My name’s Vasilis. I was born and raised in Greece’s beautiful capital, Athens. I’ve had a passion for travel since I was 25 when I first enjoyed a trip abroad. Since then, I’ve been lucky to visit a few countries overseas as well as explore some of the most beautiful places in Greece like Tinos island.
The island has a long history just like every other Cycladic island. Tinos has some beautiful old marble buildings and sculptures, most prominently seen in places like Pyrgos village. It’s actually one of the only Greek islands where the alleyways of the villages were made entirely from marble.
Tinos is an ideal destination for young couples, backpackers and people who like having a good time. The nightlife here is some of the best in Greece. It might give places like Mykonos a run for their money. But there is also a quieter side to be found in some of the marble villages.
My Amazing Summer Vacation in Tinos Island
I went to Tinos island during my summer vacations. I was looking for an island close to Athens to get some rest, enjoy great beaches and maybe do a bit of exploring. So I chose to visit Tinos island and stay in the Kionia area.
This location was ideal for me as it’s the closest beach village to Chora (the capital city). In fact, it was close to every destination that I wanted to visit in Tinos. During my stay I decided to rent a car and explore the island.
My days were spent exploring the many marble villages and beautiful beaches that the island has to offer. At night I would try the delicious local cuisine at Chora’s restaurants. Chora is about a 10-minute drive from Kionia.
Favourite Places in Tinos Island – Isternia & Volax
I found so many amazing and interesting spots in Tinos island. Some of my favourites were the sheltered streets and steps at the beautiful Isternia village. Standing at the top of these steps as they wind down leading to the edge of the cliff was an amazing sight to see.
Also, the gigantic granite rocks at Volax village were just as impressive. According to Greek mythology they are the remnants of a mythical battle that took place between gods and giants. However, scientists later revealed that the rocks were formed from a meteor shower thousands of years ago.
Top 10 Things To Do in Tinos Island
Tinos island offers visitors a wide array of attractions – from marble villages and sleepy towns, to hidden beaches and misty mountains. There is a lot to see and do here and I recommend a good couple of weeks to enjoy the island in its entirety. Below are my top 10 recommendations.
1. Go Swimming at the Beautiful Kolymbithra Beach
One of the best beaches in Tinos that offers wonderful sandy shores with an even more wonderful beach bar. The beach umbrellas are shaped like wooden mushrooms and the bar was built in the style of an old VW wagon. Go swimming in the turquoise waters and take in the serenity.
2. Visit the Magnificent Volax Village
Volax village is a small town built between rock formations. Here you can find amazing little alleyways flourishing with bougainvillea flowers. It’s an artistic place with poems written over the doors and windows on many of the buildings. As mentioned before, the granite rocks are a must-see.
3. Explore the Largest Village of Tinos Island, Pyrgos
Pyrgos village otherwise referred to as Panormos is the largest village on Tinos island home to no more than 1,000 residents. This village is all about marble with its marble squares, churches, arches, monuments, fountains and roads. Wandering aimlessly through the alleyways is a lot of fun!
4. Marvel at the Natural Beauty of Isternia Village
Isternia is a village that literally hangs from a cliff. Long sheltered steps lead up to the main alleyways. From the top of the village the views are just incredible. The village was built on the slopes of Mount Meraviglia. Just north of the village is Mylon which has amazing ruined windmills.
5. Be Amazed by the Sacred Shrine of Panagia
The Sacred Shrine of Panagia (Virgin Mary) is the main attraction on Tinos island. It’s one of the most famous monasteries in Greece. A lot of believers from Greece and around the world come to Panagia every year to receive Virgin Mary’s grace and to feel close to her and get her blessings.
6. Wander around the Picturesque Kardiani Village
Kardiani village is perhaps the greenest and most picturesque village on Tinos island. I loved seeing the two leaning bell towers here. The village is located 16km northwest of Chora and lies on the slopes of Mount Pateles. Wander around the stone path alleys and surrounding olive trees.
7. Get Lost in the Alleyways of Arnados Village
This well preserved mountain village is the best example of architecture on Tinos island. The village has one entrance and one exit. The alleys are really small and there are many sheltered areas. That was the Tinians’ way of avoiding pirates and protecting the village from strong winds.
8. Relax at the Secluded Kalivia Beach
Kalivia beach is divided into two sections. One is a lounge beach with a bar on the right hand side and the other is a secluded spot with tamarisk trees on the left hand side. It’s a great place to sunbathe and enjoy some peace and quiet. There are only 2-3 houses located near the beach.
9. Surf at the Secret Livada Beach
Livada beach is a bit of a secret place that only locals know about. It’s a unique landscape that makes for some great surfing at the right time of year. A small river leads into the sea surrounded by rocky terrain that has been eroded by the sea. The scenery here almost resembles the moon.
10. Discover the Wonderful Streets of Dio Choria
Dio Choria is two small villages that over time become one place. The village is located near Triantaros, 10km drive from Chora. I would say it’s one of the most beautiful villages of Tinos island offering stunning streets and lush bougainvillea flowers. This town takes you back to the Medieval times.
Why the Locals of Tinos Island are just Fantastic
Greece is known for its hospitality and so are the Tinians. The best way to immerse in the culture of the island is by spending time with the locals. Although, this is difficult because most of the local population is working hard during the summer months. But you can still do it!
I choose to spend my time with Tinos lovers as I call them. They are people from all over Greece who are addicted to the Tinos way of life. This group of people visit the island every year and on more than one occasion. I would call them ambassadors of Tinos. Easily recognisable by their hippie style.
Enjoying the Rich Cuisine of Tinos Island
Many Tinos lovers, like myself, come to the island to enjoy the fresh and stunning local cuisine. There are many wonderful taverns and restaurants throughout the island that serve beautiful Greek cuisine with local flair.
Think of dishes such as Greek salad with feta cheese, fresh fried potatoes and fried calamari. These were some of my favourites and were perfect for summer. I also loved the chickpea salad which was out of this world.
A few of my favourite spots for food were the Tsampia tavern at Kionia beach, Tereza at Mirsini village and Mpe at Arnados village which was meat lovers heaven. As for dessert, try Platanos Bar at the main square of Pyrgos for the best ekmek and most amazing galaktoboureko. I can still taste it!
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Tinos island is one of the more windy islands in Greece. This can lead to strong sea winds and waves at certain times of the year. It’s nothing to stress about but just be careful by the sea on those really windy days.
Make sure you take in the sunset view from the top of the bell towers at Kardiani village. This was one of my favourite memories from my trip. All in all, the island is safe, welcoming and beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough – it’s a must visit on any island-hopping tour of the Greek islands.