed by Osia Pelagia in 1923, this imposing temple is a magnificent sample of ecclesiastical architecture, built upon the ruins of an ancient theatre! The foundation that developed along with the church is one of the most active philanthropic institutions in Greece, with activities spreading across the globe.
Highlight #2: The Ecclesiastical Artifact & Icons Exhibition offers an interesting collection of historical artifacts, including an original Charta (map) drawn by Greek historical leader Rigas Feraios, a ring belonging to the highest ranking officer of the Greek Revolution, Theodoros Kolokotronis and many more. The Skevofylakio Exhibition also includes a wide collection of precious ecclesiastical texts, robes, icons, crosses and holy grails. Both exhibitions are located in the yard of Panagia of Tinos.
Highlight #3: Tinos has a very long history, dating as far back as the Geometrical Period. For those interested to find out more the island’s journey through history, the Archaeological Museum (+30 22830 29063) in Chora houses impressive collections of findings, such as statues, crates, pots, coins, mosaics etc.
Highlight #4: Also located in the yard of Panagia church, Tinos Gallery (+30 22860 22256) exhibits more than 100 works by famous artists from Tinos and the world, including renaissance paintings from Italy and the Ionian islands and European decorative objects. For a more a more local specific overview, you may also visit the Museum of Tinian Artists, which includes many noteworthy paintings and sculpture.
Have a meal at: “Koutouki tis Elenis” (+30 22830 24857) for a taste of the traditional local cuisine or at “Itan Ena Mikro Karavi” (+30 22830 22818) for a more… gourmet take on traditional flavours.
And a drink at: “Koursaros” (+30 22830 23963) for good old alternative tunes or “Kaktos Bar” (+30 22860 25930) for the cocktails and the view over to Mykonos
Take a dip in: Kionia or Agios Markos, one of the few beaches on the island with a pebbled beach.
Heading North to the Heart of the Island
Villages to visit along the way: Tripotamos, Tarampados, Ktikados, Kampos, Volax, Loutra
Highlight #1: The valley of Peristeriones. Just off the village of Tarampados, along a small canyon, there is a cluster of beautifully maintained buildings called ‘Peristeriones’, used to house doves.
Highlight #2: The impressive rock formation of Ksobourgo is one of the largest, solid granite rock formations in Europe and a favourite for rock-climbers across the globe. The area actually has a long history, since it was once the main settlement in Tinos, where all financial and administrative activities took place. There was even a castle built there to protect the locals from pirate raids.
Highlight #3: Tsoclis Museum is housed in the building that used to be Kampos’ village primary school. On display here are collections from various periods of the great Greek artist Kostas Tsocklis, as well as references to works from other artists. The museum has co-operated with the Museum for the Blind to include a special tour for vision-impaired visitors and also hosts many art education seminars.
Highlight #4: The Ursuline Convent & School has been located in the village of Loutra since 1862 and has been turned into a unique museum space, exhibiting a large variety of educational, ecclesiastical and cultural artifacts, such as photos, lab instruments, medicine, student handiwork and other precious object that attest to the both the catholic community’s and the island’s history in general. To arrange for a visit, you may contact Mr Manthos Delatollas at +30 697254927.
Highlight #5: You can’t visit the ‘Mesa’ (inside) part of Tinos and miss the village of Volax with its one-of- a-kind, orbicular rocks scattered around its plains. Once there, you should also pop into the Folks’ Museum to have a look at an interesting collection of domestic artifacts used in the past, including an ice-cream maker!
Have a meal at: “Drosia” (Ktikados, +30 22830 41215) to enjoy the summer breeze on their balcony with a view to Syros, “Pentostrato” (Mesi, +30 22830 41127) to find out what doves actually taste like in the local specialty of ‘pitsounia’ or “Italia” (Krokos, +30 22830 51199) for authentic Italian cuisine.
Take a dip in: The exotic Kolymbithra (there are actually two of them: the wild large one and the more touristic small one) or Livada beach.
Villages to visit along the way: Kardiani, Isternia, Venardados, Marlas, Pyrgos, Panormos
Highlight #1: The village Pyrgos is a museum of its own. Here lived and worked some of Tinos’ world renowned sculptors, including Giannoulis Chalepas and Dimitrios Filipotis. At the Museum of Tinian Artists in Pyrgos (+30 22830 31262) you can find out more about older and current artists and admire their works. Next door, you may also visit Chalepas’ House turned into a museum for a glimpse in the life of a tormented artist.
Highlight #2: The Museum of Marble Crafts (+30 22830 31290) in Pyrgos is one of the best located and designed museums in Europe, highlighting the technology of marble, a material that holds a particular place in the architecture and art of Greece, from antiquity through to the present. A definite must-see.
Have a meal at: “Dinos” (Ormos Giannaki - Kardiani, +30 22830 31673) for the freshest catch of the day, “Perivoli” (Kardiani, +30 694 598 7460) for local tastes and desserts or “Maistros” (Panormos, +30 22830 31280) for the best fish ‘kakavia’ (fish soup) on the island!
And a drink at: “Vinia” (Pyrgos, +30 22830 31660) for the cocktails, the atmosphere and the accompanying bites or “Exo Meria” (Isternia, +30 22830 31552) for the wine and the view. If the sky is clear you’ll have the whole of Cyclades at your feet!
Take a dip in: Kalyvia, Agios Petros and Giannaki (Kardiani), Ormos (Isternia), Stafida, Agia Thalassa, Kavaroulko and Rochari Beach (Panormos)